Wildcats Upset No. 5 Arizona State on Opening Day
Feb. 12, 2010
TEMPE, Ariz. - The Kentucky softball team began the season with a victory for the third consecutive season, this time in stylish fashion by knocking off the fifth ranked Arizona State Sun Devils, 5-2, on their home field. Three UK players blasted their first home runs of the early season and junior Annie Rowlands drove in three runs, two off of a home run.
Kentucky (1-0) got a tremendous effort on the mound from sophomore ace Chanda Bell who went the distance and fanned 14 batters on the night for her first win of the season. Rowlands went 2-for-3 to lead the squad with three RBI. Sophomore Brittany Cervantes and senior Molly Johnson also charted long balls as the Blue and White posted 11 hits on the fifth-ranked team in the nation.
Junior Megan Yocke earned the first hit of the season when she sent a well hit ball toward the second baseman. The junior advanced to second on an error by the second baseman who attempted to back flip the ball to the first base man. Cervantes earned a bag when she was plucked by a pitch with two outs putting a pair of runners on base. After a 10-plus pitch at-bat by junior Meagan Aull the Wildcats ended the inning without bringing a run across the plate.
Bell opened the 2010 campaign by charting two straight strikeouts. After walking the third batter the sophomore ace ended the inning with her third strikeout.
UK struck first with a run in the top of the second to take an early 1-0 advantage. Sophomore Rachel Riley began the inning with a single to the third baseman. Junior Samantha DeMartine laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runner. A groundout by Mordecai allowed pinch runner Macy Allen to advance to third where Rowlands laced a single up the middle to plate the season's first run.
Bell allowed an opening walk, but then struck out the next two batters to give the advantage back to the defense. Arizona State sent a ball into shallow centerfield to put a pair of runners on base. Bell wasted little time in ending the threat as she sat down her sixth batter of the game.
Senior Natalie Smith lead off the inning by sending a sizzling line drive that was dropped by the shortstop to put the leadoff batter on base. With one out, Cervantes drilled a ball over the left field wall to begin the year right where she left off during her freshman season with her 11th career home run to give UK a 3-0 lead.
Rowlands earned the first out of the bottom of the third with a spectacular diving snag. The home team Sun Devils loaded the bases with two outs, but Bell once again came up with a huge strikeout to end the inning without allowing a run.
With two outs in the top of the fourth, Rowlands was the second player to blast a ball over the wall when she drove a solo shot over the left-center fence to increase UK's advantage to 4-0.
Bell continued to use her pitches to keep the Sun Devils from crossing the plate in the fourth. The home team once again placed a pair of runners on the bags with two outs, and Bell ended the threat for the third straight inning by sitting the batter down on strikes.
After a scoreless fifth frame, Johnson struck for a long ball in the top of the sixth to increase Kentucky's lead to 5-0 on nine hits and three home runs. Arizona State struck for two runs on a home run to bring the school to within 5-2.
Kentucky returns to action at 11 a.m. ET tomorrow morning for the first of two games. Up first for UK is a matchup with San Diego State.