Wildcats Travel to Alabama for an SEC Doubleheader
April 13, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky softball team is back in action Tuesday playing in a doubleheader against the SEC West leader and the No. 4 ranked team in the country in Alabama. Tuesday's games will mark the fifth ranked opponent in UK's last six series. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. ET.
Saturday Kentucky (25-16, 8-11) nearly topped the top-ranked Florida Gators in Lexington. Freshman pitcher Rachel Riley turned in the best pitching performance of her young career when she held the Gators to just a single hit in the contest. Riley actually had a no-hitter going until the top of the ninth inning when she yielded a single and then gave up the game's lone run on a sacrifice fly.
Sophomore Samantha DeMartine set a single game school record with 19 putouts in the loss. Junior Natalie Smith totaled a pair of singles against All-American right-hander Stacey Nelson, while freshman Brittany Cervantes doubled in the game. UK left at least one base-runner stranded in seven of the nine innings including the seventh and eighth innings.
The Wildcats should have its full rotation on the mound, as UK also saw the return of freshman Chanda Bell on Saturday. Bell worked five innings of relief in the second game and struck out five Gator batters after missing the last week.
Junior Molly Johnson helped DeMartine achieve the school record 19 putouts when she matched a school record with nine assists in the game that saw Florida groundout 20 times. Johnson is also approaching another feat in her already stellar career. Johnson is just four runs away from breaking the single season runs scored record. Johnson has crossed the plate 39 times this season. Leslie Kwiatkowski holds the record with 43 runs scored in UK's last run at the SEC Championship in 2000.
Alabama enters the match-up with a 33-8 overall record and an 11-6 clip in the SEC. The Crimson Tide most recently dropped a series to South Carolina, but are led by Brittany Rogers at the plate who is batting .432 on the year with 35 stolen bases. Kelsi Dunne, Amanda Locke and Charlotte Morgan form a potent pitching staff in the circle.
With just three SEC series remaining in the season for the Wildcats, UK is in prime position for a spot in the SEC Championship set for the second week of May in Knoxville. Kentucky currently holds the seventh spot for advancement into the tournament. Auburn would claim the eighth spot, with Ole Miss and South Carolina hot on their heels.
Complete coverage of the series with the Crimson Tide will be available at UKathletics.com.