Weaver’s Bases-Clearing Double Lifts UK to Series Win
|Kentucky 5, Auburn 2
|Georgia 9, Ole Miss 0
|Florida 3, Arkansas 2
|Tennessee 10, Mississippi State 3
|LSU 5, South Carolina 0
|Alabama 9, DePaul 7
|Alabama 11, Longwood 0
AUBURN Ala. – Sophomore Ellen Weaver’s bases-clearing double and a game-saving diving snag by junior Kara Dill all the fifth inning lifted the Kentucky softball team to a 5-2 upset of No. 18/21 Auburn for the decisive series-winning victory on a gorgeous afternoon in Auburn, Ala. Weaver smoked a three-run double in the fifth to give UK a three-run advantage. Dill then came up with a diving catch to prevent the Tigers from scoring in any runs in the home half of the inning despite loading the bases.
With the win Kentucky has secured its first conference series win of the season and improves to 15-15 on the year and 2-3 in Southeastern Conference action. Auburn drops to 24-9 and 2-5 in league play.
Senior Rachel Riley was terrific in the circle working a complete-game victory for her fourth of the season. Riley allowed just one earned run and a mere five hits in the win.
Kentucky took an early lead by plating a score in the top half of the first. Dill reached after getting hit by the first pitch of the game. Riley then singled into the right-center gap to place runners on the corners. Joiner then delivered an RBI-single that fell just beyond the glove of an out-stretched Lauren Guzman’s hands at shortstop running towards left-center. The run gave UK the early 1-0 advantage.
Auburn answered with a run of its own in the home half of the first. Guzman opened the inning with a double along the left line and was able to move to third on a groundout to third. Riley then struck out the next batter for the second out of the inning. She appeared to induce a groundout for the final out of the frame, but a speedy Amber Harrison beat out the throw to plate the tying run.
With the score tied at one, sophomore Ginny Carroll began the fourth with a double into the right-center gap. Following consecutive outs, sophomore Lauren Cumbess smacked her own double into the same hole to bring Carroll around for the score and again give the visitor’s a one-run lead at 2-1.
Mimicking the early stages of the game Auburn responded to Kentucky’s run with one of its own in the home half of the fourth to tie the score for the second time in the game. The Tigers picked up a one-out double into left-center to place a runner in scoring position. On a routine grounder to third, UK logged the second out, but aggressive base running had the Auburn runner take off for third during the relay to first. UK responded by attempting to get the runner at third, but the ball got away from the Wildcat defenders enabling the run to come home and knot the score at two.
UK responded in a big way in the top of the fifth to claim a 5-2 advantage. Senior Brittany Cervantes earned a one-out walk to get the rally going. Riley then reached on a fielder’s choice with Cervantes also advancing to second cleanly. Freshman Griffin Joiner sent a dribbler to the third baseman who muffed the ball and had no play to load the bases. Following the second out of the inning, Weaver came up with a spectacular bases-clearing double into the right-center gap for the three-run lead. It marked the second consecutive game that the Wildcats plated three runs with two outs in the fifth frame.
Auburn nearly turned the trick of responding to the Wildcats tallies in the home half of the fifth. The Tigers loaded the bases with just one out after being hit by a pitch, earning a single and a walk. With one out coming on a sacrifice bunt, Riley picked up the second out with a pop up to Cumbess at first base. The final out of the inning came on a dazzling defensive dandy from Dill. The junior laid out for a liner in the five-six hole and came up with the grab to prevent Auburn from scoring.
After both teams suffered 1-2-3 innings in the second, Cervantes laced a one-out single into left field on relief pitcher Jenee Loree in the third. UK would leave her stranded, however, as the Blue and White suffered consecutive outs with her on first.
Auburn had an opportunity in the bottom of the third, but Riley and the defense stepped up to prevent any damage. Guzman singled through the right-side with one out and would advance on a wild pitch. A grounder back to Dill at short registered the second out of the inning, but Guzman was able to shift to third to advance into prime scoring position. Elizabeth Eisterhold then notched a walk to place runners on the corners. Harrison connected on a pitch that came hot off of her bat, but landed right in the out-stretched glove of Riley on the mound to end the inning.
