Softball's Late Charge Falls Short to No. 10/11 Georgia
April 15, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Senior Brittany Cervantes laced a homer to left-center field in the bottom of the seventh inning to shrink the Georgia lead to one run, but the late rally fell short as No. 10/11 Georgia defeated Kentucky by a 4-3 score on Sunday afternoon in the final game of the three-game series. Kentucky captured the opening two games of the series to claim a series win over the Bulldogs for just the second time in school history and nearly managed a sweep of one of the nation's top teams.
Kentucky falls 21-23 on the season and 8-9 in Southeastern Conference action. The Bulldogs improve to 34-10 and 12-7 in league play. The Wildcats have come out the victors in five of the last seven games, which are all SEC games.
After picking up the loss in Friday night's game, Bulldog pitcher Erin Arevalo earned the win Sunday to improve to 18-4 on the season. UK sophomore Ellen Weaver falls to 2-5.
Georgia struck first, placing two runs on the board in the top of the third frame. Niaja Griffin led off the inning with an infield single. After Weaver retired the next two batters, Paige Wilson doubled to left center scoring Griffin from second after a stolen base. Wilson then proceeded to steal third, and was brought home on a wild pitch to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead through two and a half.
The Bulldogs connected for another run in the top of the fourth, as first basemen Tess Sito was plated after leading off the inning with a single. After consecutive outs, Griffin laced a single up the middle to score Sito from third and give Georgia the 3-0 advantage.
Kentucky responded in the bottom of the fourth striking for two runs. With one out, sophomore Lauren Cumbess singled to give the Wildcats their first base runner of the inning. Freshman Griffin Joiner laid down a successful sacrifice, and advanced to second base on an error by the Bulldogs' second basemen. Pinch running for Cumbess, Macy Allen, advanced to third to place both runners in scoring position. Sophomore Emily Jolly delivered a bloop single over the first base man's head driving in Allen and Joiner to cut the lead to one run at 3-2.
Cumbess led off the Wildcats' half of the sixth with a double down the right-field line, which was followed by Joiner getting hit with a pitch to place two aboard with no outs. Kentucky missed out on the opportunity as the next three batters were retired in order leaving both runners stranded.
In the top of the seventh, Georgia tacked on another run to make it 4-2 when Wilson went yard to right-center field. The tally would prove to be a much-needed insurance run.
With the Wildcats needing to rally, Cervantes drove a pitch out in the bottom of the seventh to close the game to one run. The homer was Cervantes' eighth of the year, and sixth in the last eight outings for the Blue and White.
Kentucky will next make the trip to Oxford, Miss., for part one of the Mississippi Swing. The Cats will play a midweek doubleheader with Ole Miss on Wednesday afternoon with game one slated for a 5:00 p.m. ET start. UK will then travel to Starkville, Miss., for a three-game weekend series with Mississippi State beginning Friday night.
For continuing coverage of the 2012 UK softball season, log on to UKathletics.com.