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    SEC Softball Today: March 30

    softBALL RESULTS
    Kentucky 5, Tennessee 3
    LSU 1, Arkansas 0
    Alabama 5, Mississippi State 4
    Auburn 9, Ole Miss 5
    Georgia 3, Florida 0 (rain, 7th inning)

    Weaver Leads Wildcats to Upset of No. 9 Tennessee, 5-3

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Behind a gem of a pitching performance from sophomore Ellen Weaver and offensive firepower from junior Kara Dill and sophomore Ginny Carroll the Kentucky softball team earned a 5-3 upset of No. 9/10 Tennessee on the Lady Vols’ home field to begin a three-game series Friday night. The win marks the third upset of a top-25 ranked team in UK’s last five games and is the second consecutive week UK has earned a road victory to begin a conference series.

    Weaver was outstanding in her first conference start of the season as she worked five innings. She allowed just six hits and three runs, with just one coming in as earned. She struck out three and walked just one. Senior Chanda Bell tossed two innings of relief to earn her second save of the season with a trio of strikeouts and yielding a mere two hits.

    Kentucky improves to 16-17 on the season and 3-4 in Southeastern Conference action. Tennessee falls to 25-8 and 7-5 in league play. UT’s starting pitcher, Ellen Renfroe, dropped just her second loss of the season after beginning 18-1 to start the year.

    Dill and Carroll led the offensive effort for the Wildcats as UK notched nine total hits in the win. Dill was 3-for-4 with a single, double and triple to mark the third time this season she has achieved that feat. Carroll was 2-for-4 with a double and a home run while driving in a run and scoring twice.

    Kentucky plated three scores in the top of the third to go ahead 3-1. Carroll opened the inning by lacing a double off the glove of UT’s third baseman. Dill then smacked a single up the middle and Carroll was able to scoot all the way home for the inning’s first score. The swift base runner moved to second on the throw home to advance into scoring position.

    Senior Brittany Cervantes then delivered an RBI-single into the right-center gap to give the visitor’s their first lead of the game. UK then logged its fourth consecutive hit as senior Rachel Riley placed a ball into left field and Cervantes was able to move to third when the fielder allowed the ball to roll beyond her. UK’s senior third baseman would come home when Tennessee’s pitcher, Ellen Renfroe, misplayed a grounder back to the pitching circle for the final run of the inning and a two-run edge.

    Carroll stretched UK’s lead to 4-1 with her team-leading fifth home run of the season with a solo shot over the left field fence with two outs in the top of the sixth.

    After Tennessee bridged the gap to just a one-run lead in the home half of the sixth, Kentucky extended the lead back to two runs with a tally in the top of the seventh. Riley led off the stanza by reaching by way of a walk. She’d move to second on a wild pitch and then come home on consecutive singles from Weaver and Krystal Smith for the 5-3 edge.

    Tennessee made things interesting in the home half of the seventh in its last-ditch comeback effort. The Lady Vols loaded the bases with no outs behind an infield single and consecutive walks. Bell induced a grounder to Smith at second who smartly tossed it home and then catcher Griffin Joiner’s heads-up play enabled her to whip it to first to complete a game-changing double play. With runners in scoring position and now two outs, Bell struck out the final out for her third K of the game to escape the jam and preserve the Wildcat victory.

    Dill opened the game and swung on the first pitch dipping a ball over the center fielder’s head and rounding all the way to third for a triple. Riley logged a one-out hit by pitch to place runners on the corners. A groundout back to the pitcher enabled the runners to move into scoring position, but the inning ended without UK pushing across a run with a pop-up to the pitcher.

    Tennessee plated a score in the home half of the first to earn a 1-0 lead. Raven Chavanne led off the inning with a triple to right center and a two-out slow-roller along the first base line enabled the quick-footed Chavanne to come home. Weaver escaped further damage with a lineout to Kara Howard in center leaving two more Lady Vols aboard.

    After the Wildcats fell in order in the top half of the second, the Lady Vols opened their half of the frame by registering a leadoff single. She’d move all the way to third, but a groundout back to Bell at first ended the inning without the home team adding to its advantage.

    Weaver sat the Lady Vols down in order in the home half of the third, and Dill notched her third hit of the game in the top of the fourth this time a double into shallow center. UK would leave her stranded with a fly-out to center ending the frame.

    UK’s lefty worked around a one-out single in the home half of the fourth and escaped without allowing a Lady Vol beyond first base.

    Freshman Griffin Joiner reached with a one-out walk in the top of the fifth, but the Wildcats could not string together any offensive output leaving her standing at first.

    Weaver again escaped a jam in the fifth with a one-out single, but the UK lefty did not allow the Lady Vols to come around and score.

