Three Homers Blast No. 9 Tennessee Past Georgia Southern, 7-0
|Tennessee 7, Georgia Southern 0
|Tennessee 9, Georgia Southern 0
|Western Illinois 5, Kentucky 4
|Alabama 5, Oregon 1
|Mississippi State 10, South Carolina 6
|Mississippi State 9, South Carolina 0
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On Tuesday afternoon in the opening game of a doubleheader at Lee Softball Stadium, a trio of home runs from junior first baseman Melissa Brown, sophomore pinch hitter Melissa Davin and junior second baseman Lauren Gibson powered the #9 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (16-5) past Georgia Southern (13-8), 7-0.
Brown led UT’s eight-hit offensive attack by going 2-for-3 at the dish with two RBIs and her third HR of the season. Gibson was 1-for-3 with a pair of RBIs, while bashing her team-leading seventh HR, and Davin was 1-for-1 as a pinch hitter with her third big fly of the campaign via a two-run shot during UT’s four-tally sixth. Freshman designated player Cheyanne Tarango doubled while posting a 1-for-2 effort with a run scored, junior third baseman Raven Chavanne was 1-for-2 with a RBI sacrifice fly, sophomore center fielder Tory Lewis was 1-for-1 with a tally and rookie pinch hitter Hannah Akamine went 1-for-1 in her lone plate appearance.
Sophomore pitcher Ellen Renfroe improved to 12-1 overall by registering her 11th complete-game and ninth solo shutout of 2012. The 6-0 righty allowed just two hits and struck out 11 with no walks in a strong effort from the circle.
After a dominant, strikeout the side performance for Renfroe in the top of the first, Tennessee’s Chavanne got the offense off to a quick start with a single that ricocheted off the pitcher. Despite a steal of second by UT’s speedster and a groundball that advanced her within 60 feet of pay dirt, a two-out pop-up just out on the outfield grass over short was caught to leave Chavanne at third.
Georgia Southern catcher Mackenzie Williams became the Eagles’ initial base runner during the top of the second by leading off the frame with a clean single to center. On a sac bunt by third baseman Andrea Tarashuk, a throw attempting to nail the lead runner at second was tossed into center field for an error as GSU boasted a pair on the base paths with still none out. After a strikeout for the opening retirement, shortstop Kourtny Thomas ripped a liner to short. Shipman was perfectly placed to make a grab right at her shoe tops, turned and tossed behind the lead runner to Gibson at second for an inning-ending double play.
Tennessee finally broke the scoreless dead-lock in the bottom of the third via the long ball. Following a lead-off walk issued to Lewis and a fielder’s choice on a bunt by Chavanne, Gibson bashed her seventh HR of the season to grant the Big Orange a 2-0 lead.
Renfroe settled in from the circle following the interesting top of the second, retiring nine consecutive hitters over the third, fourth and fifth frames. During the latter inning the Jackson, Tenn., native managed to strikeout the side for the second time in the match-up.
A triple christening the bottom of the fifth off the bat of Lewis set the stage for a sacrifice fly from Chavanne as the Lady Vols improved their advantage to 3-0.
Tennessee boosted its cushion via the long ball once again in the bottom of the sixth. With Tarango stationed at second following a one-out two-bagger, Brown crushed an offering from Georgia Southern’s Sarah Jarvis out of Lee Stadium to make it 5-0. After a clean single through the infield from freshman pinch hitter Hannah Akamine, Davin joined the big fly parade with a towering two-run shot to finalize the Big Orange offensive output at seven tallies.
From there it was left to Renfroe to finish off her 11th complete game and ninth shutout. Second baseman Hanna Ennis granted the Eagles brief life with a lead-off double down the line in left, but UT’s 6-0 right-hander didn’t flinch. She retired center fielder Marie Fogle on a pop-up to short and then struck out Williams and Tarashuk to complete the triumph.
No. 9 Tennessee Finishes DH Sweep of Georgia Southern with 9-0 Win
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Big Orange sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman knocked in a career-high-tying four runs and senior pinch hitter Cat Hosfield blasted her first collegiate HR as the #9 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (17-5) completed a doubleheader sweep of Georgia Southern (13-9) on Tuesday at the Lee Softball Stadium by recording a commanding 9-0 (5 inn.) triumph.
