Seniors Lead Kentucky to Series Opening Win
April 23, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Seniors Meagan Aull and Annie Rowlands paced the 16th-ranked Kentucky offense to a 5-3 series-opening win at South Carolina, Saturday afternoon. Aull connected with her eighth home run of the season and Rowlands plated a pair of scores on two sacrifice flies.
With the win Kentucky pushes its record to 34-10 on the year and 12-6 in Southeastern Conference action. South Carolina falls to 24-23 overall and 5-15 in league play. The teams will play the second game of the series with a first pitch set for approximately 4 p.m. ET.
Junior pitcher Chanda Bell picks up her 12th victory of the season in a complete-game effort. Bell tossed six strikeouts and gave up three runs on just four hits in the opener.
Sophomore Kara Dill extended her career-long hitting streak to 13 games with a pair of hits and a run scored. Junior Rachel Riley also posted a single to extend her career-best hitting run to nine games.
The Wildcats struck first in the top half of the first. Dill sent a chopper up the middle. Aull then wasted little time in giving UK the lead with her eighth long ball of the year to officially tie the single-season record of 56 team round trippers on the year, matching the 2007 team's output.
UK added to its lead with a tally in the top of the second. Senior Samantha DeMartine opened the stanza with a walk and freshman Emily Jolly singled through the left side to place the opening two runners on base. An illegal pitch shifted the runners into scoring position and Rowlands delivered an RBI sacrifice fly for the strike and a 3-0 Wildcat edge.
The Gamecocks responded with a sacrifice fly of their own in the home half of the second to make the score 3-1 in favor of the visitors. South Carolina plated the score behind a leadoff triple along the right field line.
Junior Brittany Cervantes opened the top of the third by drawing a free pass. Riley singled into right field to place two runners aboard. Jolly drilled a chopper back to the pitcher and every player advanced on a fielder's choice. Rowlands then blasted a shot into deep center to plate her second consecutive sacrifice fly to increase UK's lead back to three runs at 4-1.
For the third consecutive inning the Blue and White plated one run to run its lead to 5-1. Junior Macy Allen began the stanza with a slap-single up the middle. Senior Megan Yocke shifted the runner into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and Dill shifted the runner another base and was able to reach on an errant throw by the third baseman. The throw was so high and long that Allen was able to scoot home on the unearned tally.
UK's defense shined in the bottom of the fourth with a magnificent double-play effort. After allowed a one-out walk, Aull shagged down a fly ball in shallow center and tossed it to first where the base runner could not get back to the bag in time.
After pitching three scoreless innings, Bell gave up a seventh inning single to start a two-run rally by the home squad. Kaitlin Westfall connected with her second extra-base hit of the contest to bring in the two scores on her fourth homer of the season to make the final 5-3 score.
Complete coverage of the UK softball team can be found at UKathletics.com all season long.