Cats’ homers not enough to beat UCLA

A pair of first time home runs by sophomores Ginny Carroll and Krystal Smith weren’t enough to propel UK head coach Rachel Lawson’s No. 13 softball team past No. 19 UCLA for the first time in their three-game series at the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament in Los Angeles.

The sophomores’ homers came in the top of the second inning, in a response to the three-run first posted by the Bruins. Carroll led off the second with her shot over the wall in left-center field. Krystal Smith followed her up with a blast of her own to left field.

Lawson’s group missed out on several opportunities in the game as they presented themselves. A total of eight runners were left on base for the Cats during the span of Saturday’s game.

Seniors Brittany Cervantes and Rachel Riley, along with sophomore Emily Jolly opened the game with a series of walks for the Cats to load the bases, but the Bruins would prevent any of the aforementioned Cats from stepping on home plate following a pop-up to the shortstop to conclude the top half of the inning.

The top of the fifth would bring similar circumstances after Cervantes reached base thanks to her second walk of the game and a single by junior Kara Dill to the left side of the field. Those runners would advance to scoring position by a Rachel Riley grounder, but consecutive outs would leave the Cats stranded once again.

UCLA used a five hit fifth inning to tack on three runs and jump out to what would be an insurmountable 6-2 lead over UK.

A one-out single followed by a steal of second base by Kara Dill helped give the Cats some hope in the top of the seventh, but she was the eighth runner left on base for the Cats following consecutive outs to send them home from Los Angeles.

The 1-3 Cats will return to action on Friday, Feb. 17 in the Florida Atlantic Tournament in Boca Raton, Fla. In game one they will take on Wright State at 4 p.m. then follow with Florida Atlantic at 6 p.m.