SEC Softball Today: March 23 > SEC > NEWS
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    SEC Softball Today: March 23

    softBALL RESULTS
    Alabama 4, DePaul 3
    Tennessee 8, Mississippi State 0
    Kentucky 8, Auburn 4
    Georgia 8, Ole Miss 4
    Florida 6, Arkansas 0
    LSU 5, South Carolina 0

    No. 1 Alabama Softball Downs DePaul, 4-3

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Freshman pitcher Leslie Jury shut the door on DePaul, as she came on with the go-ahead run on second base and one out in the seventh inning and calmly struck out the last two batters to preserve top-ranked Alabama’s 4-3 win in the opening game of the Easton Alabama Challenge Friday night at Rhoads Stadium. With the victory the Crimson Tide improve to 27-1 on the season.

    The save was a career first for Jury as she came on in relief for senior Amanda Locke, who earned her second win on the season. Locke allowed three runs on four hits while striking out two in 3 1/3 innings.

    The two teams were wrapped up in a pitcher’s duel until the fifth inning. Alabama loaded the bases on three straight singles – two by the way of the bunt –and then Fenton smashed her third career grand slam to give the Tide a 4-0 lead.

    DePaul (15-8) made it interesting by scoring two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh before Jury stopped the rally cold to secure the win.

    Junior Kayla Braud led the Crimson Tide with two hits. Seniors Cassie Reilly-Boccia and Kendall Dawson joined Fenton with the other hits for UA.

    Alabama will continue tournament play as it will have two games on Saturday. Alabama will open the day at 1:30 p.m., against DePaul and then face Longwood at 4 p.m.



    No. 11 Tennessee Takes Series Opener at Mississippi State, 8-0

     
    STARKVILLE, Miss. – On Friday evening in the series opener at the MSU Softball Stadium, junior third baseman Raven Chavanne barely missed hitting for the cycle, sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman and sophomore leftfielder Melissa Davin each knocked in two runs and junior first baseman Melissa Brown homered as the #11 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (21-7, 5-4 Southeastern Conference) raced past Mississippi State (18-13, 3-8 SEC), 8-0 (5 inn.).

    Chavanne led UT’s eight-hit offensive attack by going 3-for-4 at the plate with a double and a triple.  Shipman was a perfect 1-for-1 with a walk and two RBIs and Davin was 1-for-3 with a pair of RBIs.  For Brown the solo shot marked her career-best fifth HR of the campaign.  Senior Cat Hosfield was also credited with her fifth RBI of the year via a pinch-hit bloop single during the top of the fifth.

    In the circle sophomore pitcher Ellen Renfroe improved to 16-1 overall and 5-1 in SEC action, allowing just three hits, walking three and striking out eight over her 12th solo shutout of 2012.

    “I was proud of our kids with the way they came out tonight and played tough in a difficult environment against a very good Mississippi State team,” Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said.  “I think we got some timely hits, and that proved to be the difference in the game.”

    The Big Orange wasted no time getting to a quick lead on the scoreboard, putting up a two-spot in the top of the first.  Chavanne got the outburst started with a lead-off triple over a drawn-in outfield, rolling into third standing up with her second three-bagger of the year.  With one retired junior right fielder Kat Dotson was struck by a pitch, placing Lady Vol speedsters at the corners and setting the stage for a RBI single off the bat of Shipman as Tennessee nabbed a 1-0 lead.  The advantage soon improved to a pair of runs as the lead runner Dotson swiped home against the battery of MSU pitcher Stephanie Becker and catcher Ka’ili Smith.

    Smith christened Mississippi State’s half of the initial frame by drawing a walk off Renfroe.  With center fielder Jessica Offutt stationed at first following a fielder’s choice that retired the lead occupant, the MSU runner swiped second and also moved to third as an errant throw rolled into center.  The Bulldog located 60 feet from pay dirt didn’t seem to bother UT’s 6-0 right-hander as Renfroe struck out third baseman Sam Lenahan.  Designated player Brittany Bell attempted a quick bunt but popped the ball up to her right towards the Lady Vol dugout.  Brown raced over quickly from her defensive position at first and made a terrific running basket catch to end the frame with the MSU runner left stranded at third.

    The ‘Dogs placed two more on the base paths during the bottom of the second via a one-out single through the left side by left fielder Jessica Cooley and a two-out catcher’s interference call with shortstop Erin Nesbit batting.  Following a MSU double steal, Renfroe again fought off a threat by catching Brittany Gates swinging for the third Big Orange K of the match-up.

    Chavanne again got Tennessee’s offense started in the top of the third, beginning the frame by lacing a 0-1 pitch into the gap for a double.  With one down and Dotson standing at first after getting struck for the second time in the match-up by Becker, Shipman hammered a drive to the wall that proved plenty deep enough for a sacrifice fly as Chavanne easily trotted home to improve the Big Orange advantage to 3-0.

