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    SEC Sunday Softball Update

    Alabama 7, Longwood 2
    Florida 5, Arkansas 0
    Auburn 1, Kentucky 0
    Tennessee 8, Mississippi State 0 
    Georgia 8, Ole Miss 0
    LSU 9, South Carolina 0

    No. 1 Softball Downs Longwood to Claim Tournament Title

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Easton Alabama Challenge Most Valuable Player Jennifer Fenton laced an RBI triple to right center field, starting a three-run fifth inning that propelled the top-ranked Alabama softball team to a 7-2 victory over Longwood, Sunday afternoon at Rhoads Stadium. The win gave the Tide a perfect 4-0 record on the weekend, improving its overall mark to 30-1 on the year.

    Fenton came off the bench to collect two hits, two runs and drive in two while robbing a home run in the seventh inning. Junior Kayla Braud tallied two hits and scored twice while fellow junior Keima Davis also recorded a multi-hit game and scored twice.

    Freshman Leslie Jury capped off a great weekend by earning her second win in as many days to improve to 9-1 on the season. The rookie hurler allowed just one hit in 2 2/3 innings of relief of senior Amanda Locke. Jury finished the weekend with two wins and her first career save.

    The first hit for the Tide came in a loud way as Davis blasted a moon-shot over the wall in left-center to give Alabama a 1-0 lead in the third inning. UA continued the scoring in the frame when sophomore Jackie Traina blitzed a liner down the line in left to plate Fenton from second.

    After falling behind 2-0, Longwood made it interesting by adding a run in the fourth and fifth innings to even the score. The Tide then blew the game open in the fifth, when Braud led the inning off with a single and scored on Fenton’s triple. After Courtney Conley and Cassie Reilly-Boccia walked, Jackey Branham singled down the left field line to knock in two runs and extend the lead to 5-2.

    UA added two more runs in the sixth inning to pad its lead. Davis doubled down the left field line and advanced to third on a Braud single. Davis scored on a sacrifice-fly by Fenton to make it 6-2. Pinch-hitter Danielle Richard then singled down the left field line to score Braud to provide the final margin of victory.

    On top of Fenton being named tournament MVP after batting .545 (6-for-11) with four runs, a home run and a team-best seven RBI on the weekend, Reilly-Boccia, Braud and Branham also earned all-tournament team honors.


    No. 4 Gator Softball Sweeps Razorbacks Sunday, 5-0
    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 4 Florida softball team made it five-straight sweeps over the Razorbacks Sunday with a 5-0 victory at Bogle Park to wrap up the three-game set. Junior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) went 2-for-2 with one run and a RBI, senior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) went 2-for-3 with three runs and a RBI and freshman Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) was 3-for-4 on the day.
    Moultrie carried the Gators through the weekend, going 8-for-11 (.727) with three doubles and two homers, good for a 1.545 slugging percentage and .750 on-base mark. Throughout the three-game set, Florida rallied for six doubles and four home runs, while scoring 14 runs, compared to Arkansas’ two. Not far behind, Haeger went 7-for-10 in Fayetteville (.700) with a double, her team-leading ninth of the 2012 season, and a homer to complete the series.
    Freshman righty Alyssa Bache (Clearwater, Fla.) earned the start in the circle for the Orange and Blue Sunday, while sophomore ace Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) came on in relief in the bottom of the third. Bache worked the first two innings, allowing three hits and walking two with no runs, while Rogers worked the final five innings to earn the win and improve to 16-1 on the year with six strikeouts, while walking three and allowing two hits to complete the game.
    Florida jumped out of the gates early Sunday with a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, thanks to a Haeger base hit that sent Moultrie scampering for home after connecting for a one-out single of her own.
    After giving up two hits and walking one to load the bags in the bottom half of the first, Bache worked her way out of a jam, forcing a pop up and a line out for the final two outs to halt the Arkansas threat in the first frame.
    The Gators continued to produce in the second inning, as Horton led off with her fourth double of the year to get things started, while classmate Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) drew a walk. Next up, sophomore Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) dropped a sac bunt to advance both runners into scoring position. A Jessica Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.) fly out put two outs on the board, spurring a Razorback pitching change from Chelsea Cohen to Kimmy Beasley in the circle, but turned the Florida lineup over.
    A Beasley wild pitch allowed Horton to race home from third for the 2-0 advantage and a pop up ended the inning, but not before the Gators added to their lead.
    After a three-up, three-down performance for Bache in the bottom of the second, UF added a run with a Moultrie solo shot in the third frame, her second homer in as many days, making it eight for UF’s only senior this year. The Razorbacks were persistent in the bottom half of the inning, drawing a leadoff walk, followed by a base hit, as the Gators opted to bring in Rogers to finish it out.
    The righty forced a pop up to Damico at second before fanning two Razorback batters swinging to bring up the fourth, but after a scoreless fourth stanza for both squads, Florida tacked on another run thanks to a Horton RBI single through the left side to plate freshman Briana Little (Middleburg, Fla.), pinch running for Haeger, to extend the lead, 4-0, in favor of the Orange and Blue.
    The Hogs loaded the bags again in the bottom of the fifth with three walks, but Florida was able to escape after Rogers forced a pop-up to sophomore Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) at short.
    A quick sixth inning brought up the seventh and final stanza, where UF added an insurance run on a Coyle groundout that plated Moultrie for the 7-0 win.
    Chelsea Cohen (11-9), Friday and Saturday’s starter for the Razorbacks, also earned the nod Sunday and shouldered the loss after 1.2 innings, allowing UF’s first two runs on three hits. Cohen walked one and had no strikeouts before Kimmy Beasley came on to finish the game for Arkansas. Beasley gave up six hits, three Gator runs, walked three and fanned four in through the final 5.1 innings.


