Cats Survive Marathon Game With Arkansas
April 27, 2003
Fayetteville, Ark. - The University of Kentucky softball team (14-39, 4-26) played their second 10-inning game of the season. The Wildcats would find themselves outlasting the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks (24-34, 8-22), 7-6, in the rubber match of the final SEC series of the season, Sunday at Lady'Back Yard.
The first two innings saw each team get a hit, but no runs would score. Kentucky would take the 3-0 lead in the top of the third. Crystalie Wolfe and Nikki Jones led off with back-to-back singles. Lori Melchi put down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over, but the throw from the third baseman went over the first baseman's head, allowing Wolfe to come in to score and placing Melchi on second and Jones on third with no one out.
Lady 'Back pitcher Heather Schlichtman looked as if she might get out of the inning with no more damage after Lyndsey Angus grounded out and Rachel Friberg struck out. But UK pitcher Amy Kendall came up and helped her own cause with a single up the middle that scored Jones and Melchi.
The Cats would look to add more runs in the fifth. Singles by Jones, Angus and Kendall loaded the bases with two outs. But a ground-out to the Arkansas second baseman would end the inning. Angus' single extended her hitting streak to 12 games.
The Lady 'Backs would cut the lead to one in the bottom of the sixth inning. A lead-off single by Kim Eiben followed by a Barbara-Jean Southmayd double scored the first run of the afternoon for Arkansas. After retiring the next two batters, Kendall gave up a single to Candice Swan which added another run to the Lady 'Backs' side of the scoreboard.
Arkansas would tie the game up in the bottom of the seventh. Stephanie Hunter led off with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Blaire Woodward. A single to right field by Eiben would bring around Hunter and even the score up at three.
The game would go into extra innings. After an eventless eighth, Kentucky got their bats going in the ninth. Jones beat out an infield single, her third hit of the day and moved on to second on Melchi's second sacrifice bunt of the game. Angus then walked, giving her 26 free passes on the season, tying the record she set her sophomore and junior years.
Rachel Friberg hit a chopper up the middle which the shortstop couldn't handle. The error loaded the bases with only one out. Kendall came up and got ahead in the count 3-0 on Schlichtman. Instead of taking the next pitch, Kendall was given the go-ahead to swing away, and she did, pounding a two-run single to right center. Friberg was able to get all the way to third from first and would score when the next batter Jessica Nance placed a slow ground-ball to the right side.
Kendall would take the 6-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth. Two Kentucky errors and a base-hit would load the bases for the Lady 'Backs with no outs. Kendall struck out Ashley Carter for her season-high tying 7th of the game, but the next batter, Melissa Johnson, pulled a ball down the left field line. The single scored two runs and put Arkansas within a run.
Julie Young hit a blooper towards center field, but Friberg at shortstop made a great catch, saving the tying run from scoring. Kendall worked Candice Swan to a 2-2 count, but Swan knocked a base-hit through Kendall's legs into center, scoring Eiben and tying the game once again.
In the tenth, the teams would play international tiebreaker rules, placing Megan Glenn on second to start the inning. A pop-up and a strikeout meant two quick outs for Kentucky. Jones came up and pushed a double into left center, scoring Glenn. For Jones, it was a career-high for at-bats (6) and hits (4) in a game.
The Cats survived a scare from Arkansas in the tenth but held on for the 7-6 win. Besides getting her ninth win of the year, Kendall went 3-4 at the plate with four RBI's.
The Cats will play their last home games of the season this Wednesday when they play host to in-state opponent Western Kentucky. The doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET.