SEC Softball Today: March 17 > SEC > NEWS
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    SEC Softball Today: March 17

    softBALL RESULTS
    Arkansas 4, Tennessee 1
    Florida 1, South Carolina 0
    Kentucky 4, UMKC 0
    Kentucky 7, N.C. State 6
    Georgia 6, Auburn 3
    LSU 3, Mississippi State 1
    Alabama 10, Ole Miss 7

    Razorbacks take down No. 9 Tennessee
                   
    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas softball team defeated the No. 9 Tennessee Lady Vols 4-1 on Saturday afternoon, improving its overall record to 18-8 and 2-5 in the SEC. This is the first time that Arkansas has defeated Tennessee since the 2008 season, when Tennessee was also ranked in the top ten at No. 8.
                   
    “This is a great win for our program,” said head coach Mike Larabee. “This is the second win this year where we took down a top ten team.”
                   
    The Lady Vols stuck first in the second game of the series when it brought home one run in the top of the first.
                   
    The Razorbacks responded in the bottom of the first bringing in four runs. Freshman Devon Wallace started the hitting streak when she collected her sixth homerun on the season slamming it over the right centerfield wall, tying the game at one all. Three more runs were scored off of a homerun from sophomore, Amanda Geile, also her sixth of the year, while giving Arkansas the 4-1 lead.
                   
    Arkansas’s defense was strong throughout the game collecting 21 putouts seven assists and zero errors.
                   
    The Razorbacks loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth with no outs, but were unable to bring home any of the runners, keeping the score 4-1.
                   
    Wallace grabbed a double in the bottom of the sixth out to the right field wall, but was not able to be brought home.
                   
    Junior Chelsea Cohen was solid for seven innings in the circle grabbing six strikeouts and only allowing one walk.
                   
    “Chelsea was in command from the beginning of the game,” said Larabee. “I was very proud of her performance today.”
                   
    Tennessee was unable to respond in the top of the seventh giving the Razorbacks the 4-1 victory.
                   
    Arkansas will wrap up its series with Tennessee tomorrow at 12 p.m. at Bogle Park.
           
    “I want the team to enjoy the victory today,” said Larabee. “But we need to wake up tomorrow and come in ready to play and think about a sweep.”



    No. 4 Florida Softball Clinches Series Over South Carolina, 1-0

    WATCH GAME HIGHLIGHTS HERE

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A 1-0 series-clinching victory over South Carolina gave the Gator softball team their 15th shutout of the season in front of an Orange, Blue and green-clad crowd of 1,080 that celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium Saturday afternoon. Florida (25-2, 6-1 SEC) has now won all three of its league series thus far this season, and the Gators will be going for their eighth-straight series sweep over the Gamecocks (19-11, 2-5 SEC) in Sunday’s finale.

    After belting her first career round-tripper in Friday’s win over USC for Florida’s first three runs of the contest, freshman designated player Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) returned Saturday to tally her second-consecutive game-winning RBI after smoking a hit down the third-base line to plate classmate Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.), who led off with a walk. Friday, Castro was perfect at the plate with her three-run homer, while additionally drawing two walks. Castro’s RBI Saturday marked her seventh as a Gator in just 11 games played this season after returning from an injury.

    Juniors Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) and Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) connected for UF’s other two hits of the afternoon, Gammel with a leadoff single to left center in the fourth, while Horton poked a hit through the left side in the bottom half of the sixth stanza, as the trio collaborated for production through the middle of the lineup.

    Freshman righty Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) and sophomore ace Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) combined for the five-hit shutout, as Haeger improved to 8-1 in the circle, while Rogers chalked up her second save of the campaign after relieving Haeger for the final 2.0. Haeger fanned four Gamecock batters and gave up just one walk and four hits through the first 5.0. Rogers came on with a different look and shut down the Gamecocks in the top of the sixth, giving up just one final hit in the seventh after a sac bunt, caught stealing on a squeeze and her lone strikeout retired the USC side in the sixth.

