Cats Softball drops series to Vols in Knoxville



Success from last week’s road trip to Auburn didn’t translate for the UK Softball Cats (16-19, 3-6 SEC) in Knoxville, Tenn. over the weekend.

Their attempted bid for an upset over the No. 10 Lady Vols (27-8, 9-5 SEC) began on Friday with a 5-3 win in the first game of the series behind the arm of sophomore pitcher Ellen Weaver.

In her first conference start of the season, Weaver went five innings, allowing six hits and all three of the Vols’ runs.

The Cats’ bats supported her effort in the top of the third when they plated three runs.

Sophomore Ginny Carroll opened the inning with a double off the glove of Tennessee’s third baseman. Junior Kara Dill’s 3-4 night began after Carroll with an RBI single that scored the sophomore to plate the Cats’ first run to tie the game.

UK’s hit parade continued with seniors Brittany Cervantes and Rachel Riley picking up their third and fourth hit. In the midst of those hits, Cervantes scored Dill and Cervantes made it across home on a misplayed grounder by UT’s pitcher for a 3-1 lead.

Carroll’s second hit was a team- leading fifth home run over the left field fence in the top of the sixth inning.

Run production came to a head for the Cats in the seventh when back-to-back singles by Ellen Weaver, and sophomore Krystal Smith scored Rachel Riley to give UK a 5-3 lead and eventual win.

A three-hour rain delay Saturday played no role in Tennessee’s offensive explosion that left UK appearing to be anywhere but in Knoxville.

Coming out of the gates, Cervantes struck with a single in the first. She then moved to second on a routine grounder, but came up short of home plate following a single by Griffin Joiner when the Lady Vols’ left fielder caught her at home.

Tennessee scored three runs in the home half of the first and five in the second for an 8-0 lead that became the game’s final score.

Sophomore Lauren Cumbess started a Cats’ rally in the top of the fifth with a single to right field, but once aboard the rest of the Cats couldn’t move her on around the base pad which ended all hopes of a comeback.

Sunday’s series finale went down to the wire with the Vols requiring late-inning heroics for a 4-2 victory.

The game’s action picked up in the top of the third with the first run being score on an RBI double by Dill to put UK ahead 1-0.

Tennessee responded with a two-out solo home run in the bottom of the inning to tie the game.

The Lady Vols acquired the lead in the top of the fifth with a runner making the break for home after the Cats took the fielder’s choice to first. The bases were then loaded for senior pitcher Chanda Bell who struckout the pinch hitter to escape the inning with only a one-run deficit.

In desperate need of a run to extend the game in the top of the seventh, the Cats rallied with a series of hits.

Lauren Cumbess opened with a single up the middle. Sophomore Emily Gaines followed her with a sacrifice bunt that moved the redshirt freshman pinch runner Sarah Frazer into scoring position. Frazer made her way to third on a groundout and tied the game 2-2 on a wild pitch by the Lady Vols.

With more rain moving into the area as the bottom of the inning began, the Lady Vols got one-runner on base and then they connected on a pitch that the batter sent out of the park for a walk-off homer for the series win.

UK head coach Rachel Lawson and the Cats return to action with another meeting with No. 11 Louisville Wednesday in Louisville, Ky. at 6:00 p.m. EST. Leading up to the big battle on the hardwood, the Cardinals defeated the Cats 1-0 in Lexington last week.