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    SEC Softball Today: March 28

    softBALL RESULTS
    Georgia 1, Georgia Southern 0
    Tulsa 6, Arkansas 0
    Louisville 1, Kentucky 0
    Mississippi State 4, Mississippi Valley State 3
    South Carolina 12, Winthrop 2
    South Florida 4, Florida 1
    LSU 4, McNeese State 0

    No. 9 Georgia Takes 1-0 Win Over Georgia Southern

    ATHENS, Ga. - The No. 9 University of Georgia softball team took a 1-0 win over in-state foe Georgia Southern on Wednesday night. With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 28-5 on the year while the Eagles fall to 20-11.

    Senior Erin Arevalo earned the win to move her season mark to 13-2. Arevalo knocked out 10 strikeouts while giving up two hits in her 12th complete game of the season and sixth shutout. GSU’s Sarah Purvis took the loss after giving up two hits while striking out five and walking one. Purvis is now 10-6 for the year.

    The Bulldogs took an early 1-0 lead that was ignited by an Ashley Pauly single to right center. Kristyn Sandberg then nailed a single up the middle to advance Pauly to second before Ashley Razey walked to load the bases. Christine Olney then brought in the lone run after she walked on a full count.

    Georgia is back at home this weekend, as the Bulldogs take on SEC rival No. 4 Florida starting on Friday, March 31 at 8 p.m. Friday’s game will be featured on ESPNU while Sunday’s finale will air on Fox Sports South at 1 p.m. Each of the games will be broadcast locally on the radio on Newstalk 1340 WGAU.



    Arkansas falls to Tulsa
                   
    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas softball team fell to Tulsa 6-0 moving its overall record to 18-13.
                   
    Tulsa got on the board first scoring one run in the top of the first. After placing a runner on second off of a bunt followed by a wild pitch, Skylar Swanson hit a double to the left field wall bringing in a run to give the Golden Hurricane the 1-0 lead.
                   
    Arkansas grabbed a clutch defensive play in the top of the third when Clarisa Navarro threw out a runner at home denying the score and keeping the game at 1-0 in favor of Tulsa.
                   
    The Razorbacks recorded their first hit of the game in the bottom of the fourth when Navarro hit a single to left-center field. Amanda Geile then grabbed a sacrifice bunt, advancing Navarro to second. Chloe Oprzedek earned first base off of a walk followed by Sierra Bronkey being hit by a pitch to load the bases. Unfortunately, the Razorbacks left three runners on base that inning keeping the score 1-0 Tulsa.
                   
    The Golden Hurricane struck again in the top of the fifth when Samantha Cobb blasted a homerun over the left-center field wall with one runner already on second moving its lead to 3-0.
                   
    Arkansas put another runner in scoring position in the bottom of the sixth after Navarro singled up the middle. Geile was hit by a pitch advancing her to first and Navarro to second, but once again the Razorbacks could not bring a runner home.
                   
    “That was a disappointing game for us tonight,” said head coach Mike Larabee. “We are not going to wins games if we don’t score runs.”
                   
    The Golden Hurricane scored three more runs in the top of the seventh inning. The Razorbacks could not place a runner on base in the bottom of the seventh, giving Tulsa the 6-0 victory.
                   
    “We now are going to have to regroup to come out strong against LSU this weekend,” said Larabee.

    Arkansas is back in action Friday at 6 p.m. when they open a series with LSU in Baton Rouge, La.  Live stats and a live blog will be available at ArkansasRazorbacks.com



    Louisville Escapes Feisty Cats with 1-0 Win

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – Despite the Kentucky pitching duo of Chanda Bell and Rachel Riley striking out eight Louisville batters, the UK softball team fell 1-0 in a pitchers dual to No. 11 Louisville, Wednesday night at the UK Softball Complex.

    Bell struck out seven batters in five innings of work, falling to 8-6 on the season. Louisville pitcher Tori Collins improves to 13-0 on the season, only allowing two hits while striking out four UK batters. Riley pitched two innings of scoreless softball, including a strikeout.

    With the loss Kentucky drops to 15-17 on the season, while Louisville stretches its record to a perfect 28-0 mark. The Cardinals are the only remaining team in the country without a blemish on their record. This marked the lowest-scoring output of the season for Louisville who as a unit bats .341 on the season.

    Kentucky’s Brittany Cervantes continued to perform well at the plate as of late, launching a double to center field in the bottom of the first inning to give the Wildcats their first base runner of the night. Consecutive outs prevented the Wildcats from bringing her in for an early tally.

