Softball Falls to No. 15/16 Hawai’i
HONOLULU, Hawaii – The University of Kentucky softball team dropped an offensive showdown, 9-5, to No. 15/16 Hawai’i in the opening game of the Paradise Classic Thursday night in Honolulu.
UK could not quite match the offensive power of the nationally ranked Hawai’i team playing in their season opener. The two teams combined for 21 hits, 10 of which went for extra bases in the high-scoring affair.
Kentucky (2-3, 0-0) struck first in the bottom of the first inning after Natalie Smith used her speed to turn in a double for the first hit of the game. Molly Johnson then extended her hitting streak to a fifth straight game with an RBI single up the middle which scored Smith. Johnson advanced to second on a Becky Bishop sacrifice bunt, but the Wildcats would leave a runner stranded after suffering an inning-ending strikeout.
The Rainbow Wahine (1-0, 0-0) fired back immediately with two runs in the top of the second to take a 2-1, lead they would never relinquish. Hawai’i tacked on another two runs in the top of the fifth on four hits, including two doubles pushing the score to 4-1.
Hawai’i added to their lead with a four-run sixth inning. The Lady Wahine put two runners on base off of two walks, and scored two runs on a sacrifice fly and a single to left field. Hawai’i added to their total with a two-run home run from the bat of Clare Warwick making the score 8-1. The Lady Wahine would add their ninth run in the top of the seventh.
UK made it interesting as they scored three runs in the sixth and one in the seventh making the score 9-5. Smith blasted her second double of the night and Johnson followed with her second single of the evening. Bishop then found a gap in right field plating Smith for her second run of the night. Sophomore Destinee Mordecai got in on the action with a two-run double before being tagged out at third as she tried to stretch the play ending the inning.
In the seventh, freshman Meagan Aull singled up the middle and classmate Sam DeMartine reached on an error. Smith tallied her fourth hit of the night loading the bases. Johnson put a ball in right field that scored Aull to bring the final score to 9-5.
Leading the way for the Wildcats was Smith who went a perfect 4-4 at the dish with two doubles, marking the second time this season a UK batter has had at least two extra base hits in a game. Johnson knocked her team leading 11th hit and fifth RBI of the season.
Sophomore pitcher Amber Matousek went the distance for the Blue and White and has now seen action in a team-leading 23.1 innings of work.
The Wildcats return to action Friday in the Paradise Classic for a doubleheader. The Blue and White will take on Long Beach State and then face Central Florida in the second game. Complete coverage of the Wildcats can be found at www.ukathletics.com.