Shipman was 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and four RBIs, while junior third baseman Raven Chavanne went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Junior right fielder Kat Dotson recorded a perfect 2-for-2 effort at the dish with a walk and a tally, freshman designated player Cheyanne Tarango was 1-for-1 with an RBI, junior second baseman Lauren Gibson was 1-for-3 with two runs scored and Hosfield was a perfect 1-for-1 in pinch-hitting duty with her first collegiate HR via a three-run blast during UT’s seven-run third inning.
In the circle junior Ivy Renfroe picked up her fifth victory of the campaign, allowing just three hits, walking two and striking out eight Eagle hitters in a complete game.
After each team left a runner stranded in the opening frame, Georgia Southern posted a threat against Renfroe in the top of the second. Third baseman Andrea Tarashuk started the inning with a walk and was soon joined on the base paths via a one-out free pass by teammate Kourtny Thomas. The pair of base runners didn’t seem to faze UT’s 6-0 right-hander as she ended the potential scoring chance with consecutive strikeouts of first baseman Tabby Douberley and right fielder Kaitlyn Johnson.
GSU starter Allie Miles walked Tarango beginning the bottom of the sixth and watched the Anaheim Hills, Calif., native advance to third on a groundout and a fly ball to right. Unfortunately, she was left just 60 feet from pay dirt as a chopper to first ended the frame with no scoring.
With Renfroe settling in from the circle, having struck out four consecutive batters over the second and third frames, the Tennessee offense struck like lightning in the bottom of the third by putting up seven runs on five hits. With one retired in the frame, Chavanne and Dotson got the outburst underway with consecutive infield singles. Gibson ripped a shot that ricocheted off first baseman Douberley and then off the UT runner between first and second. A brief umpire conference decided that the play would count as a base knock for Gibson, packing the bags full of Lady Vols. That set the stage for Shipman as the Valencia, Calif., product blasted a three-RBI double to clear the base paths and grant the Big Orange a 3-0 advantage. Later in the frame following a Tarango walk, a throwing miscue on the Georgia Southern infield allowed Burchell to reach safely and Shipman to cross on the error all the way from second to make it 4-0. Pinch hitting with a pair of runners aboard, Hosfield stepped into the batter’s box and crushed her first collegiate HR out of Lee Stadium as the advantage expanded to a commanding seven tallies.
Following a wasted two-out double for the Eagles in the top of the fourth, UT added two more runs to its total in the bottom half. Chavanne and Dotson again got things rolling with consecutive infield singles starting the frame. Shipman soon followed with an RBI single, and then Tarango blasted an RBI double, setting the final offense total at 9-0
Despite a lead-off single back through the middle of the infield by Douberley to begin the top of the fifth, Georgia Southern went relatively quietly in its last opportunity to avoid the run-rule. Johnson became Renfroe’s eight K victim of the contest, left fielder Alexa Lewis flied out to center and second baseman Hanna Ennis popped up to first, finishing Tennessee’s 17th victory of 2012.
Kentucky’s Rally Falls Short in Loss
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Wildcats plated three runs over the final three innings, but the late-game heroics fell just short as Kentucky dropped a 5-4 decision to Western Illinois on Tuesday afternoon on a gorgeous afternoon at the UK Softball Complex. Sophomore Ginny Carroll provided the Cats with an offensive spark with a two-run homer in the fifth frame.
With the loss, the Wildcats drop to 10-12 on the season while Western Illinois improves to 8-13. UK will continue non-conference play when it plays host to the UK Invitational Friday-Sunday. Kentucky will welcome NC State, UAB and UMKC for a three-day tournament this weekend.
Kentucky struck first for a run in the home half of the second to grab an early 1-0 edge. Sophomore Emily Gaines reached by way of a hit by pitch with one out to place a runner aboard. Sophomore Lauren Cumbess struck for a single and classmate Ellen Weaver plated the score to lift the Wildcats to an early advantage.
