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    SEC Softball Today: March 4

    softBALL RESULTS
    Tennessee 8, Murray State 0
    Tennessee 6, Middle Tennessee State 3
    Kentucky 9, Nicholls State 1
    Penn State 2, Auburn 1
    Georgia 2, Mercer 1
    Florida 4, Campbell 0
    Alabama 4, UAB 1
    South Carolina 3, UC Davis 2
    Oklahoma State 1, LSU 0
    Ole Miss 5, Belmont 0
    Arkansas 3, IUPUI 1
    Arkansas 6, Butler 5
    Mississippi State 11, Samford 5

    Ivy Renfroe Hurls Fourth Career No-Hitter in 8-0 Win Over Murray State

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On a blustery and cold Sunday afternoon in Tennessee Classic action at the Lee Softball Stadium, junior pitcher Ivy Renfroe tossed her fourth career no-hitter as the #8 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (13-3) rolled past Murray State, 8-0 (5 inn.).

    The Jackson, Tenn., native struck out seven and walked just one over her five innings of effort in improving to 4-3 overall.  The 6-0 right-hander has now gone 15 consecutive frames without allowing a run, dating back to UT’s loss to Winthrop on Feb. 24, in Clearwater, Fla.

    At the plate senior right fielder Shelby Burchell continued her torrid weekend hitting pace, putting up a perfect 2-for-2 effort with a walk and a pair of RBIs to improve her Tennessee Classic average to a staggering .857 (6-for-7).  Junior third baseman Raven Chavanne posted a 2-for-3 effort with a run scored, sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and her 17th RBI of the season and junior first baseman Melissa Brown was 1-for-3 with a pair of runs and a RBI.  Freshman catcher Hannah Akamine (0-for-1) and sophomore left fielder Melissa Davin (0-for-2) were each credited with an RBI in the run-rule triumph.

    Following a one-two-three inning for the Racers in the top of the first, a pair of walks issued to junior designated player Kat Dotson and junior second baseman Lauren Gibson as well as a single through the infield by Shipman packed the bags and set in motion a big first frame for the Lady Vols.  A RBI fielder’s choice to second off the bat of Brown brought home UT’s initial tally.  After a walk issued to Burchell re-loaded the bases, one of Murray State starter Chelsey Sullivan’s five first-inning illegal pitches forced in a tally for a 2-0 Tennessee lead.  Akamine stepped into the batter’s box and was immediately struck by Sullivan’s first pitch as Shipman trotted home to make it 3-0.  With sophomore center fielder Tory Lewis at the plate, the final illegal offering of the opening inning scored Brown as UT’s advantage expanded to four tallies.

    The Tennessee lead continued to grow during the bottom of the second as the Big Orange put up four more scores to make it a commanding 8-0.  Consecutive walks by Chavanne and Dotson were followed by a RBI single from Shipman as UT registered its fifth run on the scoreboard.  A two-RBI base knock off the bat of Burchell and a RBI groundout from Davin finalized the Lady Vol scoring at 8-0 before the Big Orange began substituting freely.

    After retiring the first eight Racer batters she faced, Renfroe finally allowed her only Murray State base runner of the match-up with two outs in the top of the third as second baseman Christian Cox drew a walk.  Following a passed ball that moved the MSU occupant into scoring position, left fielder Megan Glosser chopped a tough bouncer to short that Shipman moved quickly to her left to corral before firing an inning-ending strike to first.

    The Lady Vols had opportunities to add to their lead during the third and fourth frames, but left a total of five runners stranded, including a trio on a bases loaded situation in the fourth.

    It didn’t really matter, however, as Renfroe was holding the Racer offense at bay.  She retired the last seven she faced over the final three innings and recorded a pair of K’s during the fourth to complete her dominant, no-hit performance.

    #8 Tennessee Completes Unbeaten Weekend with 6-3 Win Over MTSU
     
    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The #8 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (14-3) wrapped up its perfect weekend at the Tennessee Classic on Sunday night by holding off a tough challenge from in-state foe Middle Tennessee in registering a 6-3 triumph.

    During the weekend the Big Orange outscored its four opponents by a 29-3 total, out-hit them by a .340-.116 clip and its pitching staff recorded a miniscule 0.56 ERA with 35 strikeouts over 25.0 innings.

    Against the Blue Raiders junior third baseman Raven Chavanne helped guide the offense from her lead-off position by going 2-for-4 at the dish with her first triple of 2012 and a pair of RBIs.  Junior designated player Kat Dotson knocked in a pair of tallies as part of a 1-for-2 effort, while sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman was 1-for-3 with a RBI double.