    Auburn Beats Kentucky

    Auburn, Ala.  –  Auburn’s Branndi Melero was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force home the winning run as the No. 21 Tigers softball rallied in the seventh inning for a 2-1 win over Kentucky in the Sunday series finale.
    Auburn improved to 24-9 overall and 3-5 in the Southeastern Conference. Kentucky dropped to 15-16 overall and 2-4 in the SEC.
    “I’m really proud of the way we battled,” Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. “We missed several scoring chances and it would have been easy to get deflated from that, but our team kept fighting and found a way to get the win.”
    Angel Bunner earned the win in relief to improve to 10-2. Bunner scattered three hits in four scoreless innings of work, walking two and striking out one. Lauren Schmalz started and pitched the first three innings, allowing one run (unearned) on two hits with one walk and no strikeouts.
    Chanda Bell took the loss to fall to 8-5. Bell started and went the distance, allowing two runs (both earned) on four hits with five walks and eight strikeouts.
    Kentucky took advantage of an Auburn error to plate the first run of the game. Kara Dill led off the game with a soft liner that Maris Medina mishandled at third. Dill took second on the error after the ball rolled into foul territory. Brittany Cervantes followed with a walk to put runners at second and first. Dill took third on a fly out to center and came in to score on a sac fly by Griffin Joiner for a 1-0 lead for the Wildcats.
    Bell was in control from the beginning for Kentucky. Bell issued a pair of two-out walks, one in the bottom of the first and one in the bottom of the third, with neither runner advancing to second base. Auburn’s first hit of the game came on a two-out double by Brooke Lathan in the bottom of the fourth. Lathan would be stranded at second, however, as Bell fanned Caitlin Jordan to end the inning.

    The Tigers mounted a scoring chance in the bottom of the sixth when Lauren Guzman led off with a triple off the wall in center. With the tying run at third and no outs, Bell picked up the first out with a swinging third strike of Melero.
    Caitlin Schultze drew a walk to put runners at third and first. Lathan then hit a sharp line drive back to the pitcher who fired to third to double-off Guzman for the final out of the inning.
    Auburn put the tying run on board to begin the game-winning rally in the bottom of the seventh when Amber Harrison drew a one-out walk. On a 2-2 pitch, Hilary Mavromat doubled off the wall in center to score Harrison and even the game at 1-1. After a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Bell hit Baylee Stephens to put runners at second and first.
    Bell then intentionally walked Guzman to load the bases and bring Melero to the plate. Melero fell behind 0-1 after swinging at the first pitch, but then took three straight pitches off the plate to go ahead in the count 3-1. Needing to throw a strike, Bell came inside and hit Melero to force home the winning run.



    STARKVILLE, Miss. – On Sunday at the MSU Softball Stadium in Starkville, Miss., a six-run fourth inning proved the big outburst in helping the #11 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (23-7, 7-4 Southeastern Conference) finish off its dominant series sweep over Mississippi State (18-15, 3-10 SEC), 8-0 (5 inn.).

    During the three-contest set, the Big Orange hit .364 overall as a squad and out-scored the Bulldogs by a commanding 26-3 clip.

    Junior pitcher Ivy Renfroe picked up her sixth victory of the 2012 campaign, scattering five hits, walking none and striking out three over a five-inning, complete-game shutout effort.

    At the plate senior designated player Shelby Burchell was a perfect 2-for-2 with a walk and two RBIs, junior right fielder Kat Dotson was 2-for-4 with a run scored and a RBI, junior first baseman Melissa Brown contributed a 1-for-2 performance with a walk and a RBI, and sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman was credited with her team-best 32nd RBI via a sacrifice fly.  Junior third baseman Raven Chavanne was also 1-for-3 with a walk and sophomore left fielder Melissa Davin went 1-for-3 with a triple and two tallies.