Cumbess and Dill both singled in the top of the sixth, but UK could not push across any additional scores as the inning ended with a runner stranded. Auburn got the lead runner aboard in the home half of the sixth when she was hit by a pitch. Riley, however, was unfazed as she retired the next three batters she faced.
Riley and Joiner both logged their second hits of the game to open the top of the seventh with consecutive singles. UK, however, could not add any insurance runs with the runners left stranded on three consecutive outs.
Auburn needed three runs in the home half of the seventh to prolong the game. The Tigers got the first batter aboard due to an errant throw by the Wildcats. A groundout to short resulted in the first out of the frame. Auburn then placed its second runner on base with a walk. Riley, however, did not waver as she forced a pop-up to sophomore Emily Jolly at second for the second out. She then came up with a strikeout with a nasty change-up to complete the victory.
The teams will complete their three-game series Sunday with a 2 p.m. ET first pitch.
Georgia Secures Series With 9-0 Win at Ole Miss
OXFORD, Miss.—Led by the bat of senior Ashley Razey, the No. 11 University of Georgia softball team (26-5, 6-2) secured the series against Ole Miss (13-14, 2-5) with a 9-0 win in Oxford on Saturday.
Razey's two hits were both two-run home runs to bring her total to three in the series. Freshman Paige Wilson went 3-for-3 in the contest along with two runs and two RBI, as the Bulldogs collected 11 hits in the game.
Junior Tess Sito (7-0) earned the win after giving up six hits and striking out three. Sophomore Morgan Montemayor came in for one inning of relief to strike out two. Ole Miss' Kendall Bruning (11-6) took the loss after allowing three runs on four hits while walking three and striking out three. Erinn Jayjohn gave up a bulk of the runs with five on six hits.
Georgia grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second, as Ashley Razey led things off with a walk. Pinch runner Anna Swafford moved to second on a stolen base before Wilson dropped a double just inside the left foul line to put Georgia ahead early.
Two more runs came in the top of the fourth with Razey blasting a two-run home run over left center that brought in pinch runner Tiesha Reed. Brittney Hubbard then lifted Georgia to a 5-0 advantage after she added a two-run home run in the sixth inning. Wilson scored on the bomb to left center, as the shortstop reached on a single before advancing to third on a passed ball and wild pitch.
The Bulldogs secured the win with back-to-back home runs from Razey and Wilson. Sito opened the seventh with a single before Sandberg made it a 6-0 game with a double. The next at bat, Razey blasted a two-run shot followed by Wilson's solo shot to close the game at 9-0.
Georgia and Ole Miss finish the three-game series on Sunday, March 25 at 2 p.m. ET.
Gator Softball Clinches Series at Arkansas, 3-2, Powered by Three-Run Fifth Inning
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The fourth-ranked Gator softball team used a three-run fifth inning for a come-from-behind series clincher, topping Arkansas 3-2 Saturday at Bogle Park to improve to 28-2 overall, 9-1 in SEC play this season.
Senior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) smacked her third double of the series, while adding a leadoff homer in the fifth that counted as the first run of the game for the Orange and Blue. Junior Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) and freshman Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) both went 2-for-3 on the day to contribute to UF’s eight hits on the afternoon.
The Razorbacks struck first in Saturday’s match-up with a three-hit, two-run third inning, but Florida made the contest its third come-from-behind game of the season, thanks to a three-run fifth inning, powered by Moultrie’s leadoff blast.
Haeger earned the nod in the circle for the Gators Saturday, working the first 4.0 innings to improve to 9-1 overall on the year. Haeger fanned four Arkansas batters, walked five and allowed the Razorbacks’ two runs on three hits. Sophomore righty Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) came on in the fifth to finish out the contest for Florida, earning her third save of the season with three innings of hitless, scoreless relief, retiring five Razorbacks by strikeout and walking just one.