    Lady Vol sophomore starter Ellen Renfroe improved to a perfect 10-0 in the circle, permitting two unearned runs on seven hits with a walk and five strikeouts over 4.2 innings of effort.  Junior Ivy Renfroe fired 2.1 scoreless innings of relief in earning her first save of the season, allowing just one hit while striking out five.

    “Middle Tennessee came here to beat us, and they put up a solid fight tonight,” Tennessee Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said.  “I think with the number of games we had this weekend, and MTSU too, with tornado warnings on Friday and snow flurries today, everyone was tired, and they jumped on us.  We were able to hold them off and score an extra couple of runs to win.  My hats off to them, I thought they played really well against us.  I was really proud of our kids.  MTSU made a run at us, and we fought them off.”

    A two-out rally in the bottom of the first provided Tennessee with a quick 1-0 advantage.  Following a free pass issued by Middle Tennessee hurler Caty Jutson to junior second baseman Lauren Gibson, UT’s Shipman rocketed a RBI double off the wall to plate her teammate all the way from first.

    A walk by senior right fielder Shelby Burchell, who hit a staggering .667 (6-for-9) during the event, and a single through the infield from freshman first baseman Cheyanne Tarango got another Big Orange scoring outburst christened in the bottom of the second.  Two quick outs threatened to de-rail the assault with no damage done, but Chavanne delivered a towering, two-RBI triple off the top of the outfield fencing to make it 3-0.  Dotson followed immediately with a bloop hit into the outfield as Chavanne trotted home from 60 feet away for a four-run advantage.

    A lead-off walk issued to Middle Tennessee catcher Natalie Ysais starting the top of the fourth and a fielding error on the Lady Vol infield soon came back to haunt Tennessee.  Left fielder Nina Dever stepped into the batter’s box and blasted a three-run shot just over the wall in right center, cutting the Blue Raider deficit to 4-3.  Back-to-back singles from center fielder Nina Davenport and second baseman Kayla Toney kept the assault going, but Renfroe handled a high chopper back to the circle from shortstop Samantha Nieves to get the Big Orange out of the frame with no further damage.

    Sophomore center fielder Tory Lewis drew an important free pass starting the bottom of the fourth, moved to second on a Dotson walk and later to third on a Gibson fielder’s choice.  The Chattanooga, Tenn., native soon cashed in her run on a swipe of home, her third stolen base of the season, to grant the Lady Vols a little breathing space at 5-3.

    A two-out single from Blue Raider designated player Chelsea Good in the top of the fifth ended Ellen Renfroe’s stint in the circle as her sister Ivy entered in relief.  The Jackson, Tenn., native performed her job perfectly, inducing a groundout to short to end the inning.
     
    Bidding for some more insurance in the bottom of the sixth, Tennessee junior pinch hitter Whitney Hammond got things started with a lead-off infield hit.  With one retired in the frame, Chavanne beat out a base knock that threatened to escape through the infield and quickly swiped a bag to put a pair of Lady Vols in scoring position.  Dotson blasted a towering shot into the outfield that proved plenty deep enough to plate Hammond from third via sac fly with UT’s sixth and final tally.

    With Middle Tennessee down to its final chance in the top of the seventh, the Blue Raiders suffered a pair of strikeouts before managing to get a base runner on via a two-out fielding error on the Lady Vol infield.  Ivy Renfroe refused to let the miscue affect her in any way, however, responding immediately with a K of right fielder Kelsey Woodruff to complete striking out the side and finish off the victory.



    Wildcats Down Nicholls State 9-1 as UK Tallies 10 HIts

    LAFAYETTE, La.– Eight different Kentucky batters registered at least one hit as the Blue and White rolled to a 9-1 victory in five innings of play over Nicholls State in the final game of the Ragin’ Cajun Invitational. Junior Kara Dill extended her career-long hitting streak to 15 games and scored a pair of runs, while senior Brittany Cervantes tallied two runs and drove in the game-winning scores in the fifth frame.

    With the win, Kentucky improves to 10-8 on the season with senior Chanda Bell earning her second win of the weekend to move to 5-1 on the season. Nicholls State drops to 4-15 on the year.

    Nicholls State wasted little time in jumping out in front of the Wildcats for their only score of the game. The Colonels got the leadoff runner aboard thanks to a walk. She’d shift to second on a stolen base and move on to third with a grounder back to Bell. A single into the left-center gap plated the run to give the designated visitor’s a 1-0 edge.

