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    SEC Softball Today: March 11

    softBALL RESULTS
    Florida 1, Tennessee 0
    Alabama 12, Kentucky 2
    Georgia 5, Mississippi State 0
    South Carolina 8, Arkansas 7
    Ole Miss 3, James Madison 2
    Auburn 8, Presbyterian 0

    Moultrie Solo Shot Leads No. 3/4 Gator Softball to 1-0 Victory over No. 9 Tennessee as Florida Takes Series

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – A senior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) solo shot to straight-away center in the third inning would be the only run the No. 3/4 Gators would need Sunday afternoon to top the No. 9 Tennessee Lady Vols, 1-0, in Knoxville to take the series in front of a crowd of 1,713, UT’s third-consecutive sellout at Lee Stadium. After falling by the same 1-0 score Friday in the series opener, Florida returned with a 5-2 victory Saturday and a 1-0 win Sunday.

    The Lady Vols (15-5, 1-2 SEC) out-hit the Gators (23-2, 4-1 SEC), 6-4, but the only hit that mattered Sunday was Moultrie’s one-out solo shot over the center-field fence in the third inning, her sixth round-tripper of the year, that gave the Orange and Blue a 1-0 lead  it wouldn’t relinquish.

    The Gators used a duo of freshmen in the circle, as first-year Alyssa Bache (Clearwater, Fla.) earned the start in the series finale and worked the first 3.1 innings, allowing one hit, while walking one and striking out three, retiring six of the first eight batters she faced. Classmate Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) came on in relief in the fourth in a one-out pressure situation with runners on second and third, walked the first batter to load the bases, but rallied for a fly out and ground out to get out of the jam.

    Haeger went the final 3.2 innings to close out Sunday’s game, allowing just two more Tennessee hits, while coming up with three strikeouts. The first-year righty improved to 7-1 on the season, while Tennessee starter Ellen Renfroe took her first loss of the year (11-1), limiting the Gators to just the one run on four hits. Renfroe walked five Gators and retired seven by strikeout.

    The Gators have won three of the last four series with the Vols, having swept in Knoxville in 2008 and in Gainesville in 2009, while the two squads split a mid-week doubleheader in 2010. Last year, the Gators took three from the Lady Vols in Gainesville to win their fourth-straight SEC Eastern Division title, the fifth in school history.

    Haeger connected for a base hit of her own for the Orange and Blue in the first inning for UF’s initial hit of the day, while Moultrie and sophomore Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) accounted for UF’s three other hits, as Fagan hammered out a 2-for-3 performance at the plate to lead the Gators with base hits in both the second and seventh frames.

    The Gators return home for a mid-week doubleheader with Chattanooga Wednesday, March 14, before hosting their first home three-game conference series against South Carolina March 16-18 at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. First pitch against the Lady Mocs is 5 p.m. Wednesday, with the second game following a half hour after the conclusion of the first.

    For all the latest on Gator softball, including a complete schedule, results, recaps following competition and complete broadcast information for each home contest, visit www.GatorZone.com/softball.

    Florida’s upcoming contests against Chattanooga and South Carolina will be available on GatorVision, while fans can also follow live stats online through GameTracker or tune in on the radio live locally and online at 104.9, 105 The Game, with the call by Adam Schick and former Gator All-American Megan Bush.



    No. 1 Alabama Softball Sweeps Kentucky with 12-2 Win

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – The number one ranked Alabama softball team banged out 14 hits and smashed four home runs en route to sweeping Kentucky with a 12-2 win, Sunday afternoon at the UK Softball Complex. With the win the Crimson Tide stay perfect at 21-0 and 3-0 in Southeastern Conference play.

    Sophomore pitcher Jackie Traina earned her second win of the series and belted two home runs to power the Tide to another run-rule victory.

    Traina allowed two runs on 10 hits and struck out seven in six innings to improve to 12-0 on the season. Traina also went 2-for-2 at the dish, scoring two runs and driving in two.

    Senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia paced the Tide at the plate, collecting three hits while driving in a run. Senior Jennifer Fenton tallied two hits, drove in three and scored three times while senior Kendall Dawson and junior Kayla Braud added two hits apiece.

    Traina helped her own cause by getting the Tide on the board in the second inning. The sophomore belted her first home run of the season, a solo shot over the wall in left to give Alabama a 1-0 lead.

