Rally Falls Short as Wildcats Drop Opener to BYU

May 14, 2009

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Kentucky softball team dropped its opening round NCAA Tournament game to Brigham Young, 6-2, despite a late-rally on Thursday afternoon at New Buckeye Field on the campus of Ohio State. Sophomore Megan Yocke led the way offensively for UK with a solo home run in the fourth inning.

Kentucky (32-22) will now await its opponent in the double-elimination tournament. UK will take the field Friday at 5 p.m. ET against the loser of the Ohio State-Canisius game.

Brigham Young got off to a fast start by plating two runs in the top of the first. Kristi Delahoussaye opened the game with a single up the middle and then Tiffany Messerschmidt walked to place two runners on base. Angeline Quiocho bunted a ball back to the pitcher and then reached when UK was unable to get her out at first to load the bases for clean-up hitter Jessica Purcell. BYU's leading RBI-batter brought in two runs with a single up the center of the defense for the early 2-0 advantage.

Kentucky put a runner on base in the bottom of the inning with one out when junior Natalie Smith drew a walk on five pitches. However, she would be caught leaving early from the bag and UK ended the inning with a fly out to centerfield.

The Cougars added to their lead in the second after Stephanie Hopkins opened the stanza with a double into right-center. She came home on Delahoussaye's second single of the day for a 3-0 lead. Sophomore Annie Rowlands' ended the Cougars' offensive production with a spectacular diving snag to get the third out of the inning. UK fell in order in the bottom of the inning without getting a runner on base.

Kentucky's defense picked up a much-enjoyed quick inning in the third. Riley struck out the lead-off batter and then forced Purcell into a fly out to junior Destinee Mordecai in right field. BYU got a runner on base with a five-pitch walk, but Riley got Coreen Lopez to groundout back to the mound to end the inning without further damage.

UK put two runners on base in the bottom of the third with two outs. Mordecai captured her 26th base on balls of the season. Junior Molly Johnson was then struck with a pitch to put runners on first and second. However, UK could not advance them any further as the inning ended on a groundout to the shortstop.

Johnson led the defensive effort in the top of the fourth as the Wildcats retired the bottom of the order. The junior shortstop corralled a pair of pop-ups and charted an assist with a groundout.

With the heart of the order set to lead off in the bottom of the fourth UK was poised for some offensive production. Yocke opened the inning with a solo blast over the dead-center 220-foot wall for UK's first run. Freshman Brittany Cervantes followed with a double that sliced through the right-center gap and ricocheted off the wall. Sophomore Meagan Aull kept things going for the Blue and White after she fended off seven straight pitches on a 1-2 count, Aull was able to reach base and advance Cervantes with a blooper along the left field line. The speedy centerfielder then stole her team-best 26th base of the season to put bother runners in scoring position. Sophomore Samantha DeMartine scored Cervantes with a hard-hit single into center field to bring the Wildcats to within 3-2 through four innings.

Riley and the Wildcats got out of a jam in the top of the fifth. With the top of BYU's order at the plate, Riley gave up a lead-off walk eventually allowing the bases to become loaded. However, the freshman right-hander behind some great defensive work by Johnson and Cervantes got out of the inning unscathed.

Smith notched a one-out single for UK with a runner into right field, but that would be the only offense UK could come up with in the bottom of the fifth. Yocke drilled another deep shot into centerfield that first appeared like it may get over the fence, but BYU's Quiocho made a grab at the warning track. The inning ended on a groundout to the shortstop without UK able to advance the runner.

Kentucky did not allow a base runner in the sixth as they sat the bottom of the order down in succession. Cervantes was in on all three outs with a fly out and then back-to-back groundouts.

Offensively Riley recorded a single with one out when she found a gap through the left side to put a runner on base. Kentucky, however, could not move the runner as they fell on strikes and then grounded out to the third baseman to end the inning still trailing by a run.

The Cougars' top of the lineup struck again in the seventh much like they opened the game to pull away from the Blue and White. After an opening out, the Cougars charted consecutive singles and then UK intentionally walked the dangerous Purcell. Andrea Ramirez delivered a two-run single into left field to give BYU its first two runs. Then on a crazy play that nicked off Riley's glove, UK was able to get the out at first but another run would cross home on the strange play moving the lead to four runs at 6-2.

Kentucky's last ditch effort was unsuccessful as UK could not get a runner on base in the final inning trailing by four.

The Wildcats will return to action in the double-elimination format tournament tomorrow at 5 p.m. ET. UK will face the loser of the Ohio State-Canisius game following tonight's action.

Stay tuned to UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information about the UK softball team.