Today In SEC Softball: March 21 > SEC > NEWS
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    Today In SEC Softball: March 21

    North Carolina 8, South Carolina 0
    Georgia 6, Georgia State 0
    Troy 7, Auburn 1
    Kentucky 4, WKU 2
    Alabama 3, Tennessee 2 (11 Innings)
    Tennessee 5, Alabama 2

    Gamecocks Fall in Five at No. 24/25 North Carolina 8-0

    CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – South Carolina (19-13) dropped a road non-conference game in tough fashion at No. 24/25 North Carolina (22-8), as the Tar Heels claimed an 8-0 win in five innings at Anderson Stadium.

    The Gamecocks threatened in the first inning but could not come through. Tar Heel starting pitcher Lori Spingola (16-6) walked leadoff hitter Samie Garcia and senior Evan Childs around a pop out before plunking cleanup hitter Kaela Jackson to load the bags. But Spingola came back with two strikeouts to escape the jam. South Carolina would not threaten again, only getting a leadoff walk from Chelsea Hawkins in the fifth.

    North Carolina took over from there. Haleigh Dickey got the scoring started in the first with a grand slam out to right. Three more Tar Heel runs crossed in the third, with Kelsey Foulks doubling home one and Constance Orr plating two more. Kelli Wheeler led off the fourth with a homer to give North Carolina the 8-0 advantage.

    South Carolina had no answer for the sophomore Spingola, who tossed 86 pitches in a five-inning no-hit effort. She walked three and struck out eight. Gamecock redshirt junior starter Audrey Broyles (5-4) took the loss, giving up six earned runs on five hits and a walk in 2.1 innings. She fanned three.

    Amy Nece scored twice while going 2-for-2 with a double for North Carolina. Wheeler also had two hits, including the home run.


    No. 11 Georgia Cruises to 6-0 Win Over Georgia State

    ATHENS, Ga.—The No. 11 University of Georgia softball team (24-5) cruised to a 6-0 victory against Georgia State (20-8) on Wednesday night at Jack Turner Stadium.

    Georgia used 11 hits on its way to the win, as freshman Gracie Goulder led the way with a 3-for-3 effort followed by senior Ashley Pauly going 2-for-2, including a home run, and junior Tess Sito with a 2-for-3 night at the plate.

    Senior Erin Arevalo (10-2) tallied the win after giving up one hit in four innings and striking out five on her way to totaling 101 strikeouts for the season. Sito came in for three innings of relief to keep the one-hitter going and combined for the shutout with Arevalo.

    Pauly got Georgia on the board early in the first, as the senior punched out a double and reached third on an error. Sito then put a single through to the outfield to score Pauly and give Georgia a 1-0 advantage.

    Georgia’s lead extended to 4-0 in the third courtesy of a two-run home run from Pauly for her first of the season and a solo shot by senior Kristyn Sandberg for her eighth of the year.

    The Bulldogs closed the win in the fifth after Niaja Griffin and Goulder were able to reach home off of Sito’s single through the right side. Goulder opened the inning with a bunt before Griffin’s single advanced her to second. Pauly then put down a sacrifice bunt to put the freshmen in scoring position.


