Historic Season Ends in Heartbreaking Loss

May 29, 2011

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- A story-book season ended in a heartbreaking loss for the Kentucky softball team on a steamy afternoon at the UK Softball Complex. In front of 1,690 proud Big Blue fans, the 2011 edition of the UK softball team dropped a 9-0 effort to seventh-seeded California for the right to advance to the Women’s College World Series.

After forcing a decisive third game behind one of the best offensive performances of the season, the Wildcats found themselves in a 5-0 hole after the opening inning and could never string enough consecutive hits together to overcome the deficit.

The season ends after compiling simply the best season in school history. UK charted a single-season record with 40 victories, set numerous single-season offensive records and advanced to the Super Regionals for the first time in school allure.

“I think the future is very bright for us,” UK coach Rachel Lawson said. “But I feel best about the fact that this group (the senior class) was – nobody thought they could win. I wanted them to go to the World Series.”

The four-member senior class of Meagan Aull, Samantha DeMartine, Annie Rowlands and Megan Yocke were the driving forces behind UK’s three-year run in the NCAA Tournament and has etched their names into the record books. The 123 wins over the last four seasons are the most for any senior class in Kentucky history. The quartet led UK to victories over 13 top-10 ranked opponents, attained the school’s highest national ranking in school history and will finish as the only class in school annals with a career winning percentage above .500.

“The reason it’s hard is because in like a week, probably even two days, we’re going to feel pretty good about everything we’ve done, but we are girls and this is about the only time it shows is when things are over,” Lawson said.

With the loss, Kentucky concludes its season with a 40-16 overall record. Cal improves to 44-11 and will face Alabama in its first game in the World Series.

The Golden Bears jumped on the board in the top of the first inning, taking a 5-0 lead on four hits and an error.

Cal added an insurance run in the top of the sixth inning, as Ashley Decker led off with a bunt single, taking second on a groundout and scoring on Jordan Wallace’s second double of the game. The Bears tacked on an additional three runs in the top of the seventh for the final margin.

Kentucky had prime scoring opportunities in the fourth and sixth innings, but stranded a combined six runners including three in the sixth frame. Aull paced UK with a 2-for-3 outing which included a double. Junior Rachel Riley singled through the left side for UK’s additional hit.

Cal’s Jolene Henderson captured the win in the circle working a complete-game shutout and allowing just three hits on the afternoon to a UK team that carved her up for six runs in the previous outing.

Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the UK softball team and all of Kentucky’s 22 teams.