Florida limited Arkansas to just three hits Saturday and starter Chelsea Cohen tallied her second loss in the series to move to 11-8 on the season after allowing eight Gator hits, three runs and walking two with no strikeouts through the first five innings. Kimmy Beasley came on for the Hogs to finish out the final 2.0 with hitless, scoreless relief, tallying four strikeouts and walking just one.
Freshman Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) led off for the Orange and Blue with a base hit, while Haeger continued her reached-base streak with a single of her own in the top of the first for UF, but much like Friday, the Gators started capitalizing on their opportunities later in the game in the fifth inning.
In the top of the third, Moultrie smacked a two-out double, her fourth of the season and third in the series, before the Razorbacks opted to intentionally walk Haeger for the second day in a row after her two-run shot in the series opener Friday. A fielder’s choice counted as the third out as UF left two on in the frame.
Arkansas got the bats going in the third with a three-hit, two-run frame to put the first runs on the board for the Razorbacks, cashing in on two bases-loaded situation. Devon Wallace connected for a leadoff base hit, while S. Fagan made an impressive diving catch in foul territory for the first out of the inning. Clarisa Navarro and Sierra Bronkey both tallied consecutive base hits to load the bags, enabling an Amanda Geile sac fly to plate the Razorbacks first run of the inning, leaving runners on first and second.
Next up, a hit-by-pitch for Jennifer Rambo loaded the bases again and a walk for pinch hitter Andrea Sullivan sent the second and final run of the stanza home before Haeger fanned Razorback pitcher Cohen looking to retire the side.
Florida responded in the fifth, as Moultrie led off with her seventh bomb of the year to right field to narrow the Arkansas advantage, 2-1, while Haeger connected for her team-leading ninth double of the season with no outs. A foul out counted as the first out of the frame, while a Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) groundout moved pinch runner Briana Little (Middleburg, Fla.) to third.
Next up, junior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) knocked her third double of the season to score little, knotting the game at two-all. Next up, sophomore Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) took advantage of an Arkansas fielding error to score Horton and bring the Orange and Blue ahead, 3-2. Gammel connected for a base hit to left field, but a Sam Holle (Tampa, Fla.) fly out ended UF’s scoring splurge.
The Gators traded Haeger for Rogers in the circle to kick off the fifth, and following a UF defensive miscue and a walked Razorback, Rogers fanned three in a row to retire the side. Rogers then sent Arkansas back to the dugout in order in the bottom of the sixth with two fly outs and a ground out to maintain the UF lead.
After a scoreless top half of the seventh for the Gators, Rogers tallied two strikeouts and forced a ground out to seal the deal for the Orange and Blue.
The Gators and Razorbacks will meet in the series finale Sunday, with first pitch set for noon from Bogle Park in Fayetteville. Florida will be looking for its fifth-straight sweep over Arkansas.
No. 11 Tennessee Bangs Out 13 Hits in 10-3 Win at Mississippi State
STARKVILLE, Miss. – On Saturday afternoon in front of 813 fans at the MSU Softball Stadium, the #11 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (22-7, 6-4 Southeastern Conference) registered the most hits (13) and tied for the most runs (10) allowed this season by the Mississippi State Bulldogs (18-14, 3-9 SEC) in securing a series victory via a 10-3 triumph.
Big Orange junior second baseman Lauren Gibson led the offensive onslaught by going 3-for-4 with a double, her team-leading ninth HR of the year and four RBIs. Sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman was 3-for-4 with a stolen base and her squad-best 31st RBI, while junior right fielder Kat Dotson posted a 2-for-3 effort with three runs tallied, a theft and her ninth RBI of the campaign. Senior utility player Shelby Burchell also contributed a pair of RBIs in a 1-for-3 performance.
In a relief appearance in the circle, sophomore hurler Ellen Renfroe improved to 17-1 overall and 6-1 in league action, scattering seven hits, allowing no runs while walking one and striking out eight over 6.0 innings of work. Junior pitcher Ivy Renfroe started the contest, permitting three tallies on a trio of hits with two walks and a K over one frame.