    Kentucky responded to the deficit immediately with two runs of its own in the home half of the first. Dill opened the frame with a single through the right side. It marked a hit in 15 straight games for the junior which eclipses her previous career-high of 14 games she set last season. Cervantes reached on a sac bunt thanks to an error by the Colonels. A terrific diving snag and pitch to first earned the first out of the inning, but the runners shifted into scoring position.

    Senior Rachel Riley loaded the bases when she was hit by a pitch. Following the second out of the inning, sophomore Lauren Cumbess put together a terrific at-bat which resulted in her driving a full-count pitch into left field to score the frame’s first run. Sophomore Ginny Carroll then brought in the second run with a chopper to short and was able to beat out the play at first for the 2-0 edge.

    UK missed out on a chance in the second when sophomore Krystal Smith opened the frame with a double along the left field line. Kentucky would end up stranding two runners on base without pushing across a run in its only inning without a score.

    The Colonels picked up a two-out blooper single up the middle in the third, but would do nothing with the momentum as Cervantes corralled the final out with ease.

    With two outs in the third, Cumbess roped a double into left-center. Sophomore Emily Gaines responded with an RBI double of her own lacing the right field line to bring in Cumbess and lift UK to a 3-1 advantage.

    Following a leadoff single in the top half of the fourth, Bell quickly dispersed of the Colonels behind a groundout and consecutive strikeouts.

    Kentucky struck for four runs in the home half of the fourth to extend its lead to 6-1. Sophomore Emily Jolly opened the stanza with a single into center field. Cervantes drew a one-out walk to place two aboard. Freshman Griffin Joiner was then struck with a pitch to load the bases. Riley roped a single over the third baseman’s head to plate Jolly and Cervantes for the frame’s first two scores. Junior Alice O’Brien then launched a sacrifice fly for the frame’s final tally and the five-run advantage.

    Kentucky’s final three runs of the game came in the home half of the fifth. Gaines posted her second hit of the inning and Smith earned a walk to place the first two runners on the base paths. Following a groundout that shifted the runners into scoring position, UK’s aggressive base running helped the Wildcats plate the first run. Dill sent a chopper to second base and the Colonel fielder mishandled the ball trying to get Gaines going home. Dill reached during the play and promptly moved to second on a stolen base. Cervantes then delivered the game-ending two-run single through the right side to make the final 9-1 margin.

    After an 18-game start to the season on the road the Wildcats will open its 2012 season at the UK Softball Complex with a three-game set against No. 2/1 Alabama beginning Friday, March 9 at 6 p.m. ET.



    No. 19/17 Auburn Softball Drops 2-1 Game To Penn State In Nine Innings


    Kissimmee, Fla. –  Penn State scored the game-winning run on an error in the top of the ninth to claim a 2-1 victory over No. 19/17 Auburn softball Sunday afternoon in the Tigers’ last game of the Citrus Classic.
                   
    Auburn falls to 16-3 with the loss, while Penn State improved to 6-7.
                   
    “This was a disappointing loss,” Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. “We left 12 runners on base and that will get you beat every time.”
                   
    Lauren Schmalz took the loss in relief to fall to 5-2. Schmalz allowed one run, unearned, on three hits with one walk and eight strikeouts in four innings of work. Jenee Loree started but did not earn a decision. Loree threw five innings, allowing one run, earned, on two hits with three walks, eight strikeouts and two hit batters.
                   
    Lisa Akamine earned the win to improve to 4-4. Akamine threw a complete game, allowing one run, earned, on five hits with eight walks and six strikeouts.
                   
    Penn State jumped on top in the top of the first inning when Lauren Yao delivered a two-out single through the left side that scored Alyssa Sovereign from second. Sovereign reached on a leadoff single and moved to second on a sac bunt. A one-out walk to Kailyn Johnson put runners at second and first, setting up Yao’s RBI single two batters later.
                   
    Amber Harrison tied the game with a two-out, RBI single through the right side in the bottom of the third inning. Lauren Guzman led off with a ground-rule double that could have been a triple had a foul ball from another field not fallen in the field of play.
                   
    After a one-out walk to Caitlin Jordan, Elizabeth Eisterhold reached on a fielder’s choice that moved Guzman to third and forced Jordan out at second. Harrison then delivered the tying single to right, scoring Guzman to make it 1-1.
                   
    Auburn got a one-out double from Guzman in the bottom of the fifth, but Akamine was able to work out of the jam forcing Lathan to pop up and Jordan to ground out to second to end the inning.
                   
