Matousek pitches Cats past in-state foe

By James Pennington

Having won only three of its 22 games within the Southeastern Conference this season, the UK softball team entered its final non-conference test looking for a much-needed win.

The Cats (17-31, 3-19 SEC) benefited from big performances from senior first baseman Ashley Dimkich and sophomore pitcher Amber Matousek, as they earned a 4-2 victory over Eastern Kentucky (25-16) yesterday evening at the UK Softball Complex.

Matousek hurled all seven innings in the contest. She surrendered only two hits and one walk, while striking out five Colonel batters.

“You could tell she was feeling it out there, and I’m really glad that she came through for us,” Dimkich said of Matousek’s performance.

Dimkich was feeling it, too.

The senior was perfect on the day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.

“I was seeing the ball really well today, and I’m glad I could come through for the team,” Dimkich said.

After an uneventful first inning, Dimkich initiated a second-inning spree with a double that rattled off the base of the left field wall. After a sacrifice bunt that advanced Dimkich to third base and a strike out, freshman designated hitter Annie Rowlands grounded a ball to third base and beat the throw to first. Dimkich scored on the infield hit to give the Cats a 1-0 advantage.

The Cats continued their two-out rally with an infield hit by senior right fielder Audrey Meyer, and freshman catcher Megan Yocke lined a single to center field to tally another run for the Cats.

With two runners on and two outs, the Colonels brought in a fresh pitcher, junior Chelsea Butler. The flame-throwing Butler retired the first batter she faced, and the Colonels turned right around and immediately erased the Cats’ lead with a two-run third inning.

Both EKU runs came on a two-on, two-out double by freshman Amber Lenz that dropped just under the glove of the sophomore left fielder Destinee Mordecai. Although Lenz was tagged out in an attempt to advance to third, the damage had been done, and the Colonels had drawn even.

In the bottom of the fourth, Cats junior Katie McCarty led off the frame with a line drive double that split the gap in right-center field. McCarty then plated the go-ahead run on a pair of sacrifices: a no-out bunt from Rowlands and a one-out deep fly from Yocke.

“We work on sacrifices every day in practice,” UK head coach Rachel Lawson said. “We’re not a big power-hitting team, so we really have to work hard to play the game right and generate the runs. It’s not horribly exciting, but that’s what we have to do.”

Although Rowlands’ RBI sacrifice fly proved to be the difference in the contest, Dimkich sealed the Cats’ 17th victory of the season with an RBI single in the bottom half of the fifth, and simultaneously bid adieu to a personal 1-for-15 slump.

“I’ve been in a slump lately, so it felt good to bust out of that a bit,” Dimkich said. “It always feels good to get back in the win column.”