Kentucky Coach Rachel Lawson probably won't want to use this relaxation technique again any time soon, but falling behind by seven runs seemed to calm her Cats.
Against archrival Louisville at the UK Softball Complex, No. 16 Kentucky fumbled and bumbled its way through a U of L six-run first inning and struggled again in the second.
"That was a little nerve- wracking for me," Lawson said of the Cards' quick seven-run lead.
But Lawson also saw a change come over Kentucky.
"When the score got out of hand, believe it or not they kind of calmed down a little bit," Lawson said.
Instead of throwing in its blue towel, Kentucky rallied behind reliever Rachel Riley and scored 14 consecutive runs and beat the Cardinals 14-8 Wednesday night.
"It feels awesome," Riley said of besting Louisville, which had topped UK eight straight times coming into the game. "It really does. We've been wanting this forever."
Riley was a big reason for the comeback. The junior from Bowling Green went a perfect 4-for-4 with a home run and three RBI in the victory.
On the mound, she took over with one out in the second and UK trailing 7-0. She scattered three hits the rest of the way and allowed only one more Cardinal run to score when the game was well in hand. She is now 10-4 on the season.
Caralisa Connell (18-7) took the loss for the Cardinals, who fell to 32-14 this season.
"Riley is such a calming factor on our team," Lawson said. "So any time you put Rachel Riley in, our team feels like it can win the game."
Lawson made some wholesale changes after the Cards' big inning. The biggest was moving starting catcher Megan Yocke to shortstop for the first time in her college career.
Yocke replaced sophomore Kara Dill, who admittedly struggled in the field in the opening innings.
But Dill made up for her defensive miscues by getting three hits in four at-bats and driving in three runs with her triple in the eight-run third inning.
"All I could do was go up there and help the team in another way," said Dill, who extended her team-best hitting streak to 12 games.
"It was a relief," she said of her arrival at third base with the triple and a glance at the scoreboard, which showed a 7-7 tie.
It must have felt even better for Dill when she crossed home plate as the go-ahead run on Megan Aull's single to right.
Freshman Aubrey Lamar hit her first home run of the season to account for two runs in the four-run sixth for UK.
The big comeback — the Cats' largest of the season — didn't seem to surprise the coach or her players, who have won after facing deficits eight times this season.
"We've come from behind several times and it helped coming into this game knowing that we could do it, that we could come back from a large deficit," Riley said.
But doing it against your in-state rival whom your seniors had never beaten before made it a little extra special, Lawson admitted.
"It's a big monkey off our back," Lawson said. "This senior class — they've accomplished so much — and I know this was on their bucket list of things to get done before they graduated."