    After hitting the leadoff batter, Yao, to open the top of the sixth, Loree was lifted for Schmalz. A sac bunt from Liz Presto moved Yao to second. Ellen McNair then laced a fly ball to left that a diving Baylee Stephens was unable to glove, giving McNair a double. Yao had to hold on the play and only advanced to third.
                   
    Schmalz notched the second out of the inning with a called third strike on Akamine, but a walk to Shannon Hutchinson loaded the bases for Penn State. Schmalz was able to work out of the jam when she got Sovereign on a swinging third strike to end the inning.
                   
    The Tigers got a leadoff walk from Eisterhold to start the bottom of the sixth. Kristyn Richards was put in to run for Eisterhold, but was thrown out at second on an attempted sac bunt by Harrison. After pinch-hitter Hilary Mavromat grounded out, moving Harrison to second, the Nittany Lions ended the inning on a called third strike on Caitlin Schultze.
                   
    In the bottom of the seventh, Melero drew a one-out walk and was followed by Guzman who laced a single through the right side to put runners at second and first. Brooke Lathan grounded into a fielder’s choice, forcing Guzman out at second, but moving Melero to third. The Tigers were unable to push Melero across, however, as Jordan ended the inning on a ground ball fielder’s choice, forcing Lathan out at second.
                   
    In the eighth, Yao was placed at second to open the inning. After a sac bunt moved Yao to third, Ellen McNair reached on an infield single to third putting two on with one out. Schmalz then ended the PSU scoring threat with a pair of strikeouts, both called third strikes.
                   
    In the bottom of the eighth, Maris Medina ran for Jordan at second and moved to third on a sac bunt by Eisterhold. Harrison followed with a foul pop out to the shortstop for the second out of the inning. Mavromat, who stayed in at DP, followed with a walk to put runners on the corners. On a 2-2 pitch, Schultze hit a soft liner to second to end the inning and send the game to the ninth.
                   
    Hutchinson was put at second to open the ninth for Penn State and moved to third on a ground out to Guzman by Akamine. With pinch-hitter Danee Collett at the plate, Eisterhold threw wild to third on a failed pickoff attempt, allowing Hutchinson to score to give PSU a 2-1 lead.
        
    Schultze was placed at second to open the bottom of the ninth. A pop-up on a bunt from Stephens followed by a foul out to catcher from pinch-hitter McKenzie Kilpatrick kept Schultze at second. A wild pitch to Guzman, however, moved Schultze to third. Guzman was then intentionally walked to bring up Lathan who popped up to first base on the first pitch to end the game.



    No. 7 Georgia Closes Weekend With Win Over Mercer

    ATHENS, Ga. - The No. 7 University of Georgia softball team (18-2) closed out the Bulldog Invitational with a 2-0 win over Mercer (9-10) on Sunday. With the win, the Bulldogs notched a perfect weekend at 5-0.

    Sophomore Morgan Montemayor (8-1) grabbed the win after striking out five and allowing three hits in three innings of work. Senior Erin Arevalo came in to get the save after she struck out four in four innings in the circle. Mercer’s Kerri Nidiffer (3-5) took the loss after giving up four hits, three walks and one strikeout in 5.2 innings.

    Georgia jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second as freshman Anna Swafford moved around the bases with a bunt, stolen base and a freshman Niaja Griffin sacrifice bunt. Swafford was then able to score off of junior Tess Sito’s single.

    With two outs in the third, sophomore Tiesha Reed earned a run to put Georgia ahead for good at 2-0. Reed came in to pinch run before making it to third on two putouts. Freshman Gracie Goulder then split the center field gap to get the RBI.

    For the weekend, freshman Paige Wilson led the way with a .571 batting average off of eight hits as she also collected eight RBI. Senior Ashley Pauly followed with six hits and five RBI while going a perfect 3-for-3 on stolen bases.

    In the circle, Montemayor tallied 25 total strikeouts followed by Arevalo’s 14. Sito also grabbed a win after she did not give up an earned run.

    Georgia stays at home for a weekday series with Furman on Wednesday, March 7 at 6:30 p.m. before starting league play at Mississippi State on Friday, March 9.



    Gator Softball Blanks Campbell to Cap Off Undefeated Lipton Invitational

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. - No. 3/4 UF softball used two Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) RBI and a senior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) inside-the-park home run to down the Campbell Fighting Camels, 4-0, in its final contest of Florida's home-hosted Lipton Invitational. Florida went 5-0 in the tournament and 6-0 on the weekend after defeating Eastern Michigan Thursday evening prior to the start of tourney play.