    Reilly-Boccia gave the Tide a 2-0 lead when she singled up the middle to score Fenton from second. Fenton started the third inning with a walk and then promptly stole her 11th bag of the season.

    Braud doubled the score with a two-out, two-run double in the top of the fourth to increase the Bama lead to 4-0. Fenton then promptly increased the lead to 6-0 with her first homer of the season. The senior hit a moon-shot over the wall in center to plate Braud.

    Traina blasted her second home run in the contest when she belted a solo home run in the fifth inning to expand the Alabama advantage to 7-2.

    Alabama exploded for five runs in the sixth inning on the strength of a three-run home run by sophomore Kaila Hunt. The home run was her seventh on the year and came on a 0-2 pitch that plated Fenton and Reilly-Boccia.

    Alabama has scored 10 or more runs five times and has run-ruled the opposition eight times. The four home runs ties for the most on the season.
     
    Alabama will head to the Pacific Northwest for two nonconference games. UA will face Oregon on Tuesday, March 13 and the play Portland State on Wednesday, March 14.



    No. 7 Georgia Shuts Out Mississippi State 5-0


    STARKVILLE, Miss. – The seventh-ranked University of Georgia softball team recorded its second shutout in as many days as it defeated Mississippi State 5-0 in Starkville, Miss. The Bulldogs took the series from MSU and improved to 21-3 overall and 2-1 in the Southeastern Conference. Mississippi State dropped 15-9 on the season and 1-3 in league play.

    Niaja Griffin led the way with two hits and scored one run in the win. Tess Sito finished with one hit and scored twice, while Gracie Goulder and Anna Swafford each scored once.

    Erin Arevalo threw her fourth complete game shutout of the year to improve to 8-1. The senior allowed just three hits and struck out eight. Kylie Vry suffered the loss to fall to 4-3 on the season. Vry allowed four runs, three earned, on five hits and two walks in three innings in the circle. Lindsey Dunlap and Stephanie Becker combined for four innings of relief, giving up one run on two hits and a walk.

    Georgia opened up to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Sito led off the inning with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch. With one away, Goulder singled to third and allowed Sito to score, putting Georgia up 1-0. After stealing second, Goulder moved to third on a strikeout. Anna Swafford drew a walk that put runners at the corners for Griffin. Griffin took the first pitch she saw down right field line for a two-run triple that scored both Goulder and Wilson and extended the Bulldogs’ lead to 3-0.

    The Bulldogs added to their lead in the top of the third. Sito took advantage of a MSU error to reach. With two outs and the bases loaded, Goulder hit into a fielder’s choice that scored Sito from second and extended Georgia’s lead to 4-0.

    Mississippi State threatened in the bottom of the third, picking up two hits and putting a pair of runners in scoring position. Arevalo was able to induce a groundout and a strikeout to end the inning.

    The Bulldogs added an insurance run in the top of the seventh, as Griffin led off the inning with an infield single. She moved to second when Ashley Pauly laid down a sacrifice bunt. With one out, Ashley Razey singled to right center that scored Griffin from second and extended Georgia’s lead to 5-0.

    Georgia returns to action on Wednesday evening when it travels to Atlanta, Ga., to take on rival Georgia Tech at 6:30 p.m.

    Childs Leads Gamecocks in 8-7 Comeback Win over Arkansas
                   
    COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (18-7, 2-1 SEC) came from behind, led by two homers from senior third baseman Evan Childs, to capture an 8-7 win over Arkansas (17-6, 1-4 SEC) to take the series on Sunday afternoon in front of 514 fans at Beckham Field.

    Childs posted her second two-homer day of her career, the final one a two-run shot coming in the seventh to launch the Gamecocks to the victory. Senior centerfielder Lauren Lackey started the seventh by legging out an infield single. Westfall replaced Lackey on first after the Razorbacks threw out Lackey on the sacrifice-bunt attempt. Childs stepped up and drove the first pitch of the at bat well over the centerfield wall for a two-run blast to end the contest.

    “The big part of the seventh was getting Lackey on base,” said Gamecock second-year head coach Beverly Smith. “And there was nothing more clutch than Evan’s two-run walk-off homer. That was awesome.”