“Today there were a lot of adverse conditions thrown at our team,” Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Karen Weekly said. “I thought our players handled that really, really well. We threw a punch in the first inning, they threw a punch right back, and we held our ground. We just kept putting some runs on the board as the game went along. I was really proud of the way our pitchers fought, because they faced some really tough conditions. They just hung in there and did what they needed to do to give us a chance to win.”
Junior third baseman Raven Chavanne got what proved to be a huge Tennessee opening frame started by virtue of being struck by a 1-0 offering from Mississippi State starter Kylie Vry leading-off the top of the first. A perfect sacrifice bunt from sophomore center fielder Tory Lewis advanced UT’s Thousand Oaks, Calif., speedster into scoring position and set the stage for a RBI single off the bat of Dotson as the Big Orange nabbed a quick 1-0 advantage. A theft by Dotson, an infield base knock from Shipman and another steal moved a pair of Lady Vols into scoring position with just one retired in the frame. After battling to a full count, Gibson saw a pitch she liked, dropping a single just over the infield and onto the grass for two RBIs as Tennessee’s lead expanded to 3-0. A base knock and steal from sophomore left fielder Melissa Davin put a pair in scoring area for Burchell, and the Columbia, Tenn., native delivered by driving a shot through the infield to plate two more tallies. An Ashley Andrews hit continued the onslaught, plating Burchell to lift the advantage to a commanding 6-0. A grounder to short finally concluded the attack, but not before the Big Orange had sent 10 batters to the plate in totaling six runs on six hits.
With Mississippi State immediately forced to play from way behind in the bottom of the first, catcher Ka’ili Smith and center fielder Jessica Offutt got the Bulldogs off to a great start by drawing consecutive walks to christen the frame. The duo swiped a base and soon raced across the dish via a two-RBI single up the middle from third baseman Sam Lenahan, cutting UT’s lead to 6-2. A strikeout of designated player Brittany Bell and a sac bunt from second baseman Heidi Shape got Ivy Renfroe closer to getting out of the frame. Left fielder Jessica Cooley contributed a single to left that dropped in front of Davin, putting Bulldogs at the corners. Tennessee escaped the jam, however, as first baseman Shelby Fisher hit a ball to third that Chavanne corralled before tossing across the diamond to leave a pair of MSU runners on base.
After Shipman was left stranded at first following a two-out infield hit in the top of the second, MSU opened its half of the frame with a double off the left field wall by shortstop Erin Nesbit. That ended Ivy Renfroe’s stint in the circle as sister Ellen entered in a relief appearance. The first batter the new UT hurler faced, right fielder Brittany Gates, managed a perfect slap single to deep short for an infield single, placing a pair aboard with still no Bulldogs retired. Smith made it three consecutive hits, blasting a RBI double into the gap in right center as the Big Orange lead was cut to 6-3. With the potential tying run at the plate, Ellen Renfroe settled things down from there. The 6-0 right-hander struck out Offutt, got Lenahan to hit a liner to first and then K’ed Bell looking to leave a MSU duo stranded.
A lead-off walk by Tennessee’s Davin and a one-out free pass drawn by Burchell went for naught in the top of the third as a bouncer back to the circle and a sharp grounder to short left the pair in scoring position.
MSU’s Shape started the bottom of the third with a base knock through the right side of the infield and immediately took advantage of the UT infield’s rare lack of attention to steal second on the same play. A fly ball to mid-range right from Cooley was handled routinely by Dotson as the runner advanced up within 60 feet from pay dirt. UT’s pitcher responded to the threat with consecutive strikeouts, however, as Fisher went down looking and Nesbit swinging at a rise ball.
The Big Orange added two more tallies in the top of the fourth to nab an 8-3 advantage. A one-out walk to Dotson and a passed ball on Mississippi State’s catcher Smith set up a runner in scoring position. Shipman cashed in that tally via a sharp RBI single back through the infield. Leading 7-3 on the scoreboard with two retired after Shipman was caught attempting to swipe third, Gibson blasted her ninth HR of the campaign to push the advantage back to five tallies.
