Wildcats Suffer Second-Consecutive Walk-Off Loss
April 22, 2012
STARKVILLE, Miss. - For the second consecutive game the Kentucky softball team suffered a heartbreaking walk-off loss as Mississippi State plated a score in the home half of the seventh to earn a 3-2 win on Sunday. All three games between UK and the Bulldogs were one-run games with the home squad earning walk-off victories in the final two outings.
With the loss the Wildcats fall to 23-26 overall and 10-12 in Southeastern Conference action. Mississippi State improves to 28-19 and 11-14 in league play. Sophomore Ginny Carroll led the bats for the Wildcats with a 2-for-3 outing with a solo homer and a pair of runs scored.
Kentucky returns to the diamond when the Blue and White play host to Morehead State on Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET. The game will mark the final non-conference action of the season for the Wildcats.
With the score deadlocked at two apiece and down to its last out the Bulldogs earned a base runner with a four-pitch walk. Kaili Smith then found a hole in the left-center gap to bring around Jessica Cooley for the winning score in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the seventh.
For the third consecutive game in the series the Wildcats struck first with a tally in the top half of the fourth. After an inning-ending pop-up Carroll drew a walk to get aboard. During a strikeout, the sophomore was able to swipe second and move into scoring position. Freshman Kara Howard then prolonged the inning when she was hit by a pitch to put two on the base paths. Junior Alice O'Brien then delivered an RBI single into shallow center to bring in Carroll for the 1-0 lead.
Mississippi State plated two scores in the home half of the fifth to steal a 2-1 edge. The home squad benefited from a pair of Wildcat miscues that prolonged the inning and the Bulldogs capitalized to score the two tallies.
Carroll quickly bridged the gap as she led off the top of the sixth with a solo shot over the center field wall for her fifth homer of the season to make the score 2-2.
Freshman Griffin Joiner opened the second stanza by reaching with a hard chopper to third and Mississippi State mishandled the ball enabling Joiner to reach. Following an out, sophomore Ginny Carroll laced a single into shallow center and another bobble by a Bulldog fielder allowed the runners to shift into scoring position. UK would leave both aboard, however, as the inning closed on consecutive outs.
The Wildcats missed out on another opportunity in the top half of the third as O'Brien and senior Brittany Cervantes both induced inning-opening walks. The Blue and White suffered three consecutive outs to follow after the Bulldogs made a pitching change following the two walks.
Mississippi State had its best chance of the early going when the home squad generated its first hit of the game into shallow right field. Senior starting pitcher Chanda Bell would be unfazed, however, retiring the next three batters she faced.
The Bulldogs placed another runner on the paths in the home half of the fourth when the lead runner reached on an error by the Wildcats. Bell and the defense would not allow the runner to shift further to second on a sacrifice and escaped the inning with an infield pop-up to preserve the one-run advantage.
Bell and the Wildcats survived a leadoff walk in the bottom of the sixth. The defensive side of the inning was highlighted by a spectacular diving snag in foul territory from Carroll to prevent the Bulldogs from tacking on any scores.
Joiner logged a two-out single in the top half of the seventh, but the Wildcats would again leave her aboard.
For continuing coverage of the 2012 UK softball season, log on to UKathletics.com.