Western Illinois utilized a five-run fourth inning to take a 5-1 lead it would never relinquish. The Fighting Leathernecks plated the scores on seven hits including a double and a three-run homer by Teagan Walsh.
UK’s rally began in the home half of the fifth. With two outs, junior Kara Dill singled up the middle to place a runner on the base paths setting the stage for Carroll. The sophomore drilled a ball over the left center fence for her second round tripper of the season and bridging the gap to 5-3 in favor of the visitors.
Senior Rachel Riley sliced a double into right-center to open the sixth inning. Pinch runner Kara Howard would round home on an RBI single from Cumbess’ bat. The tally made the score 5-4 and brought the Wildcats within striking distance.
Dill attempted to rally the Wildcats in their final at-bat with her second single of the game this time finding a hole in right field. She’d shift into scoring position with her 13th stolen base of the season. However, the Wildcats could not complete the rally as the inning ended on consecutive groundouts.
No. 1 Alabama Softball Downs No. 14 Oregon, 5-1
EUGENE, Ore. – Behind a stellar pitching performance by sophomore Jackie Traina and an opportunistic offense, the top-ranked Alabama softball team downed No. 14 Oregon, 5-1, Tuesday evening at Howe Field. With the win the Crimson Tide improve to a perfect 22-0 while the Ducks move to 18-4 on the season.
Traina did not allow a hit until the fifth inning as the All-American allowed one unearned run on three hits to improve to 13-0 on the season. The right-hander struck out 10 and walked two in the winning effort.
The Tide took the early lead when senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia hit a solo home run that caromed off the top of the wall in left in the fourth inning. The home run was her fourth on the season.
After the Ducks evened the score on an unearned run in the fifth inning, Alabama answered with four runs in the sixth to secure the victory.
UA loaded the bases before Traina helped her own cause by drawing a walk to give the Tide a 2-1 lead. Sophomore Kaila Hunt then drilled a single through the left side to score senior Jennifer Fenton from third and then pinch-runner Keima Davis and Kendall Dawson were able to come home as well when the left fielder mishandled the sharply hit grounder.
In her homecoming, junior Kayla Braud hit a double, walked and scored a run in front of a Howe Field crowd that was filled with Alabama fans.
Alabama will play one more game in the Pacific Northwest as it will face Portland State on Wednesday. First pitch is slated for 8 p.m. CT tomorrow night.
Mississippi State Sweeps South Carolina in SEC Road Opener
Columbia, S.C. – For the first time since 2001, the Mississippi State softball team (17-9, 3-4 SEC) has won five-consecutive true road games thanks do a doubleheader sweep at South Carolina (18-9, 2-3 SEC) Tuesday night. The Bulldogs won the first game at Beckham Field, 10-6, before run-ruling the host Gamecocks with a 9-0 blanking in game two.
“You have to credit Coach (Beth) Mullins and Coach (Alan) Reach for their work in the cage with these hitters,” head coach Vann Stuedeman said. “It was a great start to our conference road schedule as we gear up for LSU this weekend.”
In game one, junior left-handed pitcher Stephanie Becker improved to team-leading 9-3 on the season, laboring through seven innings for her team-best seventh complete game of the year. The southpaw gave up six runs (five earned) on nine hits and three walks, but struck out five batters when it counted most to secure the triumph. Kierstyn White suffered the loss for Carolina, falling to 6-5 on the year.
Seniors Ka’ili Smith and Brittany Bell each had two-hit performances. Smith went 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs, while Bell finished 2-for-3 with a walk, RBI and a career-high tying three runs. Sophomore second baseman Heidi Shape drove in two and scored once, while junior first baseman Shelby Fisher, sophomore third baseman Sam Lenahan and junior left fielder Jessica Cooley also scored runs for the Maroon and White.
State took a liking to Beckham Field early, plating two runs on two hits in the first inning of the first game. Fisher drew a one-out walk to get things started and moved over to second after a single by Bell to center field. A USC wild pitch moved the runners over to second and third, setting the table for Lenahan. Lenahan deposited a 2-2 pitch just over the second baseman’s head in right for the first run of the game. With runners now on the corners, Shape executed a safety squeeze bunt to the pitcher and was thrown out at first as Bell sprinted to the dish for the Bulldogs’ second run.