The Bulldogs managed to get the lead-off on base for the fifth straight inning in the bottom of the fifth as Bell drew a walk. The MSU occupant wasn’t out there for long as a strong throw from Lady Vol catcher Andrews to Shipman at second retired Bell via a caught stealing. With two retired following Ellen Renfroe’s sixth strikeout of the game, Cooley ripped a single through the left side of the infield and Fisher followed by blooping a base knock to left, making the previous caught stealing even more vital to UT’s efforts. Nesbit stepped into the batter’s box and ripped a shot right back to the circle. Ellen Renfroe leapt in the air to make the grab and tossed on to Brown at first, raising the Bulldog left on base total to eight through five complete frames.
Gibson continued her own personal onslaught with two retired in the top of the sixth. The Pasadena, Md., native followed a one-out single from Dotson with a RBI double that ended up at the base of the wall at the MSU Softball Stadium, expanding the lead to 9-3. Baker followed immediately with a shot back through the infield as Gibson rolled around easily from second to make it a seven-run advantage.
From there Ellen Renfroe settled in, retiring the Bulldogs one-two-three in the bottom of the sixth, before finally having her own personal streak of five consecutive MSU hitters retired end via a one-out base knock from Bell in the seventh. Shape blasted a shot deep to left center that appeared to have extra bases written all over it. Sophomore center fielder Tory Lewis raced over from her defensive position and made another running, back-handed “web gem” catch before running into the wall. The Chattanooga, Tenn., product quickly turned and easily worked with a relay to double off pinch runner Ashley Phillips at first for a game-ending double play.
LSU Softball Posts Second Straight Shutout at South Carolina
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Brittany Mack carried a no-hit bid one into the seventh inning, and Ashley Langoni connected for a two-run home run as the LSU softball team doubled its pleasure with another 5-0 victory over South Carolina Saturday at Beckham Field during the middle game of a SEC weekend series.
LSU (22-8, 6-1 SEC) won its 12th consecutive game over South Carolina (19-15, 2-8 SEC) and moved within a half-game of Alabama for the top spot in the SEC Western Division.
Mack recorded seven strikeouts against four walks. With the victory, the senior right-hander joined running mate Rachele Fico with an identical 10-4 record for the season. Mack also became the fifth Tiger pitcher to surpass 500 career strikeouts.
Jacee Blades and Ashley Langoni secured multi-hit performances to fuel the offense. Langoni smacked a two-run home run, her team-leading fourth round tripper of the season. For Blades, it was second straight two-hit effort. Allison Falcon and Juliana Santos also added RBIs for the Tigers.
LSU jumped out to an early 1-0 lead during the first inning. A.J. Andrews made the most of a leadoff walk. She advanced to second base on a Blades sacrifice bunt and moved to third base on an illegal pitch. Andrews sprinted home for the game’s first run via a Juliana Santos sacrifice fly.
“I liked the fact that the offense took control of the game early again, and Brittany Mack was extremely impressive on the mound,” head coach Beth Torina said. “The defense was fantastic early, made some great plays and allowed Brittany to throw her game. As always, she did a great job of keeping other team off-balanced.”
With one out in the third inning, Blades deposited a single to left field leading into the Langoni long ball to push the LSU advantage to 3-0. Langoni belted a 2-1 pitch to straight-away centerfield for her 27th career homer which enabled Langoni to move into a fifth-place tie with former All-American Tara Asbill (1997-2000) and Camile Harris (2003-06) on LSU’s all-time list. The two RBIs also vaulted Langoni past Christy Conner (2001-03) for sole possession of 10th place on that career list.
“I was seeing the ball and hitting it well even going back to yesterday,” Langoni said. “The problem was I was hitting it right at people. Today, I came out a lot more confident. She left one fat over the plate which allowed me to crush the ball over the fence. I’m very excited and honored to be in the company of that group of girls. They worked hard in building the tradition of our program.”