    Childs, Lackey and Westfall all had two hits on the day, with Childs driving in four runs, Lackey two and Westfall one. Westfall and Childs both scored twice, with Lackey crossing home once.

    The Gamecocks started the second part of the comeback bid in the fifth when Childs followed Westfall’s two-out hit with a homer to left, making it 7-5. Freshman Olivia Lawrence stepped up in the sixth with a huge pinch hit, scoring sophomore second baseman Dana Hathorn after she started the frame with a double. Lawrence fought back from a 0-2 count to make it even before putting a solid swing on the hit to center. That set up Childs’ seventh-inning heroics.

    “Olivia Lawrence’s pinch-hit RBI was huge for us in the sixth,” added Smith. “She came up with two outs and battled with two strikes to get the huge, clutch hit off the bench.”

    Arkansas took the initial 5-0 lead in the second with two down. Chloe Oprzedek hit a three-run homer, scoring Maddie Reese and Tori Mort after a hit batsman and a walk, respectively. The Razorbacks continued the attack, loading the bases on Clarisa Navarro’s bunt hit, Devon Wallace’s intentional walk and Amanda Geile’s free pass. Sierra Bronkey took a 2-2 pitch back up the middle to score two and make it 5-0 Arkansas.

    The Gamecocks chipped away in the third with well-placed hits to left. Singles by junior catcher Shelby Gonzales and senior first baseman Molly Brossart set up junior shortstop Samie Garcia’s sacrifice bunt. Lackey drove in both runs, scored by senior pinch runners Jackie Slawson and Sam Arbaugh, with her double that eluded the Razorback leftfielder on her running attempt at the catch. Westfall followed with another double to left that glanced off the glove of the leftfielder when she tried to make a running over-the-shoulder catch, plating Lackey in the process to make it a 5-3 game.

    The Razorbacks stretched the lead back to four in the fourth. Navarro scored from third when a wild pitch on the fourth ball to Geile gave her the chance. Bronkey drove one deep to center for a sacrifice fly, allowing pinch runner Hope McLemore to score the seventh Razorback run. Oprzedek and Bronkey both had three RBI on the day, while Navarro went 3-for-4 with two runs scored.

    Redshirt junior pitcher Audrey Broyles (5-2) tossed 3.2 innings in relief without allowing a run, scattering two hits and a walk while fanning three in the win. Chelsea Cohen (10-5) took the loss for the Razorbacks, giving up eight earned runs on 11 hits and a walk. She struck out four.

    “I’m proud of my team,” commented Smith. “We talk about being relentless competitors all the time. You never want to give up five runs early, but our team kept putting runners on and putting pressure on Arkansas, and they never gave up. That’s what we talk about a lot; if we keep the game close, we’ve always got a shot to win, and Evan proved that today with her big home run.”

    Childs tied the Gamecock single-game record for the second time in her career with a two-homer day. The second homer tied her for ninth on the Gamecocks’ career list with 14. Her seventh and eight homers of the year, Childs is tied for fifth on South Carolina’s single-season charts after today.

    South Carolina continues its stretch of 21 games in 23 days on Tuesday, as Mississippi State comes to Columbia for a 4:30 p.m. doubleheader.



    Rebels Knock Off James Madison

    PALO ALTO, Calif. – Senior Kendall Bruning allowed just two unearned runs and struck out four in seven innings and freshman Allison Brown hit a two-run single in the sixth inning to help lift Ole Miss to a 3-2 victory over James Madison on the final day of the Stanford Louisville Slugger Classic on Sunday.

    With the game tied at one in the sixth, sophomore RT Cantillo earned a one-out walk in the top of the frame and first baseman Londen Ladner doubled off the top of the wall in right center to put runners on second and third. Brown then laced a single to left that brought Cantillo and Ladner home and gave Ole Miss a 3-1 lead.

    James Madison scored once in the bottom of the sixth after left fielder Morgan Heath singled, moved to second on a passed ball, advanced to third on an illegal pitch and scored on an RBI groundout from right fielder Haley Widner to pull the Dukes to within 3-2.

    Leadoff hitter Jasmine Butler singled up the middle with one out in the bottom of the seventh and advanced to second after shortstop Ashley Burnham singled through the left side of the infield to give James Madison runners on first and second with one down. However, Bruning settled down and got Mooney to strike out swinging for the second out and Haley Johnson to ground out to second to end the game.

