A Look Back at Kentucky Softball: 2009

May 26, 2009

LEXINGTON, Ky. - It was a season that could be described as the most successful in school allure. The 2009 Kentucky softball team led by second-year coach Rachel Lawson made its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in school history while charting the biggest turnaround in conference play in the grueling Southeastern Conference. The season had a number of “firsts” and has been recognized as a team on the rise. Here’s a look back at the 2009 season and the number of accomplishments the Wildcats achieved.

TEAM ACCOMPLISHMENTS
• First NCAA Tournament appearance in school history
• Picked up two wins in the NCAA tournament, defeating Canisius and BYU to advance to the Regional Championship series
• Charted the biggest turnaround in the SEC going from three wins in 2008 to 13 in 2009 in league play.
• Notched the second most wins in school history with 34 victories on the year, just two shy of the program record.
• Reached the 30-win plateau for just the second time in school annals.
• SEC Coaches picked Kentucky to finish last in the conference standings at the beginning of the season. The Wildcats finished sixth.
• Tallied an upset of No. 7 Georgia in the opening game of the SEC Tournament for the first post-season victory in school history.
• UK defeated three ranked teams this season: Georgia, LSU and Tennessee.
• Kentucky faced a top-five schedule in the country that had nine teams ranked in the pre-season national polls and six receiving votes.
• The Wildcats were among poll votes during five weeks of the season.
• Matched a school record with eight consecutive victories in the month of March.
• UK staged five seventh inning comebacks this season—with wins over LSU, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Morehead State coming in the final stanza.
• Kentucky’s turnaround is proven in the numbers. Here is a look at how UK dramatically improved this season:

Offensive Improvements Made
Category                     2008     2009
Batting Average       .255     .264
Runs Scored            204     255
Hits                        347     387
Doubles                  65       69
Triples                    10       15
Home Runs             20       39
RBI                        178     217
Slugging Pct.           .361    .412
Walks                    124     153
Strikeouts              281      256
On-Base Pct.          .329    .350
Sac Flies                 3        12
Sac Bunts               55       72
Stolen Bases           57       81

Defensive Improvements Made
Category                2008          2009
Putouts               1,052      1,153
Assists                395         444
Errors                  85           70
Fielding Pct.         .945        .958

Pitching Improvements Made
Category                2008        2009
ERA                    4.57       2.91
Shutouts             2            9
Saves                 0            1
Hits                    446        363
Runs                  311        216
Earned Runs       229        160
Strikeouts          157         315
Batting Avg.       .307        .244

INDIVIDUAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Jessica Adkins, freshman
• Tallied her first career hit in a win over Stetson

Macy Allen, freshman
• Scored 12 times this season
• Swiped four bases

Meagan Aull, sophomore
• Became just the fourth player in school history to finish the season with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage
• Ranks on UK’s single season charts in fielding percentage (1st with 1.000), doubles (6th with 12), sacrifice hits (9th with 10), sacrifice flies (4th with 3) and stolen bases (3rd with 26)
• Earned career-highs with a .321 batting average, 31 runs scored, 59 hits, 12 doubles, two triples, 25 RBI, 78 total bases, a .424 slugging percentage, a .366 on-base percentage, three sac flies, 10 sac hits, 26 stolen bases and a 1.000 fielding percentage
• Set a UK single-game record when she swiped four bases in a win over Kent State
• Had a team-high 26 stolen bases
• Registered the game-winning RBI sac fly in the upset win over LSU
• Scored the game-winning run in a 1-0 win over Western Kentucky
• Has started 111 consecutive games in center field

Chanda Bell, freshman
• All-SEC Freshman team member
• Twice named the SEC Freshman of the Week
• Set UK single-season records with 216 strikeouts, 19 victories, an opponent batting average of .212 and a .704 win-loss percentage
• Also tallied a single-game record of 15 strikeouts on three occasions
• Posted the first no-hitter in school history in a 1-0 victory over Western Kentucky
• Charted 10 or more strikeouts in eight games this season
• Ranks among UK’s career records for appearances (10th with 35), innings pitched (10th with 180.0), games started (9th with 26), ERA (3rd with 2.53), opponent batting average (1st with .212), strikeouts (3rd with 216) and wins (7th with 19)
• Captured a win in her first career start—in UK’s opening day win over Oregon
• Led the pitching staff in wins, appearances, games started, complete games, shutouts, saves, innings pitched, strikeouts and opponent batting average

Brittany Cervantes, freshman
• All-SEC Freshman team member
• Topped the team with 10 home runs and ranked second on the team with 35 RBI
• Etched her name on UK’s single-season chart lists in home runs (4th with 10), RBI (10th with 35) and walks (8th with 23)
• Served as the team’s clean-up batter for the majority of the season while making all 57 starts on the year
• Blasted a three-run home run in her first collegiate game in UK’s win over Oregon
• Knocked in the series-ending three-run home run to seal a sweep of Auburn
• Smacked two home runs in the series with Tennessee, including the first of UK’s only back-to-back blasts of the year in a come-from-behind seventh inning victory
• Had a walk-off two-run round tripper to sweep Mississippi State
• Solo home run over BYU helped ignite a UK rally to propel the team to the NCAA Regional Championship game

Samantha DeMartine, sophomore
• Named to the SEC Community Service Team
• Started all 57 games at first base for UK in her first season at the position
• Charted the third most putouts in single-season history with 363
• Set the single-game mark with 19 putouts against Florida and South Carolina
• Tallied career-highs in batting average, runs scored, hits, home runs, RBI, total bases, slugging percentage, one-base percentage, sacrifice hits, putouts, assists and fielding percentage
• Led the team in putouts and had an impressive .979 fielding percentage
• Singled to put a runner on base setting the stage for teammate Molly Johnson’s two-run home run in the upset victory over No. 7 Georgia in the SEC Tournament

