April 13, 2011
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Beautiful weather accompanied a twin bill against No. 18 Kentucky as the Marshall University softball club dropped a pair of games, 9-4 and 10-4 on Wednesday evening at Dot Hicks Field.
The Thundering Herd falls to 15-24 on the season with the losses, Natalee Pulver and Andi Williamson each garnered a loss on the day pitching for MU, dropping them to 7-12 and 5-9 on the year respectively.
No. 18 Kentucky led off the first contest of the doubleheader with a 3-0 lead in the top of the first as a solo-homer from Megan Aull gave the game its first run on the scoreboard. The Wildcats (29-10) plated two additional runs when a single to left by Samantha DeMartine brought around Brittany Cervantes and Rachel Riley scored later on the play via a Herd miscue, unearned.
The Herd rallied in the third bringing home Ashley Gue for its first run, closing the gap at 3-1 heading into the fourth. Gue scored on a defensive play to catch Taylor Thompson stealing at second, but made it safely across the plate before a 2-4-6 putout on Thompson.
Marshall errors in the fourth were costly with Kentucky taking advantage on what would be a third out; the error in the infield allowed two runners to score in the Wildcats’ extended life to stretch a 5-1 lead.
Cervantes then gave UK a leadoff long ball in the fifth, with a home run to the parking lot in right field – adding security to a 6-1 cushion. Cervantes would finish the game 2-for-2 and with a team-best three runs scored.
Jazmine Valle got in on the action in the fifth, scoring on a defensive throw similar to the third inning defensive play between first and second base. Pinch runner Amanda Lara pulled the Wildcat defense to first base as Valle escaped home on the throw to close the Herd deficit to four runs at 6-2.
Marshall chalked up another solo run in the sixth pitting the game at 6-3 after a sacrifice fly by Valle brought home Jessica Hughes, unearned, from third.
Ellen Weaver’s three-run homer in the top of the seventh sealed the fate for the Herd as Kentucky took game one 9-4 and Lauren Cumbess improves to 4-1 on the year with the win in a 5.0 inning, one strikeout performance. Weaver threw 2.0 innings in the ball game while also going 1-for-1 at the plate. Also chipping in at the dish was Aull and Riley who both went 2-for-4.
Pulver took the loss after 0.2 innings in the circle, as the Herd worked through Rachel Rillo (1.2 innings pitched) and continued on to Erika Bennett to close the final 4.2 innings with four strikeouts.
Victoria Marvin was Marshall’s top hitter in the game, going 2-for-3 at the plate with one runs scored.
A pair of errors in the first hurled Marshall into a quick 4-0 deficit as Kentucky plated four on five hits, including a home run from Riley capping the opening frame’s scoring spree.
Marshall cut the lead in half in the bottom of the second in a two-out rally with all hands on board the Herd scored pinch runner Hughes off a RBI-single from Taylor Winton. Melissa Loesing made it a 4-2 ball game as she scampered across home, unearned, on a Wildcat error in the infield.
UK took a 5-2 lead in the third as the scoreboard continued to get action, this time from the bat of DeMartine as her double to left brought around Cervantes.
Continuing to claw back at the Wildcat lead tough, a ground-rule double in bottom of the frame from Melanie Stoehr kept the game at a close 5-3 tally, with pinch runner Morgan Cottrell scoring on the hit.
Stoehr finished the contest with a team best three hits and two RBI.
Flashing up her second home run of the game, Riley hit a long shot to right center in the sixth followed by Emily Jolly scoring unearned during an Aull at-bat to edge a 7-3 UK lead heading into the final stretch of the game.
Kentucky then put the game out of reach with its final home run in the seventh – Cervantes’ long ball to right center scored three, bringing home Megan Yocke and Kara Dill on the shot to give UK a 10-3 advantage.
Marshall would put up one final run in the effort when Stoehr’s RBI single through the right side plated Rebecca Gamby, who had reached on a single to right in the lead off of the seventh. The lone run was not enough as the Herd fell 10-4 and Williamson took the loss in the 6.0 inning, seven-strikeout performance.
Riley collected the win for Kentucky, improving her to 9-4 on the year after the reliever was called in for Weaver who left after two frames.
Up next for the Herd is a trip down to Orlando, Fla., where Marshall will face UCF in a three-game Conference USA series. The doubleheader on Saturday starts at 1 p.m. - Sunday will close out the series with a noon start time.