    The Gators improved to 19-1 on the 2012 season with the win over CU, just three days before opening 2012 Southeastern Conference play. Florida head coach Tim Walton improved to 350-81 (.812) all-time at the helm of the Gator softball program with UF's win over Campbell. Walton will lead UF into league action at Mississippi State Wednesday with a mid-week doubleheader March 7, followed by a three-game weekend series at No. 9/8 Tennessee.

    Moultrie and Horton led the Gators throughout the last week of play, Moultrie with 12 hits, a .600 batting clip, two triples, four homers, 10 RBI and 11 runs scored, while Horton finished Florida's last six games 8-for-14 (.571) with a double, four homers - including a grand slam - 14 total RBI, six runs scored and four walks.

    Florida out-scored its opponents 53-1 on 54 hits and rallied for six doubles, two triples and 11 bombs. As a team, UF drew 30 walks, swiped 12-of-13 bags and collaborated for a .386 batting clip.

    For the second time in the Lipton Invitational tournament, Moultrie's power and speed shined with an inside-the-park homer, as the senior sent a ball sky high that dropped in deep right center, allowing her quickness to carry her home. Horton's bat, still hot from a three-homer performance Saturday, got the Gators on the board first with a dart down the third-base line that scored Moultrie. The All-American centerfielder reached base on a two-out bunt single, her specialty, in the first frame, swiped second and scored on Horton's RBI single.

    An Arnn wild pitch in the third inning gave UF its second run of the contest when freshman Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) scored for the Orange and Blue. A speedy S. Fagan led off with a bunt single of her own, while a junior Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) moved her to scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and a Moultrie groundout sent the first-year Gator to third. A hit-by-pitch for freshman Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) with two outs put runners on the corners as the pressure mounted for Campbell's Brittany Arnn, whose ensuing wild pitch sent Haeger to second and Fagan home, allowing UF to take a 2-0 lead.

    Next up, Horton connected for her second hit of the tilt Sunday, a double to left center that knocked in Haeger for the 3-0 advantage. A hitless, scoreless fourth for both squads brought up the fifth, and after the Gators retired the Camels in order, Moultrie struck in the bottom half of the stanza with her leadoff inside-the-parker for the final Gator run of the contest.

    Sophomore Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) worked for UF in the circle, tossing a three-hit shutout, allowing a CU bloop double the very first play of the game, but retired 15 straight until the top of the sixth inning. Rogers finished the afternoon with eight strikeouts in the complete-game effort for her 10th victory of the 2012 season.

    Campbell strung together a two-hit sixth inning late rally, started by a Christina Melton single up the middle, but an eager and aggressive move with one out proved to be costly for the Camels. With Melton's pinch runner Kerstine Womack on first, leadoff batter Sarah Forgacs doubled to left field spurring Womack to scamper home from first, but UF's relay from sophomore Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) in left to classmate Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) at short made it to Horton at home plate in time for the tag on Womack to prevent the run. Forgacs advanced to third on the relay, but Rogers forced a groundout for the third and final out to retire the side and prevent further scoring opportunities.

    Arnn tossed the full 6.0 for the Camels, giving up six Gator hits and all four runs, while walking for and retiring one Gator by strikeouts.

    The Orange and Blue will open up the Southeastern Conference portion of its schedule this week with a Wednesday doubleheader at Mississippi State, followed by a three-game road swing at Tennessee March 9-11 in Knoxville.



    No. 1 Tide Takes Easton Alabama Invite Title

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The top ranked Alabama softball team used timely pitching and clutch hitting to score four unanswered runs to knock off UAB, 4-1, in the finale of the Easton Alabama Invite Sunday afternoon at Rhoads Stadium. With the win the Crimson Tide improve to 17-0, tying the third best start in school history. UA swept through the tournament, going 4-0 on the weekend.

    Sophomore pitcher and tournament MVP Jackie Traina pitched three perfect innings in relief to win her third game of the tournament, improving to 10-0 on the season. The right-hander struck out two and finished the tournament with an unblemished 0.00 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched.

    After UAB pitcher Lannah Campbell mowed down Alabama’s first six batters with strikeouts, her counterpart Lauren Sewell helped her own cause by blasting her first career home run into the Brickyard in centerfield to even the score at one in the bottom of the third inning.

    Sewell, who started the game in the circle, allowed one run on six hits and struck out two in four innings to get the no-decision.

