The No. 13 Kentucky softball team lost its season opener at No. 19 UCLA 7-1 Thursday.
From UK Athletics
LOS ANGELES – For the first time in the Rachel Lawson era the Kentucky softball team has begun the season with a loss on the opening day of action. No. 13 Kentucky dropped a 7-1 contest on the home field of No. 19 UCLA on Thursday night at Easton Field. UK opened the season on the road against a ranked foe for the third consecutive season, and this is the first year the Blue and White have not pulled out the victory.
Kentucky (0-1) was led at the plate by senior Rachel Riley who notched a 2-for-2 day with a pair of singles. She also reached base by way of a walk to claim a perfect day at the dish. Fellow senior Brittany Cervantes drove in a run with an RBI single in the fourth frame. The Chatsworth, Calif., native has now notched 126 career RBI and is a mere 12 shy of breaking the career record in the category.
UK will return to action Friday afternoon with a 5 p.m. ET date with Pacific before facing the Bruins for the second time in two days at 9 p.m. ET.
The Wildcats got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth after Riley led off the inning with a single up the middle. Pinch runner Ginny Carroll shifted to third base following two wild pitches by the Bruins’ starting hurler to move into prime scoring position. Cervantes then delivered an RBI single through the left side to bridge the gap for the Blue and White at 3-1 and bring in the first run of the 2012 season.
Riley earned the team’s first base of the year after she drew a two-out walk in the top of the first, but the Wildcats left her stranded.
UCLA began the season by plating a score behind a pair of singles and a UK fielding error to earn the early 1-0 advantage.
After UK dropped in order in the top of the second, the home squad tacked on two more runs behind a two-run double from Samantha Camuso to go ahead 3-0.
Junior Kara Dill earned a base with two outs after being struck with a pitch in the top of the third. Despite a terrific at-bat that included fending off six pitches, sophomore Emily Jolly could not keep the inning alive as the Blue and White stranded its second base runner of the game.
Starting pitcher Ellen Weaver and the Wildcat defense settled in to sit the Bruins down in order in the third. The home team managed just one hit that plucked Weaver on the way up the middle in the fourth, but UK’s lefty followed with the third out of the inning by way of a strikeout to preserve the 3-1 score.
Senior Macy Allen earned a base with one out in the top of the fifth after being plucked with a pitch. The Bruins’ fended off another Wildcat rally with a tremendous defensive play. Dill roped a ball through the four-hole gap, but UCLA’s second baseman made a terrific snag and then tossed the ball to first to complete the double-play.
UCLA extended its lead to 7-1 with four more runs in the home half of the fifth behind four hits.
Riley got her second hit of the game with a single into right field in the sixth, but UK left her stranded to end the UK scoring threat. Allen made a spectacular snare in left field to prevent a home run in the home half of the sixth to lead the defensive effort for the Wildcats.