Ashleigh Gustafson, freshman
• Drew a walk in a win over EKU to earn a base in just her second career at-bat

Molly Johnson, junior
• Named to the All-Southeast Region Team
• First team All-SEC member
• Named to the SEC All-Tournament Team
• USA Softball National Player of the Week on April 28
• SEC Player of the Week for the week of April 27th
• Set UK single-season records for runs scored (53), hits (81) and on-base percentage (.498)
• Posted career-highs in batting average (.433), runs (53), hits (81), triples (4), home runs (9), total bases (130), slugging percentage (.685), on-base percentage (.498) and stolen bases (24).
• Had a team-high nine-game hitting streak
• Blasted a game-winning three-run home run in the seventh inning to beat Morehead State
• Charted a game-winning walk-off single to defeat Kent State in the ninth inning
• Smacked one of UK’s four grand slams this season to lead a seven-run fourth inning to down Ole Miss
• Responsible for the game-winning two-run home run to upset No. 7 Georgia in the SEC Tournament
• Has started all 162 games of her career

Amber Matousek, junior
• Had one of the best statistical seasons of her career finishing with career-bests of a 4.07 ERA and an opponent batting average of .281
• Her .533 win-loss percentage ranks as the fifth-best in single-season school history
• Charted a shutout victory in her first start of the season against Hawaii
• Had a season-high seven strikeouts in the win over the Rainbow Wahine
• All eight of her victories were complete-game efforts
• Clinched UK’s series against Ole Miss with a complete-game effort

Katie McCarty, senior
• Tallied career-bests in RBI, walks and on-base percentage
• Ignited a Wildcat rally with a two-run triple in the win over Maryland
• Had an RBI single in her one at-bat against LSU
• Plated a run with a sac fly in a win over Western Kentucky

Destinee Mordecai, junior
• Made all 57 starts in right field
• Posted career-bests in runs scored, home runs, RBI, total bases, walks, sacrifice hits and stolen bases
• Was one of four UK players to have a grand slam this season
• She was the first to achieve the feat when she belted a walk-off slam to give UK a 4-0 win over Stetson in the eighth inning
• Had a two-run home run to lead UK to a win over Auburn
• Scored the game-winning run after leading off the ninth inning with a double in the victory over Kent State

Kristen O’Haver, freshman
• Recorded a single in her first collegiate plate appearance
• Started at third base in a win over UConn, while posting two hits and an RBI in that start

Rachel Riley, freshman
• Named to the All-SEC Tournament team
• Once named the SEC Freshman of the Week
• Became a reliable ace for the pitching staff late in the season after seeing time at second base and in the designated player slot in the first half of the year
• Her earned run average for the season at 2.35 is the third best in a single season in UK history
• Is the first UK pitcher in history to have a win in the SEC Tournament (against Georgia) and in the NCAA Tournament (against Canisius)
• Both of her only career shutouts came in post-season play
• Tossed a one-hitter against No. 1 Florida in a 1-0 nine-inning loss
• She had a no-hitter going against the Gators into that last inning as the lone run came on a sacrifice fly
• Was the first pitcher since to throw a one-hitter against the Gators since All-American Monica Abbott did it in 2007
• Was also a steady player at the plate as she was one of just four players this season to hit a grand slam for the Blue and White
• Earned a win on the mound and drove in the winning run in a victory over Eastern Kentucky

Annie Rowlands, sophomore
• Started all 57 games in left field
• Posted career-bests in batting average, runs scored, hits doubles, total bases, walks, on-base percentage, sac flies, sac hits, stolen bases and fielding percentage
• Developed into a spectacular outfielder that included several dazzling high-light reel plays
• Tallied a career-best hitting streak in her second season
• Recorded five multiple-hit games

Erika Silence, freshman
• Scored in her first collegiate game in an opening day win over Oregon
• Her first career hit was a solo home run to help secure a UK win over UConn

Natalie Smith, junior 
• Started 154 games in her career
• Registered career-highs in games played, RBI, walks and sacrifice hits
• Hit her first career walk-off home run as a part of the only back-to-back home runs of the season in an upset come-from-behind win over top-15 ranked Tennessee
• Notched the game-tying three-run double in the top of the seventh inning to force extra innings against LSU—a game UK would eventually win
• Had a seventh inning single to put a runner on base in the comeback win over Morehead State
• Drove in the game-winning run with a sac fly in the 1-0 win over Western Kentucky

Megan Yocke, sophomore
• Named to the All-Southeast Region Team
• Second team All-SEC member
• Set a UK single-season record with 13 sacrifice hits
• Etched her name in UK’s single-season charts for triples (5th with 5), home runs (7th with 7), RBI (9th with 37), on-base percentage (10th with .427), slugging percentage (8th with .572), walks (2nd with 29), putouts (8th with 295) and fielding percentage (5th with .997)
• Posted career-high numbers with a .321 batting average, 33 runs scored, 51 hits, nine doubles, seven home runs and 37 RBI
• Tallied a career-best seven game hitting streak twice during the season
• Had UK’s only inside-the-park home run this season
• Smacked a walk-off series-clinching three-run home run against Auburn
• Twice saved UK’s series win over Ole Miss with a game-tying double in the seventh inning and then a game-winning double in the eighth
• One of four Kentucky players to have a grand slam this season—hers came against Mississippi State
• Started 111 consecutive games

Jennifer Young, junior 
• Saw her first career action as a pinch runner
• Scored three times in that role, including a run in the NCAA Tournament against Ohio State

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