Comeback win over DePaul sparks UK softball in Miami

By Matt Levine

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The finish line is the College World Series championship. The runner is the UK softball team.

Senior outfielder Meagan Aull said as long as the team puts the work in, it is a reachable goal.

“Going to the World Series is our No. 1 goal,” Aull said, “and I truly believe that we can make it there if our team keeps working hard.”

The Cats (4-1) began their race last weekend in the Florida International University Combat Classic tournament in Miami in a positive way by winning four out of five games. The signature win came on Saturday when they defeated the DePaul University in an extra-inning comeback win.

UK head coach Rachel Lawson said it is encouraging to come away from Miami with such a solid record.

“Any time you can come back and you are that many games over .500, it is a good thing,” Lawson said.

Sophomore shortstop Kara Dill said it was great to have such an exceptional performance in Miami, but the team still has room for improvement to reach the ultimate goal.

“It is great to see that, but it is just the beginning and we still have a lot of work to do,” Dill said.

The Cats exemplified this hard-working attitude throughout the comeback against DePaul. They overcame a 3-1 deficit in the bottom of the seventh and final inning to force the game into extra innings, where freshman utility player Emily Jolly delivered with a game-winning double in the top of the eighth.

Aull said the game against DePaul was one of the most thrilling games the Cats have ever been a part of, and that it proved when put in a hole, they know how to dig their way out.

“It just proved that we are a hard-working team and that when we get put in that position again, we know that we can do it,” Aull said.

But not everything was sunny in Miami for UK, as it lost the last game of the tournament to the University of Memphis.

Lawson said she thinks the Cats can learn something from the loss.

“I think what we have to learn from that is that we have to be able to contribute one through nine, and everybody has to pretty much carry their load,” Lawson said. “We were obviously not happy with the loss, but we will just take what we learned from it and move forward, and hopefully we will not have that same bump in the road.”

Even though Lawson has high expectations for every player on the team, she expects more from her leaders.

“We will really be relying heavily on Sam DeMartine, Brittany Cervantes, Meagan Aull and Megan Yocke,” Lawson said.

Although the Cats have a strong team, they will still be tested by their demanding schedule.

Lawson said they have one of the toughest schedules in the Southeastern Conference to start the season, but are not troubled because it will only help them get ready for competitive conference play.

“When you look throughout the SEC, we probably have the toughest schedule during opening weekend, but those were the kind of cards we were dealt,” Lawson said. “We enjoy that because we think it helps prepare us for our grueling SEC schedule.”

Lawson would like to uphold the UK tradition of winning.

“Like everyone else here at Kentucky, we expect to win the SEC championship, go to the NCAA tournament and hopefully the World Series,” Lawson said. “We set our goals pretty lofty, but that is kind of how we do it around here.“