Riley, Cervantes Lead UK to 7-0 Win Over EKU
April 22, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Behind freshman Rachel Riley's all-around performance at the plate and on the mound the Kentucky softball team rolled to a 7-0, non-conference victory over in-state rival Eastern Kentucky Wednesday at the UK Softball Complex. Riley tallied her first career home run and picked up her first career shutout on the mound in the Wildcat victory.
Kentucky improves to 26-18 on the season while EKU falls to 16-20 overall. The Blue and White have put together a 5-1 record against state rivals this season.
Riley was impressive once again in the circle for Kentucky as she made her third start of the season. The right-hander tossed a complete game shutout while notching a career-best six strikeouts. Not only did she do it on the mound, but the dual-threat player also lofted her first career home run to ignite the Kentucky scoring in the bottom of the second inning.
"You have to tip your hat to (Rachel) Riley," said Head Coach Rachel Lawson. "She continued to pitch well and put us in a position to succeed. But, then she also hit her first career home run which is obviously a very special thing."
Riley was one of many offensive sparks for the Wildcat team that seemed to do no wrong after enduring an eight-day lay-off. Freshman Brittany Cervantes drilled her team-leading seventh home run of the season in her 2-for-4 day. Cervantes' blast plated three runs in the fourth inning to allow the Wildcats to pull away for good. Junior Molly Johnson reached base during all four of her at-bats which included three singles, an RBI and a run scored. As a team UK registered 10 hits.
"I'm really pleased with the effort of the whole team," Lawson said. "They really came out with a great intensity level which was a big thing for us after such a long lay-off. We really competed with a high energy level and played like a team hungry for a post-season berth."
UK struck for a pair of scores in the second to take a lead it would never relinquish. With an out on the scoreboard, Riley connected with the first pitch she saw to give the Wildcats the go-ahead run with her round tripper. Junior Destinee Mordecai drew a two-out walk and then proceeded to swipe her fifth base of the season to move into scoring position. Johnson easily drove her in with an opposite direction single through the right side for the early 2-0 edge.
Kentucky would add a run in the third after a Cervantes single. She would advance to second on a passed ball and then round to third on a Natalie Smith groundout. Sophomore Samantha DeMartine brought her home with a single into right field for the third score of the game.
UK's offense exploded for its final four runs in the fourth. Kentucky got three consecutive singles from the bats of sophomore Annie Rowlands, Mordecai and Johnson. Sophomore Meagan Aull plated Rowlands with a beautiful sacrifice fly into center field. Cervantes then battled through a 3-2 count at the plate and successfully won with the second home run of the game and the final 7-0 margin.
The Blue and White have little time to rest as they entertain Mississippi State for a huge SEC match-up this weekend. With the SEC tournament in its sights, UK will welcome the Bulldogs for a three-game set as the SEC picture becomes clearer. Kentucky currently holds the seventh seed for a spot in the conference tournament and has six games remaining. Mississippi State is also vying for a berth as no conference member is mathematically out of contention with two weeks remaining in the season.
The two squads will meet for a doubleheader on Friday afternoon. First pitch Friday is set for 4 p.m. ET with the second game to follow approximately 20 minutes following the conclusion.
Saturday will mark UK's final home game of the season as the two teams will meet for the third game of the series with a Noon start. Kentucky will also honor its lone senior Katie McCarty prior to the game.
Stay tuned to UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information about the UK softball team.