Riley's Three-Run Double Ignites Rally and Lifts Cats
Feb. 25, 2012
STATESBORO, Ga. - Senior Rachel Riley's three-run double in the bottom of the sixth inning lifted the Kentucky softball team to a 9-5 victory over Radford in its third game at the Georgia Southern Invitational on Saturday afternoon at Eagle Field. The game featured nine errors combined for the game and both squads plated four runs in the sixth frame for a wild finish.
Three Wildcat players had multi-hit games including junior Kara Dill who extended her hitting streak to nine games. Sophomore Emily Jolly connected for a two-run homer in the fourth which marked her first long ball of the season. Starting pitcher Ellen Weaver was flawless at the plate with a perfect 2-for-2 outing and a pair of runs scored.
With the win Kentucky has won three straight and improves to 7-5 on the season. Radford drops to 0-2 with the loss. Weaver worked five innings and gave up just one run on four hits. Senior Chanda Bell entered in the sixth and yielded four runs on four hits, but closed the door on the win with a three-up-and-three-down inning in the top of the seventh to preserve the win. The victory lifts her to 55 for her career which is the most career victories by a UK pitcher in school history.
After the Highlanders plated four scores in the top of the sixth to knot the score at five apiece, the Wildcats rallied for four runs of their own to recapture the lead and make the final margin at 9-5.
Senior Ashleigh Gustafson began the rally by reaching on a poor throw from the shortstop. Jolly then logged a fielder's choice, but both runners were able to reach base safely. A single through the left side from Dill loaded the bases. The single occurred on a controversial call with Gustafson getting struck by the ball during the hit. The umpires ruled, however, that all of Radford's infielders were in front of the runner enabling her to remain safe and advance to third.
Following consecutive outs with the bases loaded, UK relied on preseason All-Southeastern Conference selection, Riley, to deliver the game's biggest hit. She lofted a three-run double into the right-center gap to plate the winning runs. Junior Alice O'Brien brought in the final run with a single into right-center.
Senior Brittany Cervantes laced a two-out double along the right field line in the top of the first. Riley kept the inning alive with a chopper in between the third-and-short gap that the third baseman mishandled. O'Brien then logged a walk to load the bases. Sophomore Lauren Cumbess delivered an RBI single into left field for the game's first score and a 1-0 Wildcat lead.
The Wildcats plated two scores in the bottom of the second to stretch the lead to 3-0. Weaver led off the frame with a single into right field. Following a strikeout, Dill reached on a fielder's choice and the second Radford error of the game enabled both base runners to shift into scoring position. A single into left field by freshman Griffin Joiner brought home Weaver and heady base running by Dill enabled her to shift all the way home as the Highlander's pursued a charging Joiner into second base.
Weaver again ignited an offensive rally for the Blue and White with a single into center to begin the home half of the fourth. Jolly then drilled a homer over the center field wall for her first blast of the season to extend UK's advantage to 5-0.
Radford notched a one-out single in the top of the fourth, but Weaver struck out the next two batters to continue to quiet the Highlanders' bats.
The designated visitor's plated a score in the top of the fifth to bridge the gap to 5-1 in favor of the Wildcats. Radford's bat continued to heat up with four runs in the top of the sixth to knot the score at 5-5.
Kentucky returns to action with a tilt against the host Georgia Southern Eagles at approximately 3:30 p.m. ET for its final competition at the Invitational.
Follow along with the UK softball program all season long at UKathletics.com.