    Bruning (11-2) picked up the complete-game win after allowing just two unearned runs – on only six hits – in seven innings of work. She struck out four and walked two in her 10th complete game of the season.

    The Dukes took an early lead in the bottom of the first after three straight, two-out singles and a fielding error by Rebel left fielder Brittany Broome allowed starting pitcher Sarah Mooney to score on a single to left.

    After being held scoreless for the first four innings, third baseman Cali Overbeck got Ole Miss on the scoreboard with a solo home run over the wall in left to tie the game at one. It was her second homer of the season and second in as many days, and marked the 14th long ball of her career. She finished the game 2-for-3 at the dish with a double and a homer.

    Ole Miss ended its west coast trip with a 3-2 record and the Rebels will travel to Mississippi Valley State on Wednesday for a non-conference matchup against the Delta Devilettes before heading to Alabama for a three-game set versus the top-ranked Crimson Tide beginning on Friday.



    Loree Tosses No-Hitter, Eisterhold Drives in Three Runs in Auburn Softball's 8-0 Win Over Presbyterian

    Auburn, Ala.  –  Elizabeth Eisterhold drove in three runs while pitcher Jenee Loree tossed her second no-hitter of the season as No. 20/19 Auburn softball defeated Presbyterian 8-0 in five innings.
                   
    Auburn improved to 21-3 with the win and remained unbeaten at home this season. The Tigers completed the War Eagle Classic with a 5-0 record. Auburn will next travel to Baton Rouge for a midweek double-header with No. 24/20 LSU on Wednesday. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. CT.
                   
    “This was a really good weekend for us,” Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. “We were able to get a lot of players some at-bats and time in the field. Obviously, Liz (Eisterhold) had a great weekend. It seemed like she was driving in a run every time she came to the plate. Jenee was tremendous today. Throwing two no-hitters in a season is a special accomplishment because they aren’t easy to come by. Now it’s time to take it up a notch. Conference play starts and everything gets tougher, more intense and doing the little things makes a bigger impact.”
                   
    Eisterhold’s three-RBI performance capped a successful weekend at the plate for the senior. In five games, Eisterhold hit .600 (9-for-15) with 12 RBI, one double, three home runs, seven runs scored and a .647 on-base percentage. Eisterhold’s three home runs gave her 29 for her career, moving her into fourth place in the Auburn career record books.
                   
    Against Presbyterian, Eisterhold delivered an RBI, driving in Brooke Lathan in the bottom of the first inning. Lathan doubled with one out and came home on Eisterhold’s single up the middle to give Auburn a 1-0 lead.
                   
    After a walk to Caitlin Jordan put runners at second and first, Amber Harrison punched a single through the right side to plate Eisterhold to give Auburn a 2-0 lead. Jordan took third on the play and scored on Baylee Stephens’ sac fly to right, making it a 3-0 game.
                   
    Caitlin Schultze gave the Tigers a 4-0 lead with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the second inning. It was Schultze’s first home run of the season and third of her career. Still in the second, Lathan made it a 5-0 game with a two-out, solo home run to center. It was Lathan’s fourth homer of the season.
                   
    Eisterhold racked up her 11th and 12th RBI of the weekend with a one-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth inning. It was Eisterhold’s 29th career home run, seventh of the season, and it came with Lathan (walk) aboard to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
                   
    The Tigers ended the game in the fifth inning on the eight-run mercy rule. The Tigers loaded the bases with Branndi Melero (HBP) at third, Lauren Guzman (fielder’s choice) at second and Liana Wuchte (walk) at first. With Eisterhold at the plate, Presbyterian catcher Jen Marshall threw wild to third on a failed pickoff attempt. Melero was able to score on the errant throw, ending the game at 8-0.
                   
    Auburn pitcher Jenee Loree improved to 7-1 in the complete-game win. Loree threw her fourth career no-hitter. Loree last threw a no-hitter on Feb. 11 this season against Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne. Loree’s four no-hitters are third-most in Auburn history, trailing Holly Currie’s seven and Kristen Keyes’ five. Loree threw two no-hitters in 2009.
                   
    Loree fanned six and did not issue a walk in five innings of work. Presbyterian put four hitters on base, one by error, another by an out-producing fielder’s choice and two on hit-by-pitches.