    After Mississippi State left a pair stranded on the bags in the bottom of the third, UT’s Brown added to the Lady Vol lead with two retired in the top of the fourth.  The Valencia, Calif., native blasted a 3-2 pitch from Becker out of the MSU Softball Stadium to make it 4-0.  A walk issued to senior catcher Ashley Andrews, a Becker wild pitch and Chavanne’s third hit of the evening via a perfect infield slap single, stationed runners at the corners with two down.  The Tennessee speed game again manufactured another tally as Andrews recorded UT’s second swipe of home during the match-up as the scoreboard showed a 5-0 advantage.

    With Renfroe keeping the Bulldog offense off the board through four frames of effort, the Lady Vols continued adding to their advantage in the top of the fifth.  A lead-off bunt single from Dotson and walks by both Shipman and senior pinch hitter Shelby Burchell packed the bases full for Davin.  The Fresno., Calif., product laced a drive into the gap that was missed on dual diving attempts by both Offutt and Gates.  With Burchell forced to hold up briefly between first and second on the fly ball, Davin accidentally ran past her teammate on the base paths for an automatic out, but received credit for a single and two RBI to make it 7-0.  A fielding miscue on a bouncer by Brown set the stage for an RBI bloop single off the bat of Hosfield as the advantage expanded to eight tallies.

    With Mississippi State suddenly down to its final offensive chance to avoid the run-rule, Offutt granted the Maroon and White some brief life via a one-out walk.  That proved all they would get against Renfroe, however, as Lenahan hit into a fielder’s choice and Bell struck out looking to end the five-inning match-up.



    Comeback Cats Upset No. 18 Auburn in Extra Innings

    AUBURN Ala. – Trailing by four runs heading into the fifth inning the Kentucky softball team mounted an incredible comeback to force extra innings and then went on to plate four scores in the top of the eighth to upset No. 18/21 Auburn, 8-4, on the road to begin a three-game series. Senior Brittany Cervantes and sophomore Emily Jolly both homered for the Wildcats in the game and played an integral part in the four-run eighth inning for the first victory over a ranked opponent this season.

    With the win Kentucky improves to 14-15 on the season and 1-3 in Southeastern Conference action. Auburn falls to 23-8 overall and 2-4 in league action. Senior Chanda Bell earns her eighth victory of the season after tossing five innings of relief work and striking out seven batters.

    Cervantes and Jolly both logged two hits to lead the Wildcat offensive effort. Cervantes drove in four runs and Jolly plated a pair. Junior Kara Dill was the other UK player to notch two hits in the win.

    To open the eighth inning, sophomore Ginny Carroll singled up the middle and a misplay by the fielder enabled her to move all the way to third to place a runner in prime scoring position to ignite a UK rally. Junior Alice O’Brien’s double into right field plated the first score of the frame.

    Following back-to-back outs, Jolly came up huge again with a single into left field to bring O’Brien around to score. She was able to move to third on a junior Kara Dill single into left-center. Dill moved to second on the relay to third to attempt to get Jolly. Cervantes then delivered a two-run single up the middle to give UK a commanding 8-4 advantage.

    Bell wasted little time in ending any hopes of a comeback by the Tigers as she registered three quick outs including two strikeouts to cap off the win for UK.

    With the home team Tigers leading by a 4-0 score, UK’s offense ignited for three runs in the top of the fifth all with two outs. Jolly began the rally with her third career homer over the center field wall. reached base with a single through the left side gap and then Cervantes connected on a 2-2 offering and smoked it over the left field wall for the 4-3 score.

    Senior Rachel Riley continued the rally with a double into left field, but Auburn brought in Angel Bunner who promptly ended the rally by getting a grounder back to her to end the inning with pinch runner and the tying run in Sarah Frazer still on second.

    Kentucky’s offense continued to shine in the sixth as UK brought in a run to tie the score at four apiece. Carroll opened the frame by reaching after getting hit with a pitch. She’d advance two bases on a pair of wild pitches. With Carroll now on third, sophomore pinch hitter Emily Gaines delivered the game-tying RBI-single into right field.
     
    Following the second out of the inning, Jolly placed an additional runner on base when she too was hit with a pitch. The inning ended with both runners still on base and the score tied.

    Auburn struck first in the home half of the first for a pair of unearned runs to grab a 2-0 edge. The leadoff batter reached on a Wildcat error and then shifted a bag on a sacrifice bunt. The first run came in on a double into left field with the second run coming on an infield groundout.

    Both pitchers quieted the bats in the second inning with neither team able to place a runner on base.