    The Tide took a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning when sophomore Ryan Iamurri blooped a two-out double down the line in left to score sophomore Kaila Hunt from third.

    Alabama expanded the lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning when junior Courtney Conley hit a two-out, two-run, pinch-hit home run. The at-bat was her first since she went 3-for-3 against East Carolina on Feb. 24.

    UA tallied six hits with Iamurri recording two. Mandy Lowman led UAB with two hits. Campbell took the loss after allowing all four runs on six hits while striking out nine.

    On top of Traina earning MVP honors, freshman Danielle Richard, senior Amanda Locke and Iamurri were named to the all-tournament team.

    Alabama will finish off its homestand when it hosts instate foe Samford on Wednesday, March 7. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.



    Three-Run Fourth Leads South Carolina Past UC Davis 3-2
                   
    RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The South Carolina Gamecocks (16-4) rallied in the fourth, posting all three of their runs in the frame to defeat UC Davis (6-14) 3-2 on the final day of the Highlander Classic at Amy S. Harrison Field.

    The fateful fourth started with freshman designated player Lacey Rother’s single to right. Junior Hannah Milks ran for her and promptly stole second to move into scoring position. After a failed bunt attempt recorded the first out, senior first baseman Brossart stepped up and stroked the 1-0 pitch through the middle, sending Milks to the plate where she slid in under a late tag to get the Gamecocks on the board. 

    Junior shortstop Samie Garcia sent the first pitch she saw from Aggie pitcher Justine Vela (4-7) to the gap in left center, scoring senior pinch runner Jackie Slawson from first to tie it at 2-2. Garcia moved to third when the throw home hit the umpire, but she was picked off moments later after some miscommunication by the Gamecocks. Senior centerfielder Lauren Lackey drew a two-out walk, setting up senior Kaitlin Westfall’s eventual game-winning double. Westfall drove the 2-0 pitch into the left-centerfield gap, allowing Lackey to score from first.

    UC Davis got on the board in the second on Kayla Tyler’s leadoff homer. Tyler scored again in the top of the fourth, starting the inning with a double. She moved to third on Heather Zimmerman’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Amy Nunez’s single to center.

    South Carolina redshirt junior Audrey Broyles (4-1) got the victory, going 5.1 innings and giving up two earned runs on three hits and two walks. She struck out one. Vela took the loss, allowing three earned runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out six. Gamecock freshman Katelynn Howser picked up her third save of the year, fanning one and giving up two hits in 1.2 innings of relief.

    Garcia led the way for the Gamecocks, going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. She extended her hitting streak to 19 games with a hit in the first. Lackey, sophomore second baseman Dana Hathorn and Rother joined Brossart and Westfall with one-hit days. Tyler and Nunez both went 2-for-3 for the Aggies.

    The Gamecocks improve to 16-4 on the season, their best start since 2007, when the squad went 24-3 to begin the year. South Carolina won its four games in California, the program’s first trip to the Golden State since the 1999 NCAA Regionals in Fresno, Calif.

    The Garnet and Black take on Coastal Carolina in a doubleheader on Wed., March 7, with first pitch slated for 3 p.m. at the CCU Softball Field.



    LSU Falls in Extra Innings at No. 23 Oklahoma State

    STILLWATER, Okla. – The LSU softball team committed a season-high four errors as No. 23 Oklahoma State claimed a 1-0 victory in 10 innings Sunday at Cowgirl Stadium on the OSU campus.

    It marked the Tigers fourth straight contest versus a 2011 Women’s College World Series participant.

    Ashley Langoni collected three of LSU’s (10-7) six hits. The three hits for Langoni matched a career-high. She was inches away from a solo home run with one out during the eighth inning. The towering shot ricocheted off the top of the left field wall.

    Ashley Applegate also drove a ball to the warning track of right field with two outs in the seventh inning. For the game, the Tigers equaled a season’s best with 11 runners left on-base. 

    Rachele Fico was handed the hard-luck loss to drop to 5-3 on the season. She was touched up for an unearned run and registered seven strikeouts against one walk.

    “We’re lucky to have a pitcher like Rachele because she keeps us in every ball game and competes at the highest level every time she takes the mound,” head coach Beth Torina said. “Defensively, we’ll get the players more reps and get better. We have a very experienced second baseman in Allison Falcon that wasn’t with us this weekend. There’s no doubt she would have improved our defense. It’s no excuse for poor performance because we have players who are capable of doing much better. We have talented players, and we have to get them to perform.”

