Cards deny Cats bid for record winning streak

Riding a seven-game winning streak, the UK softball team had a chance to make history yesterday when it took on archrival Louisville at the UK Softball Complex.

But the Cardinals (8-8) refused to cooperate, defeating UK 6-1, in part by capitalizing on the Cats mistakes defensively, to deny UK (9-8) from tying a school record eight-game winning streak.

The Cats committed three errors in the second inning, which led to six Cardinal runs, four of which were unearned. The six runs were all the support U of L pitcher Kristen Wadwell needed as she threw a three-hit, one-run complete game.

“When you play a good hitting team like Louisville you can’t make mistakes,” head coach Rachel Lawson said. “Had we not had those three mistakes, we’re looking at a different ballgame. It’s hard to come back.”

UK had a chance to end the second inning with the Cards up by only two runs, but senior first baseman Ashley Dimkich dropped what would have been the third out in foul territory, opening the floodgates for four more Cardinal runs.

U of L center fielder Kristi Cunningham knocked the ensuing pitch over the center field wall to extend the Cards lead.

“We had a couple of mistakes early,” Dimkich said. “We should have finished (the inning) a lot earlier than we did.”

UK chipped away at the Cards lead in the fourth, scoring a run on freshman third baseman Annie Rowlands’ two-out, RBI single. Wadwell threw two wild pitches to advance UK runners but struck out Dimkich with Rowlands on third to end the inning.

After putting on an offensive showcase in the Chattanooga Frost Classic in Chattanooga, Tenn., last weekend, the Cats struggled at the plate yesterday. The inability to produce offensively combined with their defensive lapse in the second inning led to the loss.

“We didn’t do a good job of getting runners on base with one or no outs,” Lawson said. “When we were winning games, we did a good job of getting runners on with one or no outs and taking advantage.”

The Cats hope to rebound this weekend when they host doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday against Longwood and Valparaiso in UK’s third annual Frostbite Classic. Without a lot of time in between games, UK is looking to rebound quickly.

“We’ve just got to shake this game off and focus on the next one,” Dimkich said.