    Jolly was the first Wildcat to reach base with a two-out walk in the top of the third. UK, however, would leave her aboard on first with the inning coming to close on a foul-out to third.

    Auburn plated two more scores in the home half of the third. After allowing a one-out walk, Auburn delivered with a two-run homer from Elizabeth Eisterhold to add to its lead.

    In the top of the fourth, freshman Griffin Joiner and Carroll logged consecutive two-out walks to get a bit of momentum going for the Wildcats. Sophomore Ellen Weaver then roped a single through the right side, but it struck Carroll in the base paths unfortunately resulting in the final out of the stanza for UK.

    A pair of walks coupled with a fielder’s choice on a sacrifice bunt enabled the Tigers to load the bases in the home half of the fourth. Bell entered in the inning in relief and escaped the jam by recording her second strikeout of the inning to end the frame without allowing Auburn to add to its advantage.

    Bell worked around a one-out single in the home half of the fifth to keep the Wildcats within striking distance and down just one run. The right-hander quickly dispersed of the Tigers with a three-up and three-down inning in the sixth.

    After UK fell in order in the top of the seventh, Auburn got its leadoff on base with a single. UK quickly picked up an out with a terrific caught-stealing play from Dill and Joiner. Another single promptly placed another runner aboard, but she would get no further as Bell picked up two quick outs to force extra innings.

    The teams will resume its three-game series with the second contest slated for Saturday and a 2 p.m. ET first pitch.



    Homers Lead No. 11/12 Georgia to 8-4 Win

    OXFORD, Miss. – A five-run fourth inning keyed the No. 11/12 Georgia softball team to an 8-4 win over the Ole Miss Rebels in the first game of a three-game series on Friday night. With the win, Georgia moves to 25-5 overall and 5-2 in the Southeastern Conference. With the loss, the Rebels fall to 13-13 overall and 2-4 in the SEC.

    Erin Arevalo got the start in the predetermined split and moved to 11-2 on the year. The senior threw five perfect innings, striking out five of the 16 batters she faced. Morgan Montemayor came on in relief and threw two innings, allowing four runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out three.

    Kendall Bruning suffered the loss to drop to 11-5 on the year. She allowed eight runs, seven earned, on seven hits and four walks, while striking out eight.

    Ashley Razey led the way for the Bulldogs, finishing 3-for-4 at the plate with a pair of singles and a home run. Kristyn Sandberg was 1-for-3 with a home run. Tess Sito, Sandberg and Razey each scored two runs.

    After a scoreless first, Sandberg got the Bulldogs on the board with a solo shot to left center to open the top of the second and give Georgia a 1-0 lead. Razey followed with a single, but a double play ball ended the inning for Georgia.

    Georgia loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the fourth, as Ashley Pauly and Sito were each hit by a pitch and Sandberg drew a walk. Razey delivered a single up the middle that scored Pauly and Sito and put Georgia up 3-0. Christine Olney took a 1-1 pitch up the middle to score Sandberg and make it a 4-0 game. A pair of two-out infield singles by Gracie Goulder and Macie Couey allowed Razey and Olney to cross the plate and extend Georgia’s lead to 6-0.

    Ole Miss answered in the bottom of the fourth to cut Georgia’s lead back to four with a two-run home run off the bat of Allison Brown to make it a 6-2 game.

    Georgia got the two runs back in the top of the fifth with the help of a two-run home run by Razey. Sito led off the inning with a four-pitch walk. With one out, Razey belted a home run to center that scored Sito and put Georgia up 8-2.

    Ole Miss added two runs in the bottom of the sixth that made it an 8-4 game, with the help of a one-run single by Brown and a RBI-double by Bruning. Arevalo re-entered the game and retired the final two batters, stranding two Rebels.

    Georgia and Ole Miss return to action Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET.



    No. 4 Gator Softball Takes Series Opener at Arkansas, 6-0, Behind Moultrie’s 4-for-4 Performance

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Senior All-American Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) went 4-for-4 with a stolen base and two doubles as the Orange and Blue opened the series at Arkansas with a 6-0 victory at Bogle Park Friday. A season-best performance for Florida’s lone senior, Moultrie additionally tallied two RBI and scored two runs for her 13th multiple-hit performance of the year as UF improved to 27-2 overall and 8-1 in league play.

    Freshman Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) went 2-for-3 at the plate, extending her active reached-base streak to 15-straight games as UF tallied nine hits and scattered its six runs in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth frames to defeat the Razorbacks (18-10, 2-7 SEC).

    Sophomore ace Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) chalked up her 15th victory of 2012, improving to 15-1 in the circle with a four-hit, complete-game shutout. For the 12th time this season, Rogers went the distance for her seventh shutout, as the Gators racked up their 16th shutout as a team this year, the fourth in league play. The righty walked just two Arkansas hitters and fanned four, while Razorback hurler Chelsea Cohen shouldered the loss (11-7).