    After Bell retired nine of the first 10 batters she faced, including striking out five, Cardinal right fielder Kristin Austin hit her first home run of the season to left field. The homer came in the top of the fourth inning to give the Cardinals the 1-0 edge and it would prove to be the only scoring the visitor’s would need in the win.

    In the bottom of the second inning, Wildcat first basemen Lauren Cumbess laced a ball to left center that was tipped over the left fielder enabling Cumbess to round to second and move into prime scoring position. Again Kentucky could not string together hits to bring in the runner.

    With one down in the bottom of the sixth, Kara Dill laced a single through the right side. After a wild pitch by Cardinal pitcher Chelsea Leonard, Dill advanced to second. A groundout ended the Wildcat threat in the bottom half of the frame.

    In the bottom of the seventh, with Ginny Carroll advancing to first on a walk and Lauren Cumbess at the plate with two outs, Cumbess hit a blooper just over the first basemen’s head which fell after the Cards’ second basemen, Katie Keller, bobbled the ball and dropped it into shallow right field. Cumbess stopped at first, with Carroll advancing to third on the erroneous play. The Wildcats left two runners on in the bottom of the last frame to end the game 1-0.

    UK will resume Southeastern Conference action and head to Knoxville, Tenn., to take on the No. 9/10 Tennessee Lady Vols for a three-game series beginning Friday night at 6:00 p.m. ET.



    Delta Dramatics Give State Softball 4-3 Extra-Inning Win At MVSU

    Itta Bena, Miss. – Softball had an international flavor Wednesday night, as Mississippi State (19-15) defeated host Mississippi Valley State (17-16) by a 4-3 margin on international tiebreaker rules in the eighth inning at the MVSU Softball Complex. The extra-inning win was the first for the Maroon and White since a 9-8 triumph against Florida State in eight frames on March 11, 2011.

    “It was a lot of poise, patience, discipline and maturity,” head coach Vann Stuedeman said. “We will definitely grow from this experience because we know we can come through in the end. We just have to keep staying patient and know it is going to happen. Brittany Bell has been coming through for us all year long, and tonight was no exception.”

    The Bulldogs would have never played in extras if it was not for Bell, whose only hit of the contest was a game-tying two-run home run with MSU down to its last five outs. Sophomore third baseman Sam Lenahan went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI single, while fellow sophomore Heidi Shape registered the game-winning RBI in the eighth inning.

    Senior right-handed pitcher Misty Flesher nabbed her third win of the season (3-1), pitching 2.1 clutch innings to end the game with just one hit allowed. Starting the game in the circle was junior lefty Stephanie Becker, who kept State in the game by striking out six Devilettes in as many innings of work. The Chicago native gave up three runs, but just one of them was earned.

    The home team jumped on the board first in the second inning, which started with a leadoff single by second baseman Kishti Kamaka. She moved to second on a groundout and eventually scored on a single through the right side by shortstop Jessika Sandoval.

    Both teams played a scoreless third frame before the Bulldogs barked back with a run in the top of the fourth. Sophomore Jessica Offutt started the inning with an infield single to second base. The speedy center fielder stole second and tapped the dish when Lenahan ripped a pitch hard and low up the middle for an RBI single.

    Deadlocked at one in the bottom of the fifth, the Delta Devilettes took the lead with a two-run home run by catcher Nicole Burr. With one out, designated player Xiomara Perez singled up the middle on a 2-2 pitch. Following an out by Becker, Burr stepped up to bat. On a full count, the three-hole hitter popped up to MSU senior catcher Ka’ili Smith. The Hawaiian dropped the ball a few feet behind home, giving Burr a second chance. The second chance was all she needed, as she crushed the next pitch over the center field wall for a home run and a 3-1 lead in favor of the Red and Green.

    Down to its last five outs, State responded with a two-run four bagger of its own to tie the game in the top of the six. Lenahan drew a one-out free pass, and after freshman Ashley Phillips pinch ran for the sophomore, Bell blasted a no-doubt barrel shot deep into the Delta night for the game-tying home run.

    Both teams played scoreless softball in the seventh to force extra innings, leading to international tiebreaker rules in the eighth. The two squads led off each half of their frame with the last out from the previous inning on second base, but it was State that capitalized on the situation. With Offutt starting on second in the top half of the eighth, Lenahan grounded out to the shortstop. Bell came up next and was intentionally walked as a result of her sixth-inning dinger. The duo then advanced to second and third respectively on a wild pitch. Shape strutted to the plate next, and on the first pitch sliced a groundball to the MVSU shortstop. The Devilette threw home to catch Offutt, but was not in time as the eventual winning run crossed the dish.

