UK Wins First of the Series, 30th of the Season
May 8, 2010
OXFORD, Miss. - Behind a combined pitching effort from sophomores Chanda Bell and Rachel Riley the Kentucky softball team earned a 2-0 shutout victory of Ole Miss in the opening game of the series Saturday afternoon in Oxford, Miss. The win marks the 30th victory of the season for the Blue and White giving UK back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time in school history.
Kentucky (30-23, 12-14 Southeastern Conference) rode the right-arms of Bell and Riley for the victory. Bell opened the game and tossed 4.1 shutout innings before giving Riley the ball who finished the win earning her first career save in the process. Ole Miss drops to 26-26 overall and 7-18 in SEC play. Bell captures her 17th victory of the season.
Molly Johnson was 2-for-4 at the dish with a double and a run scored to lead the bats. Kentucky had six players register a hit with Destinee Mordecai also plating a run in the top of the fourth frame.
Johnson began the game with a leadoff double that nicked the right field fence. It marked the 10th two-bagger of the season for UK's senior. Natalie Smith executed a masterful bunt and was able to reach first to place runners on the corners with each of the first two batters registering a hit. UK's senior second baseman then swiped a base putting both runners into scoring position. With just one out, Samantha DeMartine brought in the game's first run with a dribbler down the first base line giving Johnson enough time to slide safely home for the early 1-0 advantage.
Ole Miss had a great opportunity in the bottom half of the second, but Bell and the UK defense stifled the threat quickly. After allowing the first two batters to reach base behind a hit by pitch and a single into center, the Rebels shifted the runners into scoring position behind a sacrifice bunt. Bell sat the next batter down on strikes and then forced the third out of the inning to foul out to Megan Yocke behind the plate.
UK added an additional run in the top of the fourth to take a 2-0 lead. Brittany Cervantes led off with a single into the left-center gap. Meagan Aull advanced the runner a base with a sacrifice hit, and Mordecai plated Cervantes from second with a single into shallow left field.
The Rebels put consecutive runners on the base paths to begin the home half of the fourth, but the Wildcats would force three consecutive outs to preserve its two-run advantage.
Ole Miss loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth with just one out, and the Wildcats brought in Riley to pitch. Riley forced two consecutive ground outs to keep the two-run lead intact for the visitors. She would go on to throw 2.2 total innings of action while adding a pair of strikeouts for her first career save.
Kentucky and Ole Miss will wrap up their three-game series with a 2 p.m. ET first pitch on Sunday in Oxford, Miss.
Complete coverage of the Wildcat softball team can be found at UKathletics.com.