Riley’s Bases-Clearing Double Propels UK to Series Upset
Kentucky claims series from No. 2 Florida for second consecutive season
GAINESVILLE, Fla. –
Senior Rachel Riley’s bases-clearing double led a four-run sixth inning
to guide the Kentucky softball team to a series-clinching 5-1 victory
at No. 2 Florida on Sunday afternoon. The Wildcats have now captured
series wins over the Gators in each of the past two seasons. The series
loss to the Wildcats is the first of the season for Florida, and the
four-run victory is the largest by a Gator opponent in 2012.
offense came through with the four-spot in the sixth, but again senior
pitcher Chanda Bell proved to be the difference for the Wildcats. She
held the Gators to just one run in 14 innings of work in two victories
in the series. In today’s win she struck out 13 batters, the most
strikeouts she has tossed in a Southeastern Conference series this
With the win the Wildcats improve to 26-27 overall
and 12-13 in SEC action. UK has now secured a spot in the SEC
Tournament for a record-breaking fourth consecutive season. Florida
falls to 43-8 overall and 20-5 in league action.
a bevy of Wildcat hitters who had success against both of Florida’s
pitchers in today’s contest. The senior was 1-for-2 with the three-run
double. She also walked twice. Junior Alice O’Brien went 3-for-3 and
scored twice. Junior Kara Dill logged a 2-for-3 day with an RBI, a run
scored and a walk, while senior Brittany Cervantes went 1-for-3 with a
UK scratched the scoreboard in the top
half of the third to grab the early advantage. O’Brien singled up the
middle with one out to jump-start the inning. She’d shift into scoring
position on a passed ball by the Gators’ catcher. Cervantes then sent a
chopper to first that nicked the first baseman’s glove placing runners
on the corners. Dill delivered an RBI single into center field for the
1-0 Wildcat advantage.
Florida rallied for a score in the
home half of the fifth to even the game at one apiece. The Gators
loaded the bases with a pair of infield singles and a hit batter with
nobody out. A sacrifice fly from Lauren Haeger plated the score. Bell
escaped further damage by picking up her 10th strikeout of the game and
induced an inning-ending pop-up to short.
responded immediately with a four-run sixth inning to recapture the
lead and go ahead 5-1. Sophomore Lauren Cumbess logged a four-pitch
one-out walk to begin the rally. After the second out of the frame,
O’Brien picked up her third hit of the game when she found a gap in
right-center to place runners on the corners. Cervantes then delivered
an RBI single that dipped just over the second baseman’s head for the
inning’s first score. Dill then notched the second walk of the inning
to load the bases to set the stage for Riley. The senior laced a
bases-clearing double along the left field line placing the Gators into
their largest deficit of the season.
After the Wildcats
fell in order in the top half of the first, Florida notched a leadoff
walk. Bell, however, was unfazed and struck out the next three batters
Freshman Griffin Joiner sliced a bloop single
into shallow right field to begin the second stanza. Sophomore Ginny
Carroll was able to execute a sacrifice bunt to shift the runner into
scoring position, but consecutive groundouts to short ended the threat
for the visitors.
Florida opened the bottom of the second
by notching a leadoff double and then a left field single to threaten
early. Bell again came up with clutch pitching and struck out the next
threat batters she faced to escape the jam unscathed.
the third consecutive inning the Gators placed the lead runner aboard
thanks to an infield bunt single. However, UK responded in similar
fashion by recording outs in the next three at-bats to quell the threat.
Emily Jolly singled into left to leadoff the fourth and Cumbess shifted
the runner into scoring position with another well-executed sacrifice.
Following a strikeout, O’Brien notched her second hit up the middle of
the afternoon to place runners on the corners. The inning would end
with a groundout to second without the Wildcats converting to add to
After yielding a one-out double, Bell struck out
the final two batters in the fourth. It marked the third time in four
innings Bell had logged all three outs by way of a strikeout.
drove a ball into shallow left field to begin the fifth and Riley
earned her second walk of the game. UK would suffer a double-play and a
foul-out to end the inning without rallying for a score.
the bottom of the sixth the Gators were able to produce a two-out
single into left center, but Bell wasted little time escaping the frame
by notching her 12th strikeout of the contest.
completed the win with three straight outs in the home half of the
seventh. She notched a pair of fly-outs and her 13th strikeout of the
game in the winning effort.
Kentucky will return to action
with a three-game series to complete its regular season at home next
weekend. UK welcomes LSU to Lexington beginning with a 6 p.m. ET first
pitch on Friday, May 4