Matousek goes distance as softball tops Miami

By Bobby Reagan

Five players registered multi-hit performances as the UK softball team used a balanced attack to soar past Miami University (Ohio) 7-3 yesterday at the UK Softball Complex.

With the victory, the Cats, who opened the season with a 2-7 record, have now won 11 of their last 14 games.

“We knew we had to come out here today and get a win under our belt, and we were able to score the runs we needed to,” said sophomore pitcher Amber Matousek. “We basically have a mindset that we have nothing to lose every time we go onto the field and with that we will surprise a lot of people this year.”

The sophomore pitched a complete game, giving up seven hits while striking out five RedHawks. With the win, the Glendale, Ariz., native improved to 6-5 on the year with nine complete games.

The Cats (13-10, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) struck quickly in the first inning. Sophomores Natalie Smith and Molly Johnson were able to get on base, Johnson on a blooper to left field that extended her current hitting streak to 10 games. Freshman catcher Megan Yocke later drove in the two runs on a hard hit ball to center field, giving UK a 2-0 lead.

The RedHawks responded during the top half of the second inning. Miami shortstop Sarah Billstrom led the inning off with a bunt single off of Matousek. After the Cats were able to dispose of the next two batters, second baseman Alexis Javier hit a deep fly ball to right center that scored Billstrom. The run ended Matousek’s scoreless streak at 22.2 innings. With bases loaded and two outs, infielder Meghan Mawn smacked a line drive over an outstretched Katie McCarty, UK’s junior third baseman, to draw Miami even with two runs.

Matousek rebounded and shut the RedHawks down from the third inning on to earn the win. She was able to get out of the inning and calm down the rest of the game thanks in part to her teammates’ encouragement.

“My teammates told me just to bare down and pitch the way I know how to and we’d be fine,” Matousek said.

After battling back and forth through the next two innings, a little luck in the bottom half of the fourth inning helped open up the game for UK, which wore green socks for St. Patrick’s Day.

Leading 4-3, UK freshman infielder Annie Rowlands reached first base after Miami right fielder Kathryn Russette dropped her high fly ball. The error allowed freshman designated player Samantha DeMartine, who started the inning off with a one out walk, to advance to third base.

Rowlands stole second on the next pitch. With runners on second and third, sophomore left fielder Destinee Mordecai cashed in with a two-run line drive to deep right-center that gave the Cats a 6-3 lead.

“The fourth inning was the second time around for the hitters and they were able to adjust to the pitching,” head coach Rachel Lawson said. “We did very well with our situational hitting and finally strung some good hits together.”

The Cats host Minnesota and Drake University in a doubleheader Wednesday at home.