Yocke's Base Running Seals Sweep of South Carolina
May 2, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Sophomore Megan Yocke's game-winning RBI single and heads-up base running helped preserve a sweep of South Carolina and give the Kentucky softball team over 30 wins for just the second time in school history. Yocke's heroics lifted the visitors to a 4-3 win in 10 innings in game one and then Kentucky came up with a 5-1 victory in game two.
The two wins pushes Kentucky's record to 31-19 overall and 13-13 in the Southeastern Conference. South Carolina, which is now eliminated from postseason contention, falls to 20-24 and 5-21 in the SEC.
The two teams will meet for the final game of the 2009 regular season tomorrow with a 1 p.m. ET start.
In game one, Yocke came up with the third game-winning hit of the SEC season and some swift base running to help UK win its 30th game this season with a bit of heroics in the top of the 10th inning . Junior Molly Johnson opened the inning with a one-out double into right field to put a runner on base. After South Carolina's Kristen Stubblefield robbed sophomore Meagan Aull of a hit with a spectacular diving grab to hold Johnson at second. Yocke singled up the middle with two outs and Johnson was able to cross home plate. During the relay home a wild throw by Stubblefield allowed Yocke to move to third. The Gamecocks' catcher threw it into left field during the exchange and the heads-up play by Yocke allowed her to come home for a 4-2 Kentucky advantage.
After three scoreless innings the Wildcats struck first with a run in the top half of the fourth. Aull notched UK's first hit of the game with one out she sliced a ball into right center for a base hit. Kentucky's leading base stealer then swiped her 24th base of the season before Yocke drew a walk. Freshman Brittany Cervantes' powerful hitting continued when she drilled a line drive into the right-center gap, but Stubblefield made a dazzling over the shoulder grab to keep Cervantes from plating a few runs. Aull was able to tag up to place runners on the corners. Junior Natalie Smith delivered an RBI base hit to score Aull when she found a gap through the left side for the 1-0 Kentucky edge.
UK tacked on another run in the fifth when they got three straight base runners with two outs. Junior Destinee Mordecai drew a two-out walk and Johnson singled to the pitcher with a sizzling grounder. Aull picked up her second hit of the game with a double into left-center which scored Mordecai from second for the 2-0 Kentucky advantage.
In the sixth the defensive inning for the Blue and White was highlighted by Smith who laid out to grab the ball to her right-side. She was able to snag the ball and then rise to her knees and get the runner out at first for the final out of the inning.
The Gamecocks plated two runs in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings on a costly UK error. With two outs and runners in scoring position a short chopper was hit and the Blue and White threw the ball into South Carolina's dugout to allow the equaling run in making the score 2-2.
In the top of the eighth, Yocke came up with a two-out single through the left side but the Wildcats were unable to deliver a hit to bring her home as the inning ended on a pop-up in foul territory.
South Carolina had the best opportunity in the first extra frame with a pair of base hits. With a runner on second base and two outs, the Gamecocks singled through the right side into right field. South Carolina's coach waved her runner home and Mordecai was able to deliver the biggest throw of her career when she landed it right into Yocke's glove and UK's catcher was able to make the game-saving tag to keep the home team from scoring.
Kentucky once again escaped in the ninth inning when the Gamecocks once again put two runners on base. UK was able to come up with back-to-back groundouts to keep a run from stepping across home plate to force a 10th frame.
Despite a run in the home half of the 10th to make the final margin 4-3, freshman pitcher Rachel Riley was able to pick up her fifth victory of the season with a complete game effort.
The second game of the doubleheader began a little differently for the Wildcats as they etched a score on the board in the top of the first as the offensive generator kicked in early. Johnson jump started the game with a single up the middle to get a runner on base. She moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Aull. Yocke brought her home with her fifth triple of the season to give Kentucky the early 1-0 lead.
Kentucky had a chance to tack on a run in the second when Riley began the inning with a base hit into right field. Pinch runner Macy Allen stole second and DeMartine moved the runner ahead a base with a sacrifice bunt. Sophomore Annie Rowlands flew out to left field and Allen tagged up in attempt to take home. However, South Carolina's Adele Voight made a great throw home and the Gamecocks were able to get the out at home to end the inning without UK adding a run.
Aull scored in the top of the third to give Kentucky a 2-0 lead. With two outs Aull singled into left field to put a runner on base. She then took off for second for her second stolen base of the series and was able take the bag. In the throw-down to second the ball ended up in deep centerfield and Aull made the Gamecocks pay as she rounded all the way home on the miscue.
The Blue and White added another run in the top of the fifth. DeMartine began the inning with a single down the left field line. In a sacrifice bunt attempt, South Carolina got UK's lead runner at second but Rowlands reached on a fielder's choice. Mordecai laced a ball into the left center gap for a stand-up double to plate the run and give the visitor's a 3-0 edge.
The visitors' offense ignited again in the top half of the sixth. Aull found a hole in left center for a single to start the inning. Yocke laid down a masterful sacrifice bunt to advance the runner, but the heady Aull noticed nobody covering third and rounded all the way home from first on the play. Cervantes then tacked on a double before there was a six minute delay because of a light rain shower. Smith then smacked a ball into left center, but Stubblefield once again made a highlight-reel catch to rob the Wildcats of another run. However, Riley delivered a beautiful single that nicked off the left field wall to score Cervantes from second and move Kentucky ahead by a 5-0 score.
South Carolina nicked the scoreboard with a two-out solo home run in the bottom half of the sixth for the final 5-1 margin.
Freshman pitcher Chanda Bell picks up her 18th win of the season in a complete game effort. She is now just a mere win away from the single-season school record. She also added to her strikeout total for the season with four more strikeouts giving her 206 for the season.
Stay tuned to UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information about the UK softball team.