Cats’ miscues in the field, woes at the plate lead to loss

By Bobby Reagan

The UK softball team was in desperate need of a win yesterday. After losing four in a row and 16 of their last 18, the Cats were hoping to salvage the final game of a three-game weekend series against Arkansas.

Instead, UK played one of its sloppiest games of the year by committing more errors (six) on the field than hits (two) at the plate. After the second inning, the Cats were hardly in the game as the Razorbacks cruised to a 14-1 victory on a cold, rainy afternoon at the UK Softball Complex.

“The weather was the same for both teams, so we can’t look at that as an excuse,” head coach Rachel Lawson said. “We just made a ton of mistakes that allowed the score to get out of hand early.”

Things looked promising for the Cats (15-27, 3-16 Southeastern Conference) after a first-inning RBI double from sophomore shortstop Molly Johnson, but the 1-0 UK lead was short-lived.

Arkansas (32-18, 5-12 SEC) quickly responded with three runs in the second. After getting its first two batters on base, Arkansas first baseman Samantha Buckner smacked a hard grounder through sophomore second baseman Natalie Smith’s legs and into center field to bring in two runs.

On the very next play, catcher Leslie Dixon hit a sharp line drive to left field, where freshman Annie Rowlands was unable to make a diving catch. Buckner came home on the play to extend the Razorbacks’ lead to 3-1.

The Cats recorded just one hit for the rest of the game off Arkansas pitcher Miranda Dixon and had just four total hits the entire weekend against the sophomore during her two pitching appearances.

The Razorbacks were able to pile on their lead in the third inning, tallying four runs off back-to-back home runs. Third baseman Sandra Smith smashed the front end of the back-to-backs with a three-run homer to deep left field, and shortstop Dayna Huckabee followed on the next pitch with a shot over the center field wall to make it 7-1.

Arkansas added three more runs in the fourth and four runs in the fifth for the final outcome.

UK’s schedule doesn’t get any easier as it heads to Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday to take on top-25 opponent Ohio State for a doubleheader.

“We’ll talk about why we made the mistakes we did today, but then we put that behind us and move forward,” Lawson said. “With our schedule we can’t live in the past for long.”