    With a rabid crowd increasing in number as the sun went down on the Delta, MVSU made it interesting in the bottom of the eighth. Left fielder Brianna Holmes was placed on second and was immediately joined on the bases when State intentionally walked Burr, who hit the go-ahead round-tripper in the fifth. Flesher then forced third baseman Alex Robertson to hit a comebacker to the crafty veteran in the circle, as MSU notched its first out. Both runners advanced on the play, putting the game-winning run on second. On an 0-2 pitch, Kamaka lined it to MSU shortstop Erin Nesbit, who caught it and flipped it to Shape at second to double up Burr for the game-ending double play.

    Starkville’s team now returns home for a three-game SEC weekend series against No. 2 Alabama at the MSU Softball Stadium.



    Gamecock Bats Bounce Back with 12-2 Win in Five at Winthrop
                   
    ROCK HILL, S.C. – South Carolina (20-16) posted 12 hits in a 12-2 win in five innings over Winthrop (11-21) at Terry Field on Wednesday night.

    Gamecock freshman Kristen Struett had a memorable first start, going 2-for-3 with a home run, two runs scored and four driven in while also adding a complete-game win in the circle, allowing two earned runs on four hits and five walks. She struck out one. Senior third baseman Evan Childs and sophomore right fielder Chelsea Hawkins both went 2-for-3 with two RBI. Six other Gamecocks had hits, with junior shortstop Samie Garcia, senior leftfielder Kaitlin Westfall and junior right fielder Hannah Milks all scoring twice.

    The Gamecocks tallied a season-best nine runs in the third, sending 13 batters to the plate in the frame. Childs started the barrage with a two-RBI double, scoring Garcia and senior centerfielder Lauren Lackey. Hawkins doubled in two more runs, driving home Westfall and sophomore second baseman Dana Hathorn. Struett plated Milks with a single up the middle, while Garcia drove in Hawkins with a single. Both Struett and senior pinch runner Kylie Morin scored on an error by the Winthrop second baseman. Hathorn ended the frame with her RBI single that brought home Garcia.

    Struett wrapped up the Gamecock scoring in the third when she sent the 1-1 pitch over the wall in left-center for a three-run homer, her first blast as a Gamecock. That scored Westfall and Milks after Westfall singled to start the inning and Milks reached on an error.

    The Eagles got a run in the second on Alex White’s RBI single, scoring Taylor Wright from second after she reached on a fielder’s choice. Wright struck again in the fifth, getting a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded, scoring McKenzi Corn on the play.

    Winthrop starter Chelsey Schoenfeldt (5-12) got the loss for the Eagles, giving up three earned runs on six hits and a walk in 3.1 innings. She struck out two. Three other Eagle pitchers appeared in the third, with all giving up at least a run.

    The Gamecocks come back home to face Longwood in a Saturday doubleheader slated to start at 1 p.m. at Beckham Field.



    No. 4 Florida Edged, 4-1, by No. 21 USF in Non-Conference Clash Wednesday

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Despite pounding out six hits as a team, led by freshman Bailey Castro’s (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) 2-for-3 performance Wednesday, the No. 4 Florida softball squad dropped just its third game of the season, falling 4-1 to No. 21 USF in a mid-week, non-conference match up in front of 1,089 Gator fans at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. For the second time this season, the two squads met as Florida out-lasted USF, 3-2, in eight innings Feb. 12 in season-opening tournament action in Tampa.

    A sharper USF squad connected for eight hits, capitalized on two Gator defensive miscues and rallied behind ace Sara Nevins, who owned the nation’s best ERA (0.55) entering the match-up, to snap Florida’s 16-game home win streak. The Bulls jumped on top of the Gators from the get-go, putting up two quick runs in the first inning, while following with two in the third for their four overall to improve to 30-5 on the campaign. The Gators moved to 29-3 overall and are now 4-3 on the season against Top-25 competition.

    For the 12th time this season, Florida freshman Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) earned the nod in the circle, working her sixth complete contest of the year. Haeger fanned four, but walked five and gave up two earned runs on eight USF hits, shouldering her second loss of the season (9-2).

    Like Haeger, Nevins (17-2) went the distance, walking three and retiring three Gators by strikeout. Nevins gave up two hits to Castro, who tallied her first multiple-hit game donning a Gator uniform, while Haeger knocked in UF’s sole run on a long ball in the fourth. Juniors Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.), Sam Holle (Tampa, Fla.) and Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) had one hit apiece.