    Troy Tops Auburn 7-1

    Troy, Ala.  –  The Troy Trojans took advantage of two Auburn errors to score five runs in the second inning and cruised to a 7-1 victory over the No. 21 Tigers’ softball team Wednesday night.
    Auburn dropped to 23-7 overall, while Troy improved to 19-7. The Tigers return home to host the Kentucky Wildcats in a three-game series beginning Friday at 6 p.m. CT at Jane B. Moore Field.
    “We made a lot of mistakes tonight and Troy capitalized on them,” Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. “You have to give Troy credit, they came out ready to play and they took it to us tonight.”
    Jenee Loree started and took the loss to fall to 8-3. Loree allowed four runs, one earned, on three hits with one walk and two strikeouts in one and one-third innings. Angel Bunner relieved Loree in the second inning and pitched two and two-third innings allowing three runs, all earned, on seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
    Ashley Rainey started and earned the complete-game win for Troy to improve to 9-3. Rainey allowed one run, earned, on four hits with one walk and two strikeouts.    
    Troy put a five-spot up in the bottom of the second inning. Michelle Hewett led off with a triple to center and came in to score when Sarah Shields followed with a single to left. Shields took second on the play when Baylee Stephens booted the ball while attempting to scoop it up in left field.
    After Madison Rich was put in to run for Shields, a sac bunt moved her to third. That was followed by a single from Rainey to center that scored Rich for a 2-0 lead for Troy. Sarah Harris followed with a fly ball to right that Amber Harrison missed, allowing Harris to reach on an error and put Rainey at second.
    Bunner relieved Loree after the error on Harris’ fly ball and Bunner quickly picked up the second out with a swinging strikeout of Hannah Renn. Kelly Luquette made it a 3-0 game with an infield single that took a high bounce off a charging Lauren Guzman at shortstop. Harris scored on the play for Troy. With two on and two outs, Nikki Hollett laced a double to center that scored both runners to make a 5-0 game.
    In the bottom of the fourth, Harris reached on a single to center and took third on a double to the gap in right-center by Renn. Luquette followed with a sac fly to right that plated Harris to make it a 6-0 game. Renn took third on the play and came in to score on a one-out single by Hollett to give Troy a 7-0 lead.
    The Tigers broke the shutout bid in the top of the sixth inning. Stephens led off with a double to center and moved to third on a ground out by Branndi Melero. With two outs, Caitlin Jordan laced a double to right to score Stephens for the final 7-1 margin.


    Dill, Carroll Homer in Leading UK to 4-2 Win over WKU

    BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Junior Kara Dill and sophomore Ginny Carroll both hit home runs and senior Rachel Riley pitched a complete game in leading Kentucky to a 4-2 road victory at Western Kentucky on Wednesday night. Carroll’s two-run homer marked her team-leading fourth of the season and Dill’s was the first of her career.

    With the win Kentucky improves to 13-15 on the season and WKU drops to 19-11. Riley’s win in front of her hometown crowd was the third of the season for the right-hander.

    Kentucky’s offense was terrific as UK registered 10 hits in the game led by a perfect 4-for-4 day from Dill. Six other players recorded at least one hit with sophomore Lauren Cumbess also driving in a run for the Blue and White.

    Kentucky struck first with a pair of scores in the top half of the second. Junior Alice O’Brien reached when she was hit by a pitch. Carroll then lofted a 2-2 pitch and took it yard over the center field wall for her fourth dinger of the season and lifting UK to a 2-0 advantage.

    UK increased its lead to 4-0 with two more runs in the top half of the fourth. Dill led off with the first round tripper of her career when she drilled it over the right field fence. Freshman Griffin Joiner kept the inning going with a two-out single into left field. Cumbess brought her home with a double that laced the right field line for the second run of the frame.

    WKU cracked the scoreboard with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. The Hilltoppers notched a one-out double and then brought the run in with a two-run homer. Riley settled down and struck out the next two batters she faced, however, to preserve the Wildcats’ lead.

    Dill opened the game with a single up the middle that laced off the pitcher’s glove. Cervantes followed with a single up the middle as well. The runners would shift a base on a passed ball, but the Wildcats would leave them both aboard without pushing across a run.

    One WKU player reached by way of an error by the Wildcats in the home half of the first, but Riley dispelled the threat with a groundout to end the inning.

    Sophomore Emily Gaines reached by way of an error on the second baseman and Dill notched her second hit of the game in the second, but UK could not add on to its two runs in the frame leaving two more aboard.

    An infield bunt single began the bottom of the second for the home team. The Hilltoppers advanced the runner with a sacrifice bunt, but Riley struck out the next two batters to again end the inning.

