No. 18 UK Set to Host Pair of Instate Foes
April 18, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. - With the 18th-ranked Kentucky softball team locking up its third consecutive season with 30 or more wins, the Wildcats are set to welcome a pair of instate rivals this week at the UK Softball Complex. Kentucky will host Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, before welcoming Louisville on Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET.
With a 4-0 week last week, Kentucky improved its record to 31-10 on the season. That mark includes a 20-4 mark against non-conference opponents. UK needed late heroics from the bat of senior Samantha DeMartine to earn a sweep of Tennessee Tech on Saturday. DeMartine blasted a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th to preserve the win for UK.
Junior pitcher Chanda Bell was terrific working 7.2 innings of relief and allowing just one hit the entire game. She matched her own single-game high with 16 strikeouts in earning the win.
Senior Megan Yocke recorded a UK single-game high with 21 putouts during the win. Fittingly, she would set the single-game mark on the same day she topped the UK career record for putouts with more than 1,170 recorded.
Freshman Lauren Cumbess also enjoyed a good outing against the Golden Eagles. Cumbess notched her fifth win of the season in the opening win with a shutout victory and six strikeouts tossed. She then was inserted into the lineup in a pinch-hitting situation in the nightcap and delivered a game-tying RBI single to force extra innings.
Eastern Kentucky enters the matchup with Kentucky owning a 21-21 overall record on the season, but the Colonels have dropped their last seven games.
Shyenne Hussey leads the bats with an impressive .387 batting average, five home runs and 29 RBI. Raquel Howes has knocked home nine round trippers and leads the team with 36 RBI on a .316 average. Diane Gallagher is a dynamite on the base paths with a team-best 25 stolen bases. Gallagher owns a .373 clip and posted nine extra-base hits.
As a unit, Eastern Kentucky possesses a .293 batting average with 32 home runs and 58 stolen bases.
In the pitching circle, the Colonels have five pitchers on the staff, with three seeing the most action. Noelani Esperas paces the rotation with 26 appearances and a 3.82 ERA. She owns a 7-8 record and has recorded 75 strikeouts, while limiting opposing batters to a .295 batting average.
The Wildcats own an all-time series record of 14-7 over Eastern Kentucky. A rain-out a season ago forced the cancellation of the annual meeting. UK has won the last three meetings between the teams, with the Colonels last earning a victory by a 2-0 score in 2006.
Louisville comes to Lexington with an impressive 32-13 overall record and a 10-4 mark in Big East action. The Cardinals are receiving votes in the most recent NFCA and USA Softball Polls (new tallies are expected on April 19.)
Following a win over Kentucky in late March, the Cardinals have captured wins in 13 of their last 17 games.
Louisville is paced at the plate by Hannah Kiyohara who is using a .387 average to lead the team. Chelsea Bemis is batting with a .368 clip and leads the team with eight home runs and 35 RBI. As a unit, Louisville bats with a .323 average and have scored 249 runs on the year.
In the circle, Caralisa Connell leads the three-pitcher rotation with a 2.38 ERA and an 18-6 overall record. She has also tossed a team-best 131 strikeouts on the season. Tori Collins owns a 2.43 ERA and a 12-6 record with 121 Ks.
The squads met in Louisville in late March for the first of the annual home-and-home series. Louisville captured a 6-0 win over the Blue and White and improved its overall record over the Cats to a 14-12 mark. The Cardinals have captured the last eight matchups in the series.
Complete coverage of the UK softball team can be found at UKathletics.com all season long.