    South Carolina starter Audrey Broyles was equally as efficient, allowing just UF’s three hits in 19 at-bats for the Gators, but the Orange and Blue were able to capitalize on five free passes from Broyles, who worked a complete game and retired two Gators by strikeout. In the third inning, both S. Fagan and Haeger drew walks that led to Florida’s lone run. Broyles moved to 5-3 on the season with the loss.

    Gamecocks Samie Garcia, Lauren Lackey, Evan Childs, Chelsea Hawkins and Kaela Jackson all registered hits against UF Saturday, while Garcia drew Haeger’s lone free base to lead off the top of the sixth.

    Saturday’s game marked the 25th consecutive win for the Gators in Florida-South Carolina series history. The two teams will close out the series on Sunday, with opening pitch set for 1 p.m. A win would be Florida’s eighth-straight series sweep.



    Seniors Lead Wildcats to a 4-0 Win over UMKC

    LEXINGTON, Ky. –  Led by the bat of senior Brittany Cervantes and the right-arm of senior Chanda Bell the Kentucky softball team returned to its winning ways with a 4-0 victory over University of Missouri-Kansas City on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon at the UK Softball Complex. Cervantes hit a pair of doubles, scored and drove in a run. Bell logged her 33rd career game with 10 or more strikeouts with 12 total Ks in a complete game shutout effort.

    With the win, Kentucky improves to 11-14 on the season while UMKC drops to 10-10 on the season. Kentucky will hit the field again for a 5:30 p.m. ET game against NC State as bracket play begins at the UK Invitational.

    After striking out the side to open the game for the Wildcats, UK’s offense plated a score in the home half of the inning to up 1-0. Junior Kara Dill sliced a double into left-center to place the leadoff runner aboard. Dill would shift to third on a wild pitch and walk home on an illegal pitch by the Roos’ right-hander.

    Bell continued to stymie the UMKC offensive effort in the second. Following a one-out single by the visitors, Bell struck out the next two batters she faced to end the threat running her total to five strikeouts in the first two innings.

    UK upped its advantage to 2-0 with an additional tally in the bottom of the second. Cervantes opened the frame with a double into the left-center gap to get the rally started. Following a pop-up, runners moved to the corners after UMKC’s shortstop registered a fielding error. Sophomore Krystal Smith’s single up the middle plated Cervantes for the two-run lead.

    Bell logged two more strikeouts in the top half of the third. Her final out of an unscathed inning came on a fly out to Cervantes in left field.

    Kentucky continued to add to its lead with another run in the home half of the third. Freshman Griffin Joiner reached base with one out on a hit by pitch. She’d advance a base on the second called illegal pitch of the game. Cervantes delivered with an RBI double that laced the left field line to increase the lead to 3-0 in favor of the home team.

    UMKC posted an inning-opening infield single in the fourth, but Bell and the Wildcat defense quickly dispelled of the threat by recording three consecutive outs including an inning-ending strikeout.

    The Wildcats trend of scoring one run per inning continued in the home half of the fourth to run its total to a 4-0 lead. Sophomore Aubrey Lamar began the stanza with a single into left field. Pinch runner Ellen Weaver would move into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from Smith. Junior Alice O’Brien then delivered a two-out RBI double into the right-center hole for the fourth run of the game for the Blue and White.

    The Roos placed a runner on in the top of the fifth with a leadoff single that landed in shallow center field. Bell wasted little time, however, as she then struck out the next three batters she faced to run her total for the game to 11 through five innings.

    For the first time in the game the Wildcats did not produce a run in the home half of the fifth. Despite getting two runners aboard thanks to a hit by a pitch and a walk, UK was unable to bring in a score.

    In the top of the sixth the visitor’s again opened the stanza with a leadoff single. Bell and the Wildcats, though were unfazed as they recorded three consecutive outs to end the inning unscathed.

