Softball Drops Two at Paradise Classic
HONOLULU, Hawai’i – A combined seven errors in two games proved costly as the University of Kentucky (2-4, 0-0) softball team dropped two games at the Paradise Classic hosted by the University of Hawai’i Friday. UK fell 10-2 to Long Beach State and 7-2 to UCF.
For the second consecutive game the Wildcats struck first with a two-run inning in the top of the second in the first game against Long Beach State. UK’s senior Ashley Dimkich reached on a fielder’s choice and sophomore Destinee Mordecai walked putting runners on second and first. Senior Audrey Meyer capitalized on the situation when she sent a line drive to the fence in right-center field plating her first two RBI of the season with a double giving the Blue and White an early 2-0 lead.
Kentucky’s lead quickly turned into a deficit as Long Beach fired back with four runs in the bottom of the second off of three costly Wildcat errors to take a 4-2 lead. UK had a chance to score runs off of two Long Beach errors in the top of the third as sophomore Molly Johnson and junior Becky Bishop reached the corners when the Beach’s second baseman lost two balls in the sun. However, that’s all the closer they would get as the inning ended on a Wildcat strikeout.
UK generated another scoring opportunity in the top of the fifth when Smith singled up the middle and Johnson followed with a stand-up double down the left field line putting runners in prime scoring position. Bishop then popped up to the first baseman to end the inning.
The 49ers tacked on five more runs in the bottom of the fifth under a steady rain that began to fall. Long Beach generated three hits, two of which were doubles and advanced three more runners on walks to push their lead to 9-2. The 10th run was scored in the bottom of the sixth after a 22 minute rain delay, ending the game with the score at 10-2.
In game two, Kentucky fell behind 6-0 when UCF scored six runs in the top of the third inning. The Golden Knights produced all of their runs on five hits, including a home run and three consecutive Wildcat errors. In the top half of the fifth inning, UCF plated another run after opening the inning with two singles. The run came on a sacrifice fly to center field making the score 7-0.
Kentucky attempted a comeback with three hits in the seventh inning and plating two runs. Dimkich reached on a fielder’s choice and scored from first on a Mordecai double. Meyer tacked her third RBI of the day with a single up the middle capping the score at 7-2. The comeback effort was halted when Smith sent a chopper right at the first baseman who made an easy tag for the final out.
After reaching base in six consecutive games with a double in the first game, Johnson’s streak ended as she went hitless with two plate appearances against the Golden Knights. She did reach base during her second at-bat when she was struck by a pitch. Leading the bats for UK was freshman Megan Yocke who registered two hits on the afternoon including a double.
Bracket play continues Saturday as the teams will be seeded upon conclusion of the final two games Friday evening. Kentucky as the No. 4 seed will face the tournament’s top team at noon Saturday. The four-team tournament will consist of a triple-elimination with each team guaranteed to play two games on Saturday and at least one game on Sunday. Complete coverage of the Wildcats can be found at www.ukathletics.com.