Dill, Cervantes help push UK softball over .500

Chanda Bell became the all-time wins leader for UK softball on Saturday when she secured her 55th victory against Radford


By Cody Porter | cporter@kykernel.com

UK softball used the bats of senior Brittany Cervantes, junior Kara Dill and freshman Griffin Joiner to help put the Cats (7-6) over .500 on the season after winning three of its four games in the Georgia Southern Invitational over the weekend.

A game one encounter with North Florida saw the Cats use a five-run second inning to propel to an 8-3 victory.

Senior Rachel Riley scored the first run with a single along the left-field line to bring in Cervantes from second base.

The Cats’ five-run second opened with a single by sophomore Lauren Cumbess. Senior Erika Silence followed Cumbess with a walk. Sophomore Emily Gaines’ single brought in senior pinch runner Macy Allen. Another run followed on a successful suicide-squeeze by Dill. A Griffin Joiner RBI and a series of walks ended the inning to put the Cats ahead for good, 6-0.

Junior Alice O’Brien and Emily Gaines scored the final two runs on errors by North Florida, giving Rachel Riley the win for the Cats.

UK’s momentum continued in game two with Cervantes scoring each of UK’s runs in the 2-1 defeat of Jacksonville St.

Kara Dill’s 3-for-3 effort at the plate extended her hitting streak to eight games, which reached ten games at the end of day two of the tourney.

Dill singled and made her way to second on an error by the Gamecocks. Brittany Cervantes brought her in for the game’s first run when she connected on a double to the gap near center-field.

The Cats struck again when a Cervantes bunt brought in Dill, who had tripled.

Senior Chanda Bell didn’t allow her first hit of the game until the fourth inning. She would go the distance for the Cats and strikeout five batters to tie the UK career wins record.

After replacing sophomore Ellen Weaver in the sixth inning on Saturday against Radford, Bell earned the win, and the all-time wins record (55) for the Cats despite giving up four runs to blow the Cats 5-1 lead they held when entering the inning.

With the game tied, Rachel Riley connected on a double to score Senior Ashleigh Gustafson, sophomore Emily Jolly and Kara Dill to put the Cats up 8-5. A single to right-center by Alice O’Brien brought in Riley for the game’s final run.

The Cats fell short of a weekend sweep, by dropping a 2-1 decision to Georgia Southern in the final game of the tournament.

Trailing 1-0 even without Lauren Cumbess allowing a hit entering the sixth, the Cats staged a rally in the top half of the seventh inning. Emily Jolly reached on a single and then stole second to put a runner in scoring position. A Kara Dill grounder to second moved her to third where she would score on a single by Griffin Joiner.

Cumbess continued her success in the eighth until a Georgia Southern batter hit a single on a 3-2 count that would bring in the runner on second that reached to open the inning.

The Cats stranded 11 base runners against Georgia Southern, including O’Brien in sixth after she reached on a single to start the inning.

UK softball head coach Rachel Lawson will lead her Cats return to action in the Rajin Cajuns’ Invitational at Louisiana-Lafayette that begins on Friday, March 2 against Texas A&M Corpus Christi followed by Stephen F. Austin.