Softball Splits Twinbill With No. 24 Gators

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The University of Kentucky softball team split a Southeastern Conference doubleheader at No. 24 Florida today, Apr. 22, in Gainesville. Florida won game one by a score of 6-2 and the Cats took the second game by a final score of 3-2. The Wildcats move to 21-27 on the year and 4-19 in the SEC, while the Gators are now 35-19 overall with a 13-10 mark in conference play.

In the opening game, the Gators took an early lead with a run in the bottom of the first. UK starter Jessica Trueblood gave up a leadoff single then walked a batter and hit two Gators to give UF the 1-0 lead.

Florida made it a 3-0 lead with leadoff home runs in the second and third by Brooke Johnson and Kristen Butler, respectively.

The Wildcat defense continued to shine. Ali Ray made a diving catch in right field to end the third inning, while Megan Miller made a running grab to her right in center field for the second out of the fourth. Gina Florence made a diving stop to her right at second base and threw from her back to Megan Glenn at first who stretched her 5-10 frame to snag the high toss and end the Florida fourth inning.

Amy Kendall relieved Trueblood in the fourth and retired the side in order through her first two innings of work.

Kentucky cut the UF lead to a run with a two-out rally in the top of the fifth. Lori Melchi singled through the left side and went to second on a single up the middle by Megan Miller. Both would come around to score on Meghan Cooper's fourth triple of the year to make it a 3-2 Florida lead.

The lead would be short-lived as the Gators plated three runs on three singles in the bottom of the sixth to take a four-run lead.

The Wildcats had not allowed a hit since the leadoff homer in the third before Melissa Zick's single in the seventh. UK outhit the Gators 10-6, but managed just one hit for extra bases with Cooper's triple in the fifth.

Melchi finished 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Miller was also 2-for-4 and scored a run. Campbell finished 2-for-3 at the plate and Cooper drove in two runs with her three-base hit. Cooper is now tied for fourth all-time at Kentucky with 10 career triples.

Trueblood gets the loss to fall to 8-14 on the year after giving up three runs on three hits in 3.0 innings. She struck out two, walked three and hit two batters. Kendall allowed three runs on three hits in three innings.

Stacey Stevens earned the win for Florida to improve to 16-5 on the year after giving up two runs on 10 hits in a complete game outing.

The Wildcats continued to swing the hot bats in the second game, scoring three runs on three hits and a Gator error in the top of the first. Miller reached on a fielder's choice and went to second when Cooper got on base on an error by the UF third baseman. The runners moved to second and third on a passed ball and Miller would score the first Wildcat run on a sacrifice fly by Campbell. Ashley Fertic followed with an RBI double to right to score Cooper and give UK the 2-0 lead. Kentucky made it a three-run lead on a run-scoring double to left by Brooke Marnitz that scored Fertic.

Following a two-hour rain delay, play resumed and the Gators scored two runs in the home half of the fourth on two hits and a walk. Miller erased the would-be tying run when she caught a fly ball of the bat of Kim Waleszonia in center field and threw a strike to the plate where Campbell put the tag on Lindsay Norfleet to end the inning.

Sam Allen retired the side in order in the fifth before Trueblood relieved her in the sixth. Trueblood gave up a leadoff single to Lacy Howard who was thrown out at second when Norfleet reached on a fielder's choice. After a flyout to center by Melissa Zick, pinch runner Shelley Stevens was thrown out by Campbell as she was attempting to steal second.

The score remained 3-2 with Trueblood on the mound in the bottom of the seventh. She struck out the first batter she faced and Stacie Pestrak was called out at first after she attempted to bunt for a single. That brought up leadoff hitter Waleszonia who was hitless in three at-bats. Trueblood made her 0-for-4 as she got a groundball to Glenn at first as the Cats held on for the one-run win.

Miller finished 2-for-3 with two singles and a run scored, while Marnitz was 2-for-3 with a single, a double and an RBI. Campbell added her 40th RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly in the first.

Allen earned the win to improve to 3-2 on the year. The sophomore allowed two runs on three hits and struck out two in 5.0 innings of work, while Trueblood tossed two scoreless innings of relief.

The Cats will attempt to win their second SEC series of the year when the league foes face off in a single game on Sunday. First pitch is set for noon.



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