Razorbacks mercy rule Kentucky softball

mmaloney@herald-leader.comApril 20, 2014 


    Arkansas . . . . . .310 004—8 8 1
    Kentucky . . . . . .000 000—0 3 0

    Moll and Gee; Smith, Prince (4) and Joiner. W—Moll (10-5). L—Smith (2-2). 2B—Fagan 2 (A). HR—Oprzedek (A).
    Records: Arkansas 26-22 (4-14 SEC), Kentucky 38-9 (12-6).


    Kentucky at Western Kentucky

    When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

All the Easter Bunny left Kentucky's softball team Sunday was its first run-rule loss of the season.

Arkansas pounded the eighth-ranked Wildcats 8-0 in six innings at John Cropp Stadium.

UK (38-9, 12-6 Southeastern Conference), which won the three-game series, had a nine-game winning streak snapped.

Kasey Fagan, batting in the six hole, paced Arkansas (26-22, 4-14) with a pair of three-run doubles.

Right-hander Grace Moll took care of the rest, holding UK to three singles. Moll (10-5) struck out five and did not walk a batter.

"We didn't do a very good job of adjusting to the pitcher or the umpire," UK Coach Rachel Lawson said. "She threw a lot of drop balls. ... She's a really good pitcher, and the umpire seemed to appreciate that zone, so I just felt like we were a little tentative.

"We were on our heels a little bit and we let her get ahead in the count. We didn't go deep in very many counts, either, so I didn't think we did a very good job of adjusting."

Griffin Joiner, Lauren Cumbess and Christian Stokes had UK's hits.

Arkansas, which came into the weekend with the fourth-highest scoring team in the nation at 7.2 runs a game, wasted no time taking control.

UK freshman Shannon Smith walked the first batter she faced and, one out later, hit a batter and issued another walk to load the bases. Smith struck out Jennifer Rambo, but Fagan then ripped a bases-clearing double to left-center.

No. 9 batter Chloe Oprzedek, who would finish with three of the Razorbacks' eight hits, led off the second inning with a home run down the right-field line.

Smith (2-2) gave up the four runs on four hits over three-plus innings, walking six and plunking two batters.

Lawson turned to another freshman in relief, Meagan Prince. She escaped a two-on, no-out jam by inducing a double play and a groundout.

"Because we've already won the series, I wanted to make sure that our freshmen got a lot of experience today on the mound," Lawson said. "And they had some great pitches. They did some good things today.

"They needed to learn how to adjust. Arkansas (is) a great hitting team, and their hitters are all really far back in the box. So I thought it was great experience for them in the postseason."

Prince made it to the sixth before running into trouble.

Oprzedek led off with her third hit and eventually scored on Clarisa Navarro's infield single.

The Razorbacks loaded the bases again for Fagan, who ripped a carbon copy of her first-inning double to make it 8-0.

Moll closed the door on the Cats, who finished 3-for-21 at the plate.

"I'm not at all happy with the offense," Lawson said. "Because everybody who was in the offense was an everyday hitter. ... I think that we need to do a better job of adjusting. We need to do a better job of putting balls in play hard. We didn't do a good job of that."

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.

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