Freshmen Lead Kentucky to Sunday Victory
Feb. 22, 2009
LAFAYETTE, La. – Behind impressive performances from the freshman class the Kentucky Wildcats scored a 5-3 victory over Connecticut on the final day of the Mardi Gras Invitational.
Kentucky improves its record to 5-4 overall and 2-2 at the tournament this weekend. UConn falls to 1-3 on the year after opening the year in Louisiana.
Freshman pitcher Chanda Bell was sensational for the second consecutive Sunday for the Blue and White. The right-hander tossed a complete seven inning game, registering 11 strikeouts—reaching the double-digit plateau for the second straight Sunday for her third win of the year.
UK's freshmen class was outstanding at the plate in helping UK to the victory. Erika Silence's solo home run in the bottom of the sixth gave UK a two-run lead going into the final half inning. Kristen O'Haver tallied two singles and Brittany Cervantes had a single and scored a run for the Blue and White.
Connecticut opened the first inning with a leadoff solo home run over the left field wall. But, freshman Bell fired back with three straight strikeouts catching all three batters swinging.
The Wildcats fired back with a two-run bottom half of the frame to captured the 2-1 lead. Junior Molly Johnson led off with a walk and then swiftly stole second to put a runner in scoring position. Sophomore Meagan Aull reached on a fielder's choice and Johnson was rewarded third on an obstruction call. Johnson came home and Aull shifted to third on Yocke's deep fly ball into left field for a sacrifice fly. During sophomore Samantha DeMartine's walk, Aull's speedy feet tapped home on a wild pitch on the final ball of the at-bat for the two runs.
After Bell retired UConn's lineup in order—including another pair of strikeouts. Sophomore Annie Rowlands got a base in the bottom half of the second, but UK was unable to convert any more offense to increase its lead.
Connecticut put a runner on base in the top of the third, but Kentucky's defense stiffened forcing a fly out and a groundout to shortstop making the Huskies to strand a base runner.
Freshman Brittany Cervantes tallied a two-out single into left field offensively for the Wildcats to get things going in the bottom of the stanza. Junior Destinee Mordecai kept the inning alive taking her second walk of the game to put runners on first and second setting the stage for freshman Kristen O'Haver. The first-year player lofted a single into right-center that was just over the out-stretched hands of the Huskies' second baseman. Cervantes scored from second and Mordecai advanced to third on the play. Mordecai reached home on the very next pitch as UConn's pitcher sailed a ball over her catcher giving UK a 4-1 lead through three innings.
UConn scored a pair of runs in the top of the fifth behind a single into right field and then a two-run home run over the left field wall to bring the score to 4-3.
That's when Silence answered with her solo shot of her own in her first career hit in a UK uniform. Silence hammered a line-drive shot over the left field fence to increase the Wildcats' lead to 5-3.
Kentucky returns to action Friday, Feb. 27th at the Stetson University Tournament in Deland, Fla. UK will face Centenary, Maryland and host Stetson in the three-day round-robin tournament.