Friday April 1, 2011No. 5 Florida Softball Falls, 10-2, to No. 23 Kentucky in Series Opener
Fifth-ranked Florida fell, 10-2, in six innings to the No. 23 Kentucky Wildcats Friday evening at the UK Softball Complex amidst cold temperatures and a sporadic light drizzle, moving to 30-5 on the season, 7-4 in Southeastern Conference play. Kentucky (23-7, 9-3 SEC) scattered one run in the first and struck with three-run homers in both the third and fourth innings for seven runs before the Gators put up their lone two runs thanks to two solo homers from senior Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) and sophomore Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) in the top of the fifth. Bruder struck with her 10th homer of the season and Schutte with her 11th as Florida narrowed UK’s lead to 7-2, but the Cats strung together a three-run sixth inning to halt any potential comeback, ending the game early at 10-2 in favor of UK.
Gator pitcher Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) started her 18th game for the Orange and Blue, tossing 5.2 innings and allowing 11 Wildcat runs on 10 hits. The freshman righty (16-3) walked three and struck out six in the match-up Friday evening, shouldering just her third loss of the season, while junior Chanda Bell tossed the full 6.0 for UK, allowing just the two Gator runs, while walking one and fanning 11 to improved to 9-4 in 2011.
The Cats struck first at the bottom of the initial inning with a two-out score by Meagan Aull, who reached on a walk and was hit home on a double by Brittany Cervantes that tipped off Paculba’s glove to the center-field fence. Rogers closed out the inning with a strikeout to prevent any further runs, but Kentucky held Florida scoreless through the first four innings to keep adding to the advantage. Florida left two runners on in the first, second and third innings on two hits combined, but succumbed to seven strikeouts alone through the first two stanzas by Bell.
Kentucky added three runs in the bottom of the third with a three-run bomb by Samantha DeMartine over the center-field fence to take the Wildcats up, 4-0, bringing home Megan Yocke and Aull, who reached on a hit-by-pitch and walk, respectively. After allowing just one Florida hit from junior slapper Ashley Snedeker (Bloomington, Minn.) in the top of the fourth, Aull struck again in the bottom of frame, this time in form of a three-run homer to left center to bring home Emily Jolly and Aubrey Lamar, who reached by a double and bunt single, respectively.
The fifth inning brought UF’s two runs, a hard-hit homer to center field on a 3-1 count by Bruder, followed by Schutte’s bomb to right field on a 1-0 count, but another Bell strikeout cut Florida’s rally short.
Kentucky added its final three runs in the bottom of the sixth for the run-rule, started by an Annie Rowlands single through the left side that turned over the UK lineup and set up a Yocke double to left center. Kara Dill continued with a single through the right side and advanced to second on the throw, knocking home both Rowlands and Yocke to take the Wildcats up, 9-2. Dill then advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a DeMartine groundout to second base, bringing home the third run of the inning, 10th in the game for UK, ending the sixth inning with two outs and one UK runner on.
Florida gave way to the run-rule for the first time since the Women’s College World Series last year when UCLA grabbed a 16-3 win in six innings in Oklahoma City, Okla. Ironically, the Gators’ last regular-season run-rule was also against the Bruins at the Stacey Winsberg Memorial Tournament in Los Angeles March 3, 2007, when UCLA defeated UF 10-2 in six innings. UF last dropped four games in a row in a single season to end the 2005 campaign.
The Gators and Wildcats will take to the field for the second game of the series Saturday at 1 p.m. (ET) and the game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports-Florida with the Larry Vettel, Kristina Hilberth and Mary Ratliff. For Gainesville Gator fans, tune into 105 ‘The Game’ on the radio with the call by Adam Schick or follow live stats online via Gametracker.
For complete stats and results following, visit www.GatorZone.com.