Bell’s No Hitter Clinches Sweep of No. 22 LSU
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Senior
Chanda Bell threw her fifth-career no hitter on Senior Day, helping
Kentucky clinch the No. 5 seed at the Southeastern Conference
tournament with a 1-0 victory over No. 22 LSU. The win ensured a sweep
of the Tigers for the first time in program history in front of 1,554
raucous fans at the UK Softball Complex.
With the win, UK ups
its record to 29-27 overall including a 15-13 SEC mark. Bell completes
the regular season with 16 wins. The Tigers fall to 34-21 on the season
and stand at 15-13 in the SEC. Kentucky earns the tie-breaker with LSU
for the tournament’s fifth seed after earning the three wins over the
Tigers this weekend.
Kentucky’s top-five finish in league play
is the highest under the direction of Rachel Lawson after previously
finishing sixth in each of the past three seasons. The Wildcats are
slated to take on Georgia, who UK beat twice in the regular season.
Chanda Bell to be able to throw a no hitter on senior day is pretty
special,” Lawson said. “When we woke up, we were just trying to come up
with how we were going to get through Senior Day ceremonies, so for her
to throw a no hitter is pretty special.”
Bell worked all seven
innings and yielded just two walks and struck one batter in the no-hit
bid. For the weekend, she was instrumental in all three victories. She
pitched a 10-strikeout complete game win to open the series and then
earned the save in yesterday’s series-clinching 2-1 victory. Today, she
tossed six strikeouts and earned the first no-hitter of the season and
fifth of her career.
The Wildcats’ Brittany Cervantes went
1-for-2 with a double and a walk to cap off an incredible series at the
dish. The Chatsworth, Calif., native batted a team-high .571 with all
four hits going for extra bases during the series. She also drove in a
team-leading four RBI including three in the win on Friday night.
Griffin Joiner drew a 12-pitch walk with one retired in the bottom of
the sixth inning to get the Wildcats’ rally started. After a Ginny
Carroll groundout that advanced Joiner to second, junior Alice O’Brien
slapped a single through the middle of the infield.
LSU second basemen Allison Falcon made a tremendous diving stop to keep
the ball in the infield, UK third base coach Kristine Himes waved in
Joiner who scored from second. The run was Joiner’s 20th of the season,
and O’Brien’s 14th RBI. The tally would be the only score the Wildcats
would need with Bell dealing a near-flawless game.
the first 12 LSU batters in the game before hitting Falcon to begin the
top of the fifth. Falcon was pinch ran for by Alex Boulet, who was
promptly thrown out trying to steal second by Joiner on the 2-6 putout.
In the top half of the seventh, Cervantes made a spectacular
catch in foul territory, jockeying with the top of the dugout while
reaching over the padding that lines the top of the net and recorded
the opening out of the inning. Falcon hit a ball deep in the hole at
short, which was fielded cleanly by junior Kara Dill who threw onto
sophomore Lauren Cumbess to get the second out of the inning. LSU’s
Ashley Langoni struck out swinging to end the game and clinch the
“They (the senior class) are a special group, and I can’t say enough about how incredible they are as people.” Lawson said.
had a prime scoring opportunity in the home half of the first to kick
off the game. Cervantes led off the inning with a double down the left
field line that was her fourth hit of the series. Dill went to first on
a hit by pitch and both batters advanced to second and third after a
wild pitch by Fico. Fellow senior Rachel Riley then drew a 16-pitch
walk to load the bases with nobody out. Fico would then retire the next
three batters in order to leave all three UK runners on the base paths
and preventing the Wildcats for striking first.