The host squad responded with four runs over the next four innings to take a 4-2 lead heading into the top of the fifth. That is when State scored half of its runs in the fifth on just one hit. Smith walked on four pitches and advanced to second on a groundout by Fisher. Bell copied the Hawaiian Hammer with another four-walk base on balls. Four pitches later, Lenahan drew a free pass to load the bases. With the bases loaded, Shape executed a squeeze to keep the bases full and plate Smith. All three runners on base then advanced on a passed ball, allowing Bell to score. With first base open, USC pitcher Katelynn Howswer walked Cooley to clog the basepaths yet again. Redshirt sophomore shortstop Erin Nesbit then received the green light on a 3-0 pitch and blooped it over the shortstop’s head into left for an RBI single, giving MSU a 5-4 lead it would never give up. The Maroon and White put two more across to make it 7-4 when USC’s shortstop made a two-out error that allowed Shape and Cooley to score.
After a solo home run by Kaela Jackson made it 7-5, MSU poured on three more runs in the top of the sixth. Just like the previous inning, Smith led off the frame by reaching first, this time via a single up the middle. Fisher replicated Smith’s fifth inning at-bat and walked on four pitches. It took one pitch after Fisher’s at-bat for Bell to go shopping at the gap in left field, driving in Smith with an RBI double and advancing Fisher to third with Lenahan stepping into the box. Lenahan grounded to second on a 1-2 count as the Gamecocks’ second baseman threw a laser home to get Fisher. Fisher slid under the tag safely when the catcher muffed the receiving end of the throw and the ball rolled to the backstop. Bell saw the ball dribble past the dish and sprinted home for the third and final run of the inning. Carolina knocked out an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth, but it was all they could muster in game one.
Game two was a combination of big-time hitting and phenomenal pitching, as junior lefty Kylie Vry (5-3) hurled a complete-game two-hit shutout. The Iowa native struck out six and walked two in 81 efficient pitches. At the dish, Cooley, Lenahan and Shape went yard for State’s first three homers in SEC play. The three in the middle of the order combined to go 6-for-11 with five RBIs, four runs and three round-trippers.
Just like game one, MSU jumped head with a quick 2-0 lead in the second game. Cooley walked on a full count but was forced out at second for the first out on a fielder’s choice by Nesbit. Making the start in game two, freshman Ashley Phillips walked to push Nesbit to second. Both runners advance one base when Offutt grounded out to second. Smith then became the first Bulldog intentionally walked this season, loading the bases. With the bases full, Fisher grounded to second and reached on a throwing error by the Gamecocks’ second baseman. The throwing miscue allowed both Nesbit and Phillips to score.
The visitors doubled their lead in the third with another two runs. Cooley tied Florida’s Kelsey Horton with her league-leading ninth home run of the 2012 campaign. Nesbit came up next and walked for the third time Tuesday. The redshirt sophomore trotted to second on a groundout by Phillips. With two down, Offutt pinched it to left to put Bulldogs on first and third. Smith then drove in Nesbit with a single down the left-field line to make it 4-0 in favor of the Maroon and White.
For the third-straight inning, MSU put up a deuce on the scoreboard with two runs on three hits. With one down, Lenahan barrel bombed it over the fence in left for her first home run since Feb. 10. Lenahan’s childhood friend Shape came up right after and cranked it to the wall in left for a standup double. With Shape on second, Cooley singled to the third baseman to put two on with one down. After Cooley stole second to put two in scoring position, Nesbit sent a shot to the deepest part of the park, as the center fielder caught it and Shape tagged from third for the sixth run.
The final three runs of State’s trip to Columbia came in the fifth when Shape knocked in Fisher and Lenahan with a three-run home run to left.
Starkville’s team will spend one more night in the Palmetto State before traveling to Cajun Country for a three-game series at LSU starting Friday at 6 p.m. CT. Free audio streaming of all three games this weekend will be available through HailStateTV at www.hailstate.com/hstvlive.