    Smith began the home side of the sixth by earning a walk and then Dill picked up her second hit of the game with a single up the middle. A pop up and a lineout into a double play ended the inning without UK adding any additional scores.

    In a last-ditch comeback effort for the Roos the visitors placed both of their first two batters on the base paths to begin the seventh. The leadoff runner reached thanks to a hit by pitch while the next batter logged a single through the left side. Bell forced a fly out to sophomore Emily Jolly in center before recording her 12th strikeout of the game for the second out. She would then promptly pick up her 13th K of the game with a game-ending strikeout looking.

    UAB defeated NC State in the day’s first game as the Blazers earned the tournament’s No. 1 seed. UAB will meet UMKC at 3:35 p.m. ET, with Kentucky talking on the tournament’s No. 2 seed in NC State a half-hour following the conclusion of the first game of bracket play.

    Cervantes’ Record-Breaking Homer Powers UK Into Tourney Finals

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – On the heels of senior Brittany Cervantes’ UK all-time record-setting 36th career home run in the top of the sixth inning, the UK softball team defeated the NC State Wolfpack 7-6 to advance to the finals of the UK Softball Invitational on Saturday night in front of 1,044 fans at the UK Softball Complex.

    “It’s definitely a special moment to see Brittany get that career record home run,” UK head coach Rachel Lawson said. “She is a big part of our team and it really is an amazing accomplishment. She is such an amazing competitor. To watch her hit that home run and get that monkey off her back was a big moment for us.”

    With the win, Kentucky improves to 12-14 on the season with NC State dropping to 14-15 on the year. Senior Chanda Bell picks up her seventh win of the season after entering in the fifth inning and working 2.2 innings. She yielded just one hit and struck out eight of the nine batters she faced. Starter Ellen Weaver worked 4.1 innings and striking out five.

    “It was cool because it shows how resilient we are as a group (to bounce back from two losses yesterday),” Lawson said. “Sometimes it’s hard to get out of your own way. It was nice to see Chanda Bell finish two games so strong and finish the day so well.”

    Kentucky jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first as junior Kara Dill came around to score after a lead-off single. After Cervantes sacrificed to advance Dill, senior Rachel Riley reached on an error which also allowed Dill to cross the plate to score the game’s first run.

    In the bottom of the first, Landon Warren hit a lead-off double for the Wolfpack to start the NC State rally. Toni Ann Williford hit a single followed by another single from Caitlin Dent who hit a stinging line drive up the middle and then advanced to second on an error. Williford advanced to third on the misplay by the Blue and White.  The error allowed Warren to score from first to score from first. Bethaney Wells hit a single and advanced on an error allowing another run to score giving NC State a 2-1 lead.

    After a walk to start the bottom of the third for NC State, Dent singled and advanced on the third UK error if the game. Warren came around to score for the Wolfpack giving NC State a 3-1 lead.

    In the top of the fourth, the Wildcats struck for five runs. Junior Alice O’Brien led off the top of the fourth with a deep double to center. Weaver aided her own cause with her first homer of the season when she sailed a ball over the left-center wall.

    After sophomore Aubrey Lamar walked, classmate Krystal Smith reached on an error. Cervantes then laced a ball to third that on the ensuing throw the first baseman bobbled the catch allowing all of the runners to be safe with Lamar scoring on the play. Riley then drilled a double into left center plating by Smith and Cervantes for the frame’s final tallies in the back-and-forth battle.

    NC State answered with three runs in the bottom of the fifth to knot the score at six apiece. Landon Warren led off the top of the fifth inning with a home run to left center for the Wolfpack to pull the UK lead to 6-4. After a strikeout, Dent doubled to deep left for NC State to bring the tying run to the plate. Wolfpack clean-up hitter Bethaney Wells blasted a home run to deep left center to tie the game at six. The Wildcats then brought in Bell. The senior right-hander allowed an infield single, but then struck out the next two batters she faced.

