Wildcats Suffer Heartbreaking Loss to No. 12 Louisiana
March 3, 2012
LAFAYETTE, La. - Four runs in the top of the seventh inning prevented the Kentucky softball team from earning an upset bid over No. 12 Louisiana as UK fell 5-4 in dramatic fashion in the afternoon game. UK had scored four runs in the bottom of the first and clung to a three-run lead for six innings before the Cajuns came up with late-game magic.
The loss drops the Wildcats to 9-8 on the year with Louisiana improving to a perfect 14-0 start. Senior Rachel Riley takes the loss on the mound, but helped provide an offensive spark with her third homer of the season. Freshman Griffin Joiner was a highlight for the Wildcats as she logged a perfect 3-for-3 day at the dish with a run scored and an RBI. She has now totaled three consecutive multiple-hit outings in addition to notching more than one hit in four of her last five games.
Louisiana rallied for four runs in the top of the seventh during its final at bat. The designated visitors led off the stanza with a walk. Riley induced a pop-up to sophomore Krystal Smith at second for the frame's first out. Louisiana then placed two aboard with an infield single. UK's hurler came up with a huge strikeout for the second out of the inning, but it was not enough as an RBI double bridged the gap to 4-2, and a three-run homer by the No. 2 hitter gave the Cajuns' a lead for the first time in the game at 5-4.
With the Wildcats needing a score in the bottom of the seventh, junior Kara Dill picked up her second hit of the game with a bunt single and two outs. However the game would end on a fly-out to right field.
Kentucky struck for all four of its runs in the bottom half of the first. Dill led off the stanza with a single just over the third baseman's outstretched glove to run her hitting streak to a career-long 14 games. She'd then swipe second to shift into scoring position. Joiner delivered the game's first tally with a one-out RBI single through the left side.
Riley wasted little time in helping her own cause with a bomb over the left field fence for two more runs. UK's rally did not end there; however, as sophomore Ginny Carroll recorded a full-count walk. Sophomore Lauren Cumbess sliced a single through the right-side gap. Carroll held at third but a wild throw from center enabled UK's runner to shift home for the fourth run of the inning and a 4-0 edge.
In the top of the second the Ragin' Cajun's launched a solo homer to bridge the gap to 4-1. The designated visitors then loaded the bases with no outs, but Riley and the UK defense escaped the jam without any further damage highlighted by an inning-ending double play.
Following the early offensive onslaught, the game turned into a pitcher's duel. Over the course of the third and fourth innings neither team could produce a runner beyond the first base bag. Kentucky left one stranded in the fourth after Smith earned a base on an error by the Cajun's third baseman.
The Wildcats prevented any Louisiana runners beyond one who walked with a gorgeous double-play turned in the top of the fourth for its second trick of the game. Riley's tremendous pitching effort continued into the fifth as she made quick work of the Cajuns by retiring the side.
Joiner earned a two-out single that sliced the right field line for her third hit of the game, but UK would leave her aboard with a pop-up to short to end the frame.
Louisiana notched a two-out single of its own in the top half of the sixth, but Riley got the final out by way of a fly-out to freshman Kara Howard in left field to quiet the bats.
Kentucky concludes action at the Ragin' Cajun's Invitational with an 11 a.m. ET matchup against Nicholls State on Sunday morning.
Follow along with the UK softball program all season long at UKathletics.com.