ANN ARBOR Mich. — No. 21 Kentucky got two-run homers from junior Brittany Cervantes and senior Megan Yocke and rode the right arm of junior ace Chanda Bell (14-6) to a run-rule 8-0 shutout Friday over No. 20 Notre Dame in their opening game of the NCAA softball tournament.
Kentucky (37-14) advances to the winner's portion of the Ann Arbor Regional at noon Saturday on ESPN. UK will take on Michigan, which defeated Western Michigan 5-0 Friday.
"I'm shocked, actually," UK Coach Rachel Lawson said of the five-inning victory. "I think Notre Dame is a tremendous team and they have great pitching, great coaching and they have a great offense. ... I expect them to have a different outing tomorrow.
"I just think we were excited to finally get out of SEC play and play another team."
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The Irish managed just two hits and four total base runners in the contest as Bell tossed her seventh shutout of the season.
Yocke went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI on her 11th homer of the season. Cervantes matched the UK program record with her 35th career homer in the third inning. She leads the team with 15 homers on the season.
Adding to the Wildcats' 11-hit onslaught, Samantha DeMartine was 2-for-3 with a double and a two-run single in the first inning, and Kara Dill was 2-for-3 and scored twice.
"We were just swinging at a certain type of pitch," Lawson said. "We were pretty lucky in that it seemed to be there and our hitters really capitalized on it. I thought they did a good job of attacking the pitch they wanted to hit when it came."
Michigan had nine hits in its victory, with pitcher Jordan Taylor throwing a three-hitter over seven innings with 13 strikeouts against two walks.
Louisville defeated Illinois-Chicago 5-2 in nine innings to advance in its regional.