    In the defensive battle Wednesday, both teams left crucial runners on base, as the Gators stranded eight, while USF left 12 Bulls on. Florida used a strong defensive play to keep the Bulls from extending the lead in the sixth inning. With one out and two runners in scoring position in the top of the stanza, Horton fielded a bunt that dropped right in front of the dish and made a heads-up play to tag D’Anna Devine, who tried to score from third on the play, at home.

    Likewise, the Bulls turned two double plays early to halt UF’s offensive rhythm, but Florida countered by catching Devine on the base path trying to swipe second, showing some defensive prowess of its own early.

    South Florida used RBI from Kourtney Salvarola, Janine Richardson and Laura Fountain, capitalizing on 2-for-3 efforts from Devine and sophomore Stephanie Medina to down Florida for the first time since April 13, 2005, ending UF’s 11-game winning streak over the Bulls.

    On deck for the Gators is a three-game road swing at SEC East rival No. 9/10 Georgia. The series begins Friday at 8 p.m. in Athens, Ga., at Jack Turner Stadium. Florida will make its 2012 national television debut on ESPNU in the series opener with Georgia Friday, as Beth Mowins, Jennie Finch Daigle and Michele Smith call the action from Athens. Sunday’s series finale with the Bulldogs will air live on Fox Sports South in the Atlanta market and on Fox Sports Florida statewide, with Dave Neal and Cheri Kempf.

    The series against the Bulldogs will be a highly anticipated match-up, as the Gators will be looking to avenge a Dawg sweep in Gainesville last season. For the first time since 2006, UGA swept UF, with UF holding an eight-game win streak between the 2006 and 2011 Georgia sweeps. Last time out in Athens in 2008, Florida took three from Georgia, 5-0, 9-5, 5-2.



    LSU Downs McNeese State for Fourth Straight Shutout

    LAKE CHARLES, La. – Brittany Mack fired a four-hitter as the LSU softball team extended its season’s long winning streak to eight games, and the Tigers claimed their fourth straight shutout, a 4-0 victory over McNeese State Wednesday at Cowgirl Diamond.

    LSU (24-8) also has won 21 of its last 25 games dating back to Feb. 19 and ended McNeese State’s (20-9) run of five consecutive wins.

    Mack, the reigning SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week, won her eighth straight decision since March 3 and improved to 11-4 on the season. She fanned six batters versus two walks to secure LSU’s 16th shutout of the season. 

    After a leadoff triple during the first inning, Mack sat down 10 batters in a row. Five of the seven McNeese State runners she stranded were in scoring position. 

    “We definitely faced a quality opponent tonight in McNeese State, and we knew they were someone we couldn’t take lightly,” head coach Beth Torina said. “We put Brittany Mack on the mound, approached it like one of the tougher games on our schedule and we found a way to win.”

    Offensively, LSU was fueled by Allison Falcon’s 2-for-3 effort at the plate. Ashley Applegate, Jacee Blades and Ashleigh Kuhn also recorded hits for the Tigers.

    “Allison is a tough out at the plate,” Torina said. “I feel that she always has quality at-bats and is going to make something happen by putting the ball in play hard. There’s no doubt that she’s a difference maker in our lineup.”

    LSU broke through for a trio of runs during the fourth inning. Falcon smashed a one-out single to centerfield, while Applegate followed with a double into the right centerfield gap.

    After Lauren Houston was hit-by-a-pitch to fill the bases, Falcon crossed the plate with LSU’s first run via a wild pitch, and Applegate alertly scored from second base after a throwing error by MSU catcher Ashley Modzelewski. The Tigers made it 3-0 on a Katie Roux fielding miscue.

    LSU tacked on another run in the fifth inning. With runners on the corners, Ashley Langoni and Falcon executed a double steal to perfection to push the lead to 4-0. Falcon got caught in a rundown in between first and second base, which allowed Langoni to sprint home and slide around the tag.

    Tiffany Denham was tagged with the loss and fell to 7-3 for the season. She was touched up for four runs, one earned, on five hits.  

    “Coming off a great weekend at South Carolina, we knew we had to be focused for McNeese State,” Falcon said. “We had to play at our best to come in and get the job done. This win contributes to the momentum we are building. Our defense is doing well, our pitching is phenomenal and our hitting is coming along.”

    LSU returns home and plays host to Arkansas for a three-game weekend series at Tiger Park. Game times are slated for 6 p.m. [Friday], 4 p.m. [Saturday] and 1 p.m. [Sunday].

    All three games of the series will have live video, 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 Lowe 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.