Cats Fall in Extra Innings to No. 20 Auburn
AUBURN, Ala. – The University of Kentucky softball team battled, but fell to No. 20 Auburn in eight innings by a score of 7-6. This was the first extra inning game for the Cats who fall to 12-9 overall and 0-3 in the Southeastern Conference. Auburn moves to 19-4 on the year and 3-0 in conference play.
The Wildcat bats went to work early in the series finale, batting around and scoring five runs in the top of the first. Brooke Marnitz drew a leadoff walk and went to second on a single by Megan Miller. Meghan Cooper drove in the first run of the game with a double to right center. Ashley Fertic followed with a sharp-hit single to left to bring Miller around to score and put runners at the corners. Fertic stole second and Cooper came home on the throw to put the Cats on top 3-0. Megan Glenn joined in the hit parade with a two-out double to left center to give the Cats a four-run advantage. Glenn would round the bases and score on a single to right and two-base error off the bat of Lori Melchi that put the Cats on top 5-0 after a half inning of play.
This was the fourth time this season that the Cats have scored five or more runs in the first.
Alabama native Lindsay Brogdon got the start in the circle for the Cats and allowed one run in the bottom of the first on a lead-off walk, sacrifice bunt and an RBI double. The sophomore stranded the runner at second after a liner back to the mound and an infield popup to give the Cats a 5-1 lead after one.
The Tigers loaded the bases with no outs in the second off Brogdon, sending UK head coach Eileen Schmidt to the bullpen for Amy Kendall. The senior got a pop-up to third before allowing a run-scoring single to center. Kendall retired the next two batters to leave the bases loaded and end the Tiger rally.
Auburn scored two runs in the third on a two-run homer by Holly Currie to cut the UK lead to 5-4. Jessica Trueblood relieved Kendall with two outs and two on. The freshman got a grounder to first from leadoff hitter Kristina McCain to end the inning.
UK pushed its lead back to two runs in the fourth. Marnitz drew her second leadoff walk and stole second. She went to third on a single by Campbell and scored when Cooper beat out her second infield hit of the game to put the Cats on top 6-4.
The Tigers added a run on two hits in the bottom of the inning, but the Wildcat defense turned its third double play of the series to stop the scoring and hold on to the one-run 6-5 lead.
Auburn knotted the score at 6-6 when it scored a run in the bottom of the fifth on a pair of singles and a throwing error by Ashley Dimkich.
The score remained tied after seven, sending the game into extra innings. The Tigers led off the eight with back-to-back singles, followed by a throwing error by the Wildcat first baseman. Megan Glenn fielded a bunt cleanly, but her throw to first sailed over Dimkich’s reach and into right field as the Tigers scored the go-ahead and winning run to take the finale by a score of 7-6.
Cooper tied a career-high with three hits. The senior third basemen went 3-for-4 with two singles, a double, a run scored and two runs batted in. Marnitz was 0-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored, while Glenn finished 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI.
Trueblood was credited with the loss to move to 4-5 on the year after allowing two earned runs on six hits in 4.1 innings of work. Currie (11-2) got the win for Auburn, giving up six earned runs on eight hits in eight innings of work. She struck out eight on the day.
The Cats return to action Tuesday, Mar. 14, when they face Georgia. The three-game series begins with a doubleheader scheduled to start at 4 p.m. in Athens.