    “First of all, I am really proud of our team,” Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said.  “We played eight games in nine days in three different venues.  The first was in Fayetteville, Ark., then Tuscaloosa, Ala., and finally Starkville, Miss.  Winning six out of eight of those games against tough SEC competition on the road is what this conference is all about.  I thought our offense really started coming around, our pitching has remained strong, probably the strong point of our team right now.  I’m just very proud of the way we’ve played over this difficult stretch.”

    Tennessee’s offense threatened right off the bat in the top of the first as Chavanne led-off the match-up by drawing a four-pitch walk off MSU starter Stephanie Becker.  The Thousand Oaks, Calif., native swiped her team-leading 13th bag of the campaign and soon advanced to third by virtue of a passed ball charged to MSU catcher Ka’ili Smith.  With two retired junior second baseman Lauren Gibson (0-for-2, two walks) managed her own free pass, placing Lady Vols at the corners as UT attempted to score during the opening frame for the third straight game in the series.  Unfortunately for the Big Orange, a swinging strikeout left the duo stranded on the base paths.

    The Bulldogs recorded their initial hit and base runner with two down in the bottom of the first as third baseman Sam Lenahan laced a single into left center.  Renfroe responded strongly to the base knock, ending the frame by striking out left fielder Jessica Cooley swinging at a rise ball.

    Another lead-off walk, this one issued to UT’s Brown, got the Maroon & White defense in more trouble in the top of the second.  A shot through the infield for a single by Burchell, her first stolen base of 2012 and a fielder’s choice off the bat of senior catcher Ashley Andrews packed the bags full of Big Orange with still none retired.  Consecutive Lady Vol strikeouts threatened to de-rail the threat, but Dotson delivered a RBI single.  On the play Brown scored to make it 1-0, but a strong throw from right fielder Brittany Gates to the plate cut down Burchell attempting to score to conclude the threat.

    Bell attempted to bring the ‘Dogs right back in the bottom of the second, driving a double off the wall in right field to begin the frame.  Once again, UT’s 6-0 right-hander fought off the threat, striking out shortstop Erin Nesbit before getting solid defensive plays from Chavanne and Brown as Mississippi State’s Bell remained stuck 60 feet from pay dirt.

    The Lady Vol offense manufactured one of its patented two-out RBIs in the top of the third to nab a 2-0 advantage.  Davin stepped to the dish and lifted a high fly ball that appeared to be lost in the sun, dropping in between Bulldog outfielders for a triple.  Brown successfully hacked at the first pitch from Becker, lacing a run-scoring base hit just inside the line as Davin trotted home easily from 60 feet away. 

    Renfroe settled in during the bottom of the third, retiring the Bulldogs in order as center fielder Jessica Offutt popped out, Smith struck out swinging and Heidi Shape grounded out to second.

    Sophomore center fielder Tory Lewis managed the third lead-off walk of the contest for the Big Orange, starting off the top of the fourth with a free pass from Becker, and quickly swiped second to reach scoring position.  Chavanne dropped a perfect bunt for a hit that was thrown away at first as Lewis scored to make it 3-0.  With UT’s lead-off speedster stationed at second, Dotson laced a base knock into the outfield.  The Savannah, Ga., product noticed no one covering second and continued into the bag for a double as Chavanne rolled into third.  Shipman blasted a drive plenty far enough on to the outfield grass for a sacrifice fly as Tennessee’s advantage expanded to four tallies.  Gibson walked, concluding Becker’s stint in the circle as Misty Flesher entered in relief.  The new pitcher’s defense let her down immediately as a miscue on a Davin bouncer allowed UT’s fifth tally to cross the dish.  A two-RBI single from Burchell and another MSU error, this one on a ground ball from Lewis that allowed Burchell to score, set the final offensive damage at 8-0.

    With State trying to get back into the contest, Lenahan did her part by christening the bottom of the fourth with a double into the right center field gap.  Following an infield pop-up, first baseman Brittany Bell bounced a single up the middle as the lead runner moved to third with one retired.  Chavanne raced over near the MSU dugout to nab a pop-up off the bat of Nesbit for the second out of the frame.  With pinch runner Ashley Phillips occupying second following a steal, designated player Chrissie Rovtar hit a chopper that Gibson handled as the Bulldogs failed to get on the board.


    Softball Pounds South Carolina for Series Sweep

    COLUMBIA, S.C. – A.J. Andrews and Juliana Santos provided three RBIs apiece as the LSU softball team scored in five of six innings en route to a 9-0 six-inning victory over South Carolina to secure a SEC series sweep Sunday at Beckham Field. 