    The Cowgirls (8-9) strung together consecutive singles from Chelsea Garcia and Shelby Davis to open the 10th inning. After a Tarah Ettinger sacrifice bunt advanced the runners into scoring position, Hannah Bowen knocked a ground ball to second baseman Rikki Alcaraz, who committed a fielding error which allowed Garcia to cross the plate for the game’s only run.

    Fico pitched her way out of bases loaded jams during the eighth and ninth innings, respectively. She got Ettinger to foul out to left field followed by a timely strikeout of Julie Ward, the Cowgirls clean-up hitter.

    LSU’s best opportunity to score came in the second inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, A.J. Andrews smacked a fly ball to left centerfield, but OSU centerfielder Kelsey Anchors laid out for the diving catch to keep the game scoreless.

    The Tigers return to action for their first road mid-week tilt of the 2012 season Wednesday against Nicholls State. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. from the Colonel Softball Complex.

    “We definitely need to get back on the positive side,” Torina said. “It will be a good opportunity on Wednesday to go out and compete. We’re looking forward to it.”



    Ole Miss Blanks Belmont Behind Career Day From Bruning

    OXFORD, Miss. - Senior Kendall Bruning struck out a career-high 12 batters and tossed a complete-game shutout as Ole Miss blanked Belmont 5-0 on the final day of the Red and Blue Classic on Sunday.

    Bruning (7-2) allowed just two hits over 7.0 scoreless innings for her sixth complete game of the season. She retired 9-of-11 batters at one point and issued just two walk. Bruning posted a 3-0 record on weekend at the Red and Blue Classic with 26 strikeouts in 21 innings pitched.

    Ole Miss (8-6) grabbed an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first after Cali Overbeck was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Belmont starting pitcher Becca Gift uncorked a wild pitch that allowed RT Cantillo to score from thrid.

    Designated player Erinn Jayjohn added to the Rebel lead in the fourth with a two-run single down the right field line that plated Overbeck and Cantillo, who had both singled ealier in the frame.

    The Rebels tacked on another run in the fifth on an RBI single from Cantillo, who finished the game 2-for-3 at the plate with two singles, two runs scored and an RBI. Jayjohn went 1-for-2 with a walk, a single and two RBI, while leadoff hitter Corrine Doornberg collected two singles and two runs scored.

    Ole Miss will travel to Conway, Ark. on Tuesday for a non-conference matchup versus Central Arkansas at 5 p.m. The Rebels open SEC play at Arkansas on Wednesday with a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m. before traveling to Palo Alto, Calif. for a three-day tournament at Stanford beginning on Friday.



    Woo Pig Classic Champions
               
    FAYETTEVILLE- The University of Arkansas softball team wrapped up play in the Woo Pig Classic on Sunday with a pair of wins over IUPUI and an extra inning victory over Butler. This improves the Razorbacks overall record to 16-2 on the season and 8-0 at home.
               
    Arkansas opened its second day of play in the Woo Pig Classic grabbing a 3-1 victory over IUPUI. The Razorbacks and Jaguars went scoreless until the bottom of the fourth when sophomore, Amanda Geile opened the inning with a homerun, her fourth of the season. Sophomore, Chloe Oprzedek followed Geile’s homerun with one of her own, her third on the weekend.
               
    Sophomore Clarisa Navarro decided to add to homerun festivities when she blasted a solo homerun in the bottom of the fifth, giving Arkansas the 3-0 lead.
               
    “We only had three hits this game, but they were three bombs,” said Head Coach Mike Larabee. “It’s not always about how many hits you get, it is about getting those timely hits that can win the game.”
               
    The Jags responded with one run in the top of the seventh, but could not bring in enough runs, ending the game with a 3-1 score.
               
    Freshman, Kimmy Beasley threw all seven innings, grabbing seven strikeouts and improving her record to 5-0 on the season.
               
    “I thought Kimmy threw a solid game,” said Larabee. “She is improving every game.”
               
    The Championship game was filled with more excitement from the Razorbacks who battled back from being down twice, before holding on for the win. Arkansas struck first when Navarro was brought in off a throwing error to give them the 1-0 lead.
               
    Butler responded in the top of the third hitting two doubles to center field and scoring two runs.
               
    Arkansas answered in the bottom of the sixth with two runs coming from sophomores, Ashley Martindale and Oprzedek to take the 3-2 lead.
               
    Once again the Bulldogs came back and tied the game at three in the top of the seventh.
               
    The Razorbacks had a chance to win in regulation when they loaded the bases off of three walks in the bottom of the seventh. Pitching from Butler held strong, striking out three and taking the game to extra innings.   
               