    In the top of the sixth, with two outs and a count full, Cervantes unloaded on a pitch to deep left-center field for a home run, which put UK up 7-6. It was Cervantes’ first home run of the season, and gave her the UK career home run record with 36 home runs for her career.

    Bell hung on for the win by striking out the next six batters she faced to preserve the victory in impressive fashion.

    The final day of the UK Softball Invitational will take place Sunday afternoon with the consolation game taking place at 11:00 a.m. ET contested between NC State and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

    The championship game will be 30 minutes following the conclusion of the consolation final between Kentucky and the UAB Blazers.



    Georgia Tops Auburn 6-3

    ATHENS, Ga. - The No. 8 University of Georgia softball team (22-5, 3-2) found its offensive bats Saturday afternoon to take a 6-3 win over No. 18 Auburn (23-5, 2-2) at Jack Turner Stadium.

    The Bulldogs put together nine hits in the contest, led by seniors Kristyn Sandberg and Ashley Razey with two each.

    Junior Tess Sito (6-0) earned the win after she gave up one hit and struck out four in 2.2 innings of relief. Sophomore Morgan Montemayor got the starting nod, as she allowed three runs on six hits while striking out three in 4.1 innings. Auburn’s Angel Bunner (9-1) took the loss after she gave up six runs, five earned, on seven hits and struck out three in 4.1 innings of work.

    The Tigers jumped ahead early in the first with a two-run homer from Elizabeth Eisterhold after Lauren Guzman got on base from a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Brooke Lathan.

    Georgia took the lead in the bottom of the third after the Bulldogs loaded the bases for a Sito at-bat to score freshmen Anna Swafford and Niaja Griffin despite the double play taking out Sito and senior Ashley Pauly. With Sandberg on first from a single to left center, Razey doubled to the right center to bring the score to 3-2.

    Auburn tied it up at 3-3 in the top of the fifth with a Guzman double to right center bringing around Branndi Melero. However, Georgia quickly answered in the bottom frame, as Griffin, Pauly and Sito loaded the bases before a Sandberg single brought in Griffin and a Razey sacrifice fly helped advance Pauly and Sito to home and seal the 6-3 win.

    The final game of the series between Georgia and Auburn takes place Sunday, March 18 at 1:30 p.m. at Jack Turner Stadium.



    Falcon and Mack Propel LSU Softball to 3-1 Win over Mississippi State

    BATON ROUGE – Allison Falcon ripped a two-run double during the third inning to break a 1-1 tie, while Brittany Mack racked up 10 strikeouts in a complete game effort as the LSU softball team claimed a 3-1 win over Mississippi State Saturday in-front of a season-best 1,397 fans at Tiger Park.

    LSU (18-8, 3-1 SEC) pushed its winning streak to 19 straight games over Mississippi State (17-11, 3-6 SEC) dating back to the 2005 season. Prior to first pitch, the Tigers honored 18 Alumnae as part of Alumnae Weekend at the ballpark. 

    Mack won her fifth consecutive decision to improve to 8-4 on the season. She maneuvered around eight hits, two walks and stranded six of 10 Bulldog baserunners in scoring position. The senior right-hander also notched her third double-digit strikeout performance of the season.

    Stephanie Becker was handed the loss and tagged for three runs on five hits. She came away with six strikeouts against one walk, but dropped to 9-4 for the season. 

    “This was a huge game for us today, just in this series and in this season,” head coach Beth Torina said. “I think that Mississippi State is really improved, so I think that winning the series is key to our success in the SEC. They fought hard, and I knew we were going to get a tougher pitcher [Becker] on the mound today. I knew this game was going to be a little more of a challenge, and it was. I’m really happy that we came away with it.”

    Trailing 1-0, the third inning was kind to the Tigers for the second straight contest. Lauren Houston was hit-by-a-pitch to open the frame. Two batters later, Ashley Applegate cranked a single to centerfield. LSU loaded the bases when Jacee Blades dropped down a textbook bunt single down the first base line.