    Kentucky retired the side in the bottom of the third which was highlighted by Joiner tossing out a runner attempting to steal second. After allowing a two-out walk in the home side of the fourth, Riley induced the final out of the inning to groundout back to her on the mound to continue to protect the Wildcat advantage.

    Gaines registered a one-out single in the fifth and Dill picked up her fourth hit of the game with a single up the middle. The inning concluded on a run-down with Gaines attempting to score on Dill’s chopper.

    WKU again picks up a two-out single in the home half of the fifth, but Riley quickly dispels the threat with an inning-ending grounder back to Cervantes at third.

    Riley picked up a one-out single into left-center in the sixth. Pinch runner Sarah Frazer shifted a bag on a wild pitch and then moved to third on a deep fly out by Joiner. Cumbess smoked a ball into the five-six hole, but WKU’s shortstop made a tremendous diving snag and threw from her knees to prevent a run from scoring and converting the third out of the inning.

    For the first time in the game the Wildcats were retired in order in the top of the seventh. In a last-ditch comeback effort by the Hilltoppers, Riley induced two quick groundouts for the first two outs of the inning. The home team picked up a two-out walk to keep the inning alive. But, on the very first pitch of the next at-bat, Riley gets a grounder back to Cervantes for the game-winning out.


    No. 1 Softball Splits with No. 11 Tennessee

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The top-ranked Alabama softball team won in dramatic fashion in the first game and dropped its first contest of the season in the nightcap. The Tide won an 11-inning, 3-2, thriller and then fell, 5-2, to move to 26-1 overall and 7-1 in Southeastern Conference play.

    Game 1

    After throwing nearly 200 pitches in the contest sophomore Jackie Traina took matters into her own hands as she belted a two-out, walk-off home run to lead Alabama to a thrilling, 3-2, 11-inning victory over rival Tennessee.

    Traina (16-0) muscled her way to the complete game victory, allowing two runs – one earned on nine hits while tying a career-high with 15 strikeouts. The extra inning win is the second of the season for Traina and the Tide as she went all nine innings in the win at Kentucky.

    After having her streak of 22 straight batters retired broken in the fourth inning, Tennessee was able to strike first against Traina with a single run atop the frame. Raven Chavanne scored when the Lady Vols loaded the bases and Cheyanne Tarango singled a flare to second.

    Alabama rallied with two runs in the bottom of the fifth to seize the lead. Jennifer Fenton, the reigning SEC Player of the Week, doubled to center to score senior Jazlyn Lunceford and then senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia hit a sac-fly to left to plate junior Kayla Braud.

    Tennessee then knotted the game at two after loading the bases once again and scoring on an infield hit. The score would stay that way for another four innings, until the 11th inning heroics by Traina. The 11-inning game tied for the longest ever by the Tide at Rhoads Stadium.

    Tennessee pitcher Ivy Renfroe (5-6) threw a career-high 10 2/3 innings and struck out a career-best 14 batters. She allowed three runs on five hits and walked four. 

    Game 2

    After giving up a three-run home run in the top of the second, the Tide got two back with a homer of its own. Sophomore Kaila Hunt hit her team-leading ninth home run of the season to pull Alabama within one in the fourth inning.

    That is all the Tide could muster though as it was held to a season-low three hits. Hunt paced the Tide with two of the three tallies.

    Ellen Renfroe (15-1) went the distance for the Lady Vols, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out seven.

    UA freshman Leslie Jury (7-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs on seven hits in four innings. Senior Amanda Locke allowed an unearned run on three hits in three innings of relief.

    The SEC loss was the first for the Tide at home since March 28, 2010. The 26-game winning streak to start the season is the second longest in school history.

    Alabama will take a break from conference play to host DePaul and Longwood in Tuscaloosa for the Easton Alabama Challenge, held from March 23-25 at Rhoads Stadium.