    Moultrie and Haeger both connected for base hits to kick off the game for the Gators, but after scoreless first and second innings for both teams, the Gators pushed three runs across in the third, stringing together a three run, three hit stanza as freshman Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) slapped one to the short stop for a base hit to lead off the inning, while Moultrie roped a ball down the third-base line to score Fagan for a 1-0 advantage with no outs.

    Next up, Haeger knocked her sixth round-tripper over the left-center fence to plate Moultrie and herself to take the Gators ahead, 3-0. Three groundouts ended the stanza, but not before UF took a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

    The Razorbacks had their chance in the third, loading the bags in the bottom of the frame on a Devon Wallace walk and Chloe Oprzedek and Jayme Gee base hits, but with two outs, Rogers fanned Clarisa Navarro swinging to get out of the jam.

    Junior Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) tacked on another run in the top of the fourth with her third homer of the season, just her fifth career bomb, smacking a hard-hit ball that bounced on and then dropped over the left-field fence to give the Orange and Blue a 4-0 lead.

    Rogers forced a three up, three down situation in the bottom of the fourth, bringing up the fifth, where Moultrie led off with her second double of the day, accomplishing the feat for the first time since junior Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) did so against Maine earlier this year. The Razorbacks then opted to intentionally walk Haeger, while freshman Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) drew a walk to load the bases with no one out, enabling freshman Jess Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.) to come in as a pinch runner.

    After a Gator strikeout, junior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) dropped a sac bunt that plated Moultrie to extend the UF lead, 5-0, while Haeger and Damico moved to second and third before Arkansas retired the side with a strikeout to end the inning.

    Moultrie struck again in the sixth after freshman Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) connected for a base hit and moved to second on a Gator groundout, as the 2011 All-American smacked one to left center for her fourth hit of the day, giving Medina the go-ahead to trot home for UF’s sixth and final run.

    Both squads went three up, three down in the seventh, sealing the series-opening victory in favor of the Orange and Blue.

    The Gators and Razorbacks will do it again Saturday in the second game of the series, with first pitch set for 1 p.m. at Bogle Park in Fayetteville. Florida will be looking for its fifth-straight sweep over Arkansas this weekend and will aim for the series clincher Saturday.



    LSU Softball Blanks South Carolina, 5-0

    COLUMBIA, S.C. - The LSU softball team endured a three-hour rain delay, and used a four-hit shutout from Rachele Fico's powerful right arm to claim a 5-0 victory over South Carolina Friday to open a SEC series at Beckham Field.

    Fico equaled a season's best 10 strikeouts to claim her 10th win of the season. The junior right-hander also secured her eighth shutout during the 2012 campaign.

    In the process, LSU (21-8, 5-1 SEC) won its 11th straight decision over South Carolina (19-14, 2-7 SEC).

    Offensively, the Tigers received multi-hit performances from A.J. Andrews, Jacee Blades, Allison Falcon and Dylan Supak. Blades also tallied a career-high two RBIs.

    "I thought we did a great job of staying focused through the rain delay," head coach Beth Torina said. "I was proud of the players of being prepared to play when the game started. Fico threw hard and had fantastic stuff tonight."

    LSU raced out to a 2-0 edge in the first inning. Andrews drew a walk and advanced to third base on a Blades single on a textbook hit-and-run play. An illegal pitch allowed Andrews to cross the plate with the game's first run, and an Ashley Langoni sacrifice fly scored Blades.

    The Tigers tacked on three more runs during the second inning. With one out, Morgan Russell coaxed a free pass and scooted over to third base on a Supak double into the left centerfield gap. Andrews blasted a RBI single through the left side, while Blades placed a two-run double down the right field line to make it 5-0.

    "A.J. and Jacee did a fantastic job of working together at the top of the lineup," Torina said. "That put some much pressure on the opposing defense. They are both extremely fast, really difficult to defend and doing an excellent job of sparking the offense."

    That would be more than enough run support for Fico, who sat down 13 of her final 15 batters she faced to secure the final margin of 5-0. 

    South Carolina's Kierstyn White dropped to 6-7 on the season and surrendered on five runs over 1.1 innings of work.

    LSU's defense snapped a stretch of seven consecutive games and had its first errorless game since a 1-0 win over Troy on March 10.

    "I thought we did an awesome job of jumping of them early and keeping our heads right throughout the entire game," Blades said. "We played a great defensive game too, but we'll need to come out here and do the same thing tomorrow."

    Game two of the series is set for Saturday at 1 p.m. CT 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 Matt Dunaway set to call the action.