After surrendering an opening walk in the first inning, Mack retired 11 straight South Carolina hitters. The Gamecocks best opportunity to score came during the sixth inning. A pair of walks and a dropped fly ball filled the bases with one out. Mack dug deep to get a pair of ground balls to keep the score at 3-0.
“Our team played amazing for the second straight day,” Mack said. “The game plan was to throw a little more off-speed than usual because South Carolina is a very aggressive team that swings hard. In the sixth inning, I tried to stay relaxed when they loaded the bases. I took some deep breathes and knew I had to do my part after the two walks.”
LSU tacked on two insurance runs during the seventh inning. Tammy Wray and Andrews were issued free passes sandwiched between a Blades bunt single. Santos battled her way to a nine-pitch walk, and Falcon was plunked for the final margin of 5-0.
South Carolina’s Audrey Broyles was dealt the loss and dropped to 5-5 on the season. The Tigers struck for six hits, five earned runs and notched seven walks versus Broyles.
The series finale is slated for Sunday at 12 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.
“We definitely want to come out of this series with three wins,” Torina said. “We want to do that every time we can and know that sweeps are hard to come by in the SEC. Every time that opportunity presents itself, you have to take advantage of it.”
No. 1 Alabama Softball Sweeps Day Two of Easton Alabama Challenge
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The top-ranked Alabama softball team earned two more wins by downing No. 25 DePaul, 9-7, to open the day Saturday and then run-ruled Longwood, 11-0, to cap off day two of the Easton Alabama Challenge. With the pair of victories the Crimson Tide improve to 29-1 on the season.
Alabama smashed six home runs on the day, as five different players went deep for the Tide. Senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia led the charge at the plate with two home runs and five RBI. Four different players collected three hits and drove in three or more runs.
For the second day in a row the Tide earned a ranked win as it held on to beat the No. 25-ranked Blue Demons, 9-7. Jackie Traina earned her 17th straight victory and smashed her fourth home run of the season.
Traina was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored and three RBI and pitched all seven innings, allowing seven runs – five earned, on eight hits while striking out five. Reilly-Boccia tallied two hits, scored a run and drove in a run. Junior Kayla Braud also collected two hits and scored a run.
Alabama opened the game in a hurry with four runs in the first inning. The Tide powered its way to the four runs on the strength of two, two-out home runs. Reilly-Boccia drilled a solo home run and then sophomore Kaila Hunt smashed a three-run shot off the scoreboard.
The home run was the fifth on the year for Reilly-Boccia and the team-leading 10th on the season for Hunt.
After DePaul chipped away and pulled to within one run, Alabama answered with two of its own in the third. Traina once again helped her own cause by hitting a two-out, two-run homer to give the Tide a 6-3 lead.
The Tide added two more in the fifth to take an 8-3 lead. Reilly-Boccia started the scoring in the frame when she singled up the middle to plate Braud and then Traina struck again, this time doubling off the wall in right score pinch-runner Jazlyn Lunceford.
Alabama wrapped up its scoring when senior Jennifer Fenton smashed a single off the glove of the pitcher to score freshman Danielle Richard.
Once again the Tide used a big first inning, this time scoring seven runs in the opening frame to set the tone in an 11-0 run-rule victory over Longwood.
In her first collegiate start, freshman Chaunsey Bell batted a perfect 3-for-3 on the strength of her first career home run. Freshman pitcher Leslie Jury tossed her first career shutout, scattering just three hits while striking out three.
Reilly-Boccia hit her second first inning home run of the day, this time connecting on a three-run homer on the very first pitch she saw. After Bell tallied her first RBI of the game, junior Jackey Branham hit her first home run of the season – a two-run shot, to provide the punch in the frame.
After adding another in the second on a wild pitch, Bell hit a two-run homer in the third before Fenton scored on another wild pitch.
The run-rule victory was the 10th on the season for Alabama. The 11 runs marked the ninth time the Tide had tallied double-digits in runs. UA now sports 17 different players with at least one home run on the roster.
Alabama will wrap up the Easton Alabama Challenge when it faces Longwood on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.