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By: Tyler Spanyer
UK senior pitcher Chanda Bell pitched a no-hitter Sunday, helping the Cats finish off a three-game weekend sweep over the No. 22 LSU Tigers.
“Oh my goodness,” Bell said when asked about her emotion following the final out, which was a strikeout to secure the no-hitter, the UK 1-0 win and the series sweep. This was Bell’s fourth career no-hitter.
The game was another close one as both pitchers went the distance. LSU starting pitcher Rachel Fico got off to a rough start, after allowing a lead-off double to senior Brittany Cervantes, Fico hit the next batter and then walked the following batter to load the bases with no outs. After that she settled down striking out the next two batters and forcing the third to pop-out to center-field.
There was little offensive production until the sixth inning, when the Cats were finally able to scrap together a run. Freshman catcher Griffin Joiner walked and was knocked in by junior outfielders Alice O’Brien with 2 outs.
The one UK run was all Bell would need. Bell took the mound in the seventh ninning and forced the first two batters to ground out before striking out the third to secure the no-hitter. The win clinched the Cats the fifth seed in the SEC tournament next week in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
“Every team in this conference is awesome,” UK head coach Rachel Lawson said. “You have to prepare for every game the same due to the level of competition we will be facing.”
“Perfectly scripted,” Lawson said in characterizing the weekend. “Sweep was great, a first for our program.”
The series win over LSU was the first in program history, and so was the sweep. The Cats will face the Georgia Bulldogs Thursday at 4 p.m. in the first round of the SEC tournament. The game will be nationally televised on ESPNU.