Seventh-Inning Rally Falls Just Short for UK
May 8, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Trailing by two runs going into the bottom of the seventh the 16th-ranked Kentucky softball team plated one run and had runners on base before the late charge fell just short to No. 23 Auburn for a final 2-1 game Sunday. The Tigers scored two unearned tallies in the top of the fourth thanks to a pair of UK errors in the stanza.
The loss concludes the regular season for Kentucky who falls to 36-13 on the season and 14-9 in Southeastern Conference action. Auburn caps the regular season with a 38-16 mark and a 15-13 clip in league play.
UK has earned the No. 6 seed in the SEC Tournament and will play either No. 3 seed Tennessee or Florida at Noon ET on Thursday, May 12 in Oxford, Miss. The game will air live on ESPNU. This marks a school-record third consecutive trip to the conference tournament. UK claimed series wins over both the Lady Vols and Gators in the regular season.
Senior Annie Rowlands opened the bottom of the seventh with a triple into left center in the bottom of the seventh with UK down by a pair of scores. Fittingly, on "Senior Day" Rowlands would record a triple to mirror her first career at-bat which was a two-run three-bagger during her freshman season.
Freshman Emily Jolly wasted little time in bringing in Rowlands from third with a single that dropped into shallow right field. A fielder's choice registered the first out of the inning as Auburn elected to get the lead runner. Sophomore Kara Dill's chopper to second was misplayed enabling two runners to reach base with just one out on the scoreboard.
Senior Meagan Aull lofted a shot into shallow left field and the Tigers' Katie Colton chased down the ball and made a terrific snag for the second out of the frame. Junior Brittany Cervantes then drilled a sizzling liner into right field; unfortunately, the ball sailed into the glove of Auburn's right fielder Amber Harrison to rob the Wildcats of a late-game rally.
The Tigers plated their runs in the top of the fourth benefiting from two UK miscues. Following an inning-opening pop-up to Jolly at second, Auburn's Lauren Guzman sent a slow roller back to pitcher Ellen Weaver who spun and whipped the ball to first. The throw was wide and forced Jolly off of the bag for the first error of the inning.
A single through the left side placed two runners on the base paths. Colton then posted an RBI single up the middle enabling the first unearned run to score in the frame. Weaver settled in and induced a strikeout for the second inning. A chopper back to Jolly was fielded cleanly, but the second baseman's throw dipped into the dirt and a running Kelley Smiley was able to round all the way home on the play for the second unearned tally of the game and what would end up being the difference-making score.
The loss on the mound is the first of the season for Weaver who worked 4.0 innings of action striking out six and allowing just four hits.
Seniors Aull, Samantha DeMartine, Rowlands and Megan Yocke were all honored prior to the start of the game. The 2011 class will go down in history as the program's all-time winningest senior class with 119 career victories. They are also the first group to record three consecutive seasons of 30 or more wins and take their teams to a three straight SEC Tournaments. UK will also look to advance to the NCAA Tournament for a school-record third straight season.
UK will hit the road for Oxford, Miss., later in the week. Follow along during the post-season at UK's official website UKathletics.com.