    In the eighth the international tie break rule came into play placing a free runner on at second. Butler took advantage in the top of the inning when Winters blasted a homerun to left field for two RBI and giving the Bulldogs the 5-3 lead.
              
    With pressure weighing on their shoulders, the Razorbacks answered with a RBI from senior, Tori Mort scoring the free runner on second and bringing the score to 5-4. After a Wallace walk, and an intentional trip to first for Sierra Bronkey the bases were loaded for Geile.
               
    Geile had the game winning double over the center fielders head to win the game, in walk off-fashion.
               
    “The girls will to win is unbelievable,” said Larabee. “They are the cardiac backs and never give up.”
               
    Arkansas is back in action on Wednesday when they open conference play with a doubleheader against Ole Miss at 3/5 p.m.          

    For more information regarding Razorback softball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.



    MSU Softball Rides Longest Winning Streak Since 2009 Thanks to 11-5 Win vs. Samford

    Starkville, Miss. – Sunday was no day of rest for the Mississippi State softball team’s offense, as the Maroon and White cranked out a season-high 16 hits for the second-consecutive day en route to an 11-5 victory against Samford at the MSU Softball Stadium. State (14-5) wrapped up the Bulldog Classic with a perfect 5-0 record on the weekend and is riding its longest winning streak since the 2009 squad won eight in a row over three years ago.

    “We’re extremely pleased with this weekend and excited about starting the second season,” head coach Vann Stuedeman said. “Ultimately, the game has no memory, so it does not matter what has happened behind us. We’ll move forward one moment at a time and one pitch at a time.”

    Junior left fielder Jessica Cooley wrapped up the best week of her career with another stellar day at the dish, finishing 2-for-3 with a career-high tying five RBIs and her first career grand slam. In six games this week, the Birmingham, Ala., native drove in 17 teammates in 19 at-bats, tallied 10 hits, scored eight times and belted five tape-measure shots over the fence.

    Fellow junior Stephanie Becker picked up her seventh win inside the circle, striking out six Samford batters in 4.0 innings of work. Senior left-handed pitcher Lindsey Dunlap relieved her southpaw teammate and notched her first save since 2010, tossing 3.0 innings of hitless ball thanks in part to a season-high seven strikeouts.

    After falling behind 3-0 in the first, the host Bulldogs stormed back with a season-high six first-inning runs. Leadoff hitter Ka’ili Smith started the Bully barrage by depositing a 3-2 offering down the line in left. The flying Hawaiian scored after junior first baseman Shelby Fisher reached on a throwing error by the shortstop. Senior designated player Brittany Bell advanced Fisher to second when she extended her school record of career hit by pitches to 38. Sophomore third baseman Sam Lenahan was able to jump on first when her grounder to third forced Fisher out at third. With Lenahan and Bell aboard, sophomore second baseman Heidi Shape loaded the bases with an infield single to the Samford shortstop.

    That set the stage for Cooley, whose bat exploded through the zone on a 2-2 pitch for her first career grand salami. Now leading 5-3, freshman right fielder Ashley Phillips stepped into the box and singled to right on another 2-2 count. Showing her wheels, the native Mississippian stole her sixth base of the season, putting her in scoring position for center fielder Jessica Offutt. The sophomore ensured MSU would bat around in the first when she doubled to the gap in left, driving in Phillips for a commanding 6-3 lead.

    Following a double and a run scored by Fisher in the second to increase Samford’s deficit to four runs, the visitors barked back with two runs in the top of the fourth. Just like the second frame, Fisher led off the fourth by reaching base. The Arizona native sprinted to second after Bell lined out to shortstop and attempted to double-up Fisher at first, but instead sailed it into the tarp in foul territory. With Fisher on second and MSU leading by a score of 7-5, Lenahan drove her in with a hard and low single to left.

    The Maroon and White plated its final three runs in the fifth inning, which started with singles by Offutt, Smith and Fisher. With the bases juiced, Bell roped her first pitch to right for an RBI single. Offutt scored and Smith was thrown out at home on the play. Lenahan then reached on a fielder’s choice when Fisher was thrown out at third on the force for the second time in the game. Bell and Lenahan took to their next base on a passed ball. The two crossed home thanks to RBI singles by Shape and Cooley, respectively.

    With the first part of the season over with, Starkville’s team will host No. 3/3 Florida for a doubleheader Wednesday at the Dawg Diamond in both school’s Southeastern Conference opener.