Softball wins with walk-off

On a cold, rainy day at the UK Softball Complex, the softball team overcame a resilient Tennessee Tech team to win both games of Saturday afternoon’s doubleheader.

The Cats took the first game 9-0 in 5 innings on the strength of a balanced offensive attack. Kara Dill and Brittany Cervantes led UK with a two-run homer and a three-run double, respectively.

Tennessee Tech (16-21) raced out to a 3-1 lead in the second game. UK pitcher Chanda Bell entered the game in the third inning and silenced the Golden Eagles’ offense, giving up one earned run and striking out 16 in seven and two-thirds innings.

“Chanda did an awesome job for us,” UK head coach Rachel Lawson said. “She got hurt earlier in the week, so we didn’t really know how well she was going to be able to pitch. But, she kept us in the game long enough that we could make something happen.”

Rachel Riley homered in the fourth inning to cut the lead to 3-2, followed by a Brittany Cervantes RBI single in the sixth that tied the game. The offenses then sputtered for several innings behind the pitching of Bell and Eagles starter Holly Thomas.

Thomas stifled UK hitters, giving up two earned runs in eight innings. She was then pulled and the Cats’ hitters took advantage. After they stranded two runners in the ninth and another scoreless half-inning from Bell, first baseman Samantha DeMartine stepped to the plate to lead off the bottom of the tenth.

Previously 0-4 in the game, DeMartine was just looking for a way to get on base. But, she did much more, crushing a 2-2 pitch over the center field fence for a game-ending home run.

“It was just seeing a pitch and hitting it,” DeMartine said. “If you do something bad, you just have to process it and let it go. I was just trying to get a hit and luckily it went over the fence.”

The Cats (31-10, 11-6 SEC) extended their non-conference record to 20-4. They return to action Tuesday afternoon at home against Eastern Kentucky University. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.