    LSU (23-8, 7-1 SEC) extended its winning streak to a season-long seven straight games. With the victory, the Tigers also vaulted into a first-place tie with Alabama atop the SEC Western Division standings.

    LSU won its 13th consecutive game over South Carolina (19-16, 2-9 SEC) and have outscored the Gamecocks by an 89-3 margin during the 13-game run dating back to the 2008 season. 

    “It was a great series all across the board,” head coach Beth Torina said. “I thought we threw excellent on the mound, executed well offensively and played solid defense. The addition of Allison Falcon and Juliana Santos back to the lineup was huge. We swung the bat really well, did a fantastic job of hitting within our plan and were very aggressive. Scoring in the first inning of every ballgame this weekend definitely helped us out”

    The Tigers raced out to a 1-0 advantage on an Ashley Langoni solo home run during the first inning. For Langoni, it was her second dinger in as many days. It also marked Langoni’s 28th career homer, which allowed her to move past former All-American Tara Asbill (1997-2000) and Camille Harris (2003-06) into sole possession of fifth place on LSU’s all-time list. The RBI for Langoni enabled her to draw even with Stephanie Hill (2003-06) for ninth place in that category.

    LSU took advantage of a South Carolina fielding error on the infield with two outs in the second inning. The play afforded the Tigers an extra out and filled the bases. On a 0-1 offering, Andrews cashed in and cranked a three-run triple into the right centerfield gap to push the LSU lead to 4-0. The three RBIs for Andrews were a career-high. 

    The Tigers added a run on a Tammy Wray bases loaded walk during the third inning, and Santos followed with a two-run dinger to left field in the fourth inning to make it 7-0.

    Santos and Cassie Trosclair tacked on RBI singles during the sixth inning for the final margin of 9-0. Santos matched a season-high with three hits and set a new season-mark with three RBIs, while Langoni crossed the plate four times to equal a LSU single-game record. 

    “It’s definitely a wonderful feeling to get three big SEC road wins under our belt,” Santos said. “A.J. and Jacee were great at the top of the lineup all weekend long. Everyone stepped up, and there’s no doubt it was a complete team effort. Everybody contributed, which is great for us going forward.”

    Rachele Fico sat down the first 12 South Carolina batters she faced before being touched up for a pair of singles in the fifth inning. The junior right-hander garnered two Ks and improved to 11-4 on the season. She gave way to Meghan Patterson, who worked a scoreless sixth stanza to wrap up LSU’s 15th shutout for the 2012 campaign.

    “All three pitchers looked great and were dominant at different points during the weekend,” Torina said. “They made big pitches when we needed them to. They also kept a much-improved and aggressive South Carolina offense off-balanced.”


    Seven Run Seventh Lifts Georgia Past Ole Miss

    OXFORD, Miss.—A seven-run seventh inning lifted the No. 11 University of Georgia softball team to an 8-0 victory over Ole Miss on Sunday. With the win, Georgia earned its first sweep of the Southeastern Conference season and improves to 27-5 overall and 7-2 in SEC play. Ole Miss falls to 13-15 on the season and 2-6 in the SEC.

    Tess Sito and Paige Wilson each finished with a pair of hits on the day. Sito went 2-for-3 with a run scored and a pair of RBI, while Wilson picked up one RBI.

    Erin Arevalo threw her fifth complete-game shutout of the season to improve to 12-2 overall. She scattered just three hits over seven innings and struck out eight. Kendall Bruning took the loss to fall to 11-7 overall. She allowed six runs, three earned, on six hits and three walks in 6.2 innings in the circle. Lauren Lindsey and Erinn Jayjohn combined for 0.1 innings of work, allowing two runs on four walks.

    The contest was a defensive battle until Georgia went up 1-0 in the fifth. Georgia loaded the bases with two outs after a Couey single, Gracie Goulder walk and Sito hit. Ashley Pauly then brought in the run after she got a walk on a full count.

    Georgia secured the win in the top of the seventh with six runs in the inning. With Goulder on first after a fielding miscue, Sito powered a triple to right center for the first run of the inning. Kristyn Sandberg then put a double into play to score Sito and Pauly that put the Bulldogs on top 4-0. With two away, Wilson singled to left field to score pinch runner Niaja Griffin from third and allowed Georgia to take a 5-0 lead. Pinch runner Tiesha Reed crossed the plate on a wild pitch that put Georgia up 6-0. Christine Olney scored the seventh run of the game after Anna Swafford reached on a fielder’s choice and a Rebel miscue. Brittney Hubbard plated the final run of the game, when Sito drew a bases-loaded walk.