    A passed ball by MSU catcher Ka’ili Smith enabled Houston to scamper home and knot the score at 1-1. Down 0-2 in the count, Falcon battled to extend her at-bat by fouling off a quartet of pitches and taking a ball. Falcon’s hard work paid immediate dividends as she smoked a double past the diving attempt of Bulldog left fielder Jessica Cooley. The ball one-hopped off the left field wall which cleared the bases to give LSU a 3-1 advantage.

    “She had been working me outside, and I was just waiting for that inside pitch,” Falcon said. “She called time and her coach came and talked to her, so it was a lot of different things going on. I really just had to focus on seeing the pitch that I wanted, and thankfully I did.”

    Mississippi State’s Jessica Offutt and Smith strung together a pair of two-out singles during the sixth inning to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. Mack thwarted the Bulldog rally and got Shelby Fisher to fly out to right field. She struck out two batters in a 1-2-3 seventh to secure the 3-1 win.

    “She did a good job of making big pitches when she needed to,” Torina said. “Even when she was behind on a few hitters, she was able to come all the way back and get a strikeout from a 3-0 count. She did a good job of making big pitches in the correct times.”

    Sunday’s series finale is slated for 1 p.m. with live audio and live stats inside the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net. The game also will be carried live Country Legends 104.9 FM in the Baton Rouge area with Patrick Wright and Kent Low set to call the action.

    Fans also can follow every pitch of LSU softball this season via live in-game updates on LSU softball's social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball and @lsu_softball on Twitter.

    As part of Brittany Mack's "Geaux Play" initiative, LSU softball is encouraging fans to share the gift of sports with special needs children. Fans can donate new or gently used sports equipment during the remaining LSU softball home games at Tiger Park. For more information, visit LSUsports.net/geauxplay.

    All items collected will be given directly to the Miracle League Association and six local schools that Mack will visit during the season. At LSU's series finale versus Ole Miss on April 22, Mack will invite all the children to the game as her special VIP guests for "Geaux Play" day at Tiger Park.



    No. 1 Alabama Softball Outlasts Ole Miss, 10-7

    WATCH GAME HIGHLIGHTS HERE

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – In a high scoring affair the top-ranked Alabama softball team downed Ole Miss, 10-7, Saturday night in front of a national television audience at Rhoads Stadium. With the win the Crimson Tide stay perfect with a 24-0 overall record and a 5-0 Southeastern Conference mark.

    Senior Amanda Locke earned her first win in the circle since April 24, 2010, and provided the punch at the plate with four RBI.

    Senior Jennifer Fenton was a perfect 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBI while rookie Danae Hays collected two hits and scored twice. Junior Courtney Conley continued to stay hot at the plate with two hits, two runs and two RBI.

    Junior Lauren Sewell earned the save by pitching 1 1/3 innings of perfect relief. The right-hander entered the game with two on and two out in the top of the sixth and induced a pop up to end the threat.

    Alabama has now scored eight or more runs 15 times this season and plated 10 or more seven times. UA earned it 22nd straight win over Mississippi and has put double-digits on the board four straight times against the division foe.

    After Mississippi scored a run to lead off the game Alabama promptly seized the lead with a two run bottom of the inning. Fenton led things off with a solo shot over the wall in left for her second homer of the season and then sophomore Kaila Hunt hit a deep sac-fly to right for her 27th RBI of the season.

    The Tide exploded for five runs in the second inning as Locke supplied the big hit in the frame on a three run homer over the wall in center. The shot that went into the new Brickyard seats was her sixth on the season.

    UA increased its lead to 9-2 when it plated two more in the third. Hays started the scoring when she drove in pinch-runner Keima Davis from second and then Conley doubled to left-center to score Hays.

    After Mississippi made it interesting with five runs in the top of the fifth to pull within two, Locke walked with the bases loaded to move the lead to the final 10-7 score. The RBI was her fourth on the game.

    Alabama will close the series with Mississippi in a Sunday matinee that will start at 1:30 p.m. The game will air on WVUAtv.