    The Lady Vols bridged the gap to within one with a pair of runs in the home half of the sixth. Tennessee logged a pair of hits and benefited from a Wildcat error to plate the tallies making the score 4-3 in favor of UK.

    The teams will resume their three-game set with a 2 p.m. ET first pitch on Saturday.



    LSU Defeats Arkansas Walk-Off Style in Series Opener

    BATON ROUGE – Rachele Fico racked up a season-high 11 strikeouts en route to her ninth shutout of the season as the LSU softball team secured a 1-0 walk-off victory over Arkansas Friday in-front of a season’s best 1,389 fans at Tiger Park.

    LSU (25-8, 8-1 SEC) pushed its winning streak to season’s long nine consecutive games and has won 14 of the last 15 meetings versus Arkansas (18-14, 2-10 SEC). The Tigers also set a new program record by posting their fifth consecutive SEC shutout. The previous mark was four straight SEC shutouts on five different occasions, the latest coming during the 2011 season.  

    “It was huge getting the win tonight against Arkansas,” Fico said. “They’ve beaten some quality teams this year, so you just have to respect an opponent like that. We had to just keep fighting throughout the game. We had a couple of hits throughout the game. We just had to piece them together. We were finally able to do that in the seventh inning, and we came up really big.”

    The 11 strikeouts for Fico enabled her to vault past Ashley Lewis (1999-2001) for sole possession of seventh place on LSU’s all-time list. The junior right-hander was touched up for trio of singles and didn’t allow an Arkansas runner to reach third base. With the victory, Fico moved to 12-4 on the season.

    LSU broke through for the game’s only run during the seventh inning. Pinch hitter Simone Heyward drew a leadoff walk, while A.J. Andrews and Jacee Blades followed with bunt singles. A throwing error by Arkansas third baseman Chloe Oprzedek on Blades’ hit allowed Heyward to scoot home for the win.

    “That [the Heyward walk] was a key,” head coach Beth Torina said. “It’s so nice to have so many options like that on our bench. It’s so nice that she’s able to come in and have a quality at-bat like that. It shows how focused she was throughout the seven innings.”

    The top six hitters in the LSU lineup all produced hits highlighted by Andrews’ 2-for-4 performance. It was her fifth multi-hit effort in her last 11 games.  Ashley Langoni notched a double and coaxed a pair of walks, while Allison Falcon ripped her first triple of the season.

    The Razorbacks’ Chelsea Cohen was tagged with the tough-luck loss and fell to 11-10 on the season. She notched two strikeouts against three walks. 

    “We definitely need to have a better plan with [Chelsea] Cohen,” Torina said. “We don’t know what our adjustments will be, but we’ll sit down and talk about it. We definitely need to do something to be able to put the ball into play a little bit more consistently.”

    Game two of the series is set for Saturday at 4 p.m. with 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 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.

    Free admission to the ballpark is available for all fans. There are a limited number of reserved seats available in sections 101 and 107 on a first-come, first-serve basis along with standing-room only admission to the berm located in left field.

    Season tickets holders are still being asked to bring their tickets to Saturday's game to be able to sit in their normal chair-back and bleacher seats. Gates will open 90 minutes prior to first pitch.



    No. 2 Alabama Softball Opens Series with 5-4 Win


    STARKVILLE, Miss. – A bases loaded walk in the seventh inning helped lift the second-ranked Alabama softball team to a 5-4 victory over Mississippi State, Friday night at the MSU Softball Stadium. With the victory the Crimson Tide improve to 33-1 overall and 10-1 in Southeastern Conference play.

    Sophomore pitcher Jackie Traina earned her 20th straight victory, allowing four runs – two earned on six hits while striking out nine.

    Senior Amanda Locke paced the Tide at the plate with two hits and two RBI while senior Jennifer Fenton walked three times, scored three times and tied a school record with four stolen bases.

    Fenton led off the seventh inning with a leadoff walk, stole second and then after the Tide loaded the bases senior Jazlyn Lunceford drew a four-pitch walk to send Fenton home for what turned out to be the game-winning run.

    Alabama once again put runs on the board in the first inning. Fenton was able to break the ball loose from the glove of catcher Kaili Smith to score on a double steal. Locke then followed that up with a single to center to plate sophomore Kaila Hunt from second.

    After MSU scored two unearned runs in the third and then took the lead on a Erin Nesbit two-run home run in the fourth, the Tide scored two in the fifth to even up the score.

    Locke tattooed a double off the wall in left for her second RBI of the game and then Lunceford singled up the middle to plate pinch-runner Danielle Richard. Both runs came with two outs.

    Alabama will continue the series with Mississippi State as the two teams will meet at the MSU Softball Stadium on Saturday at 1 p.m.



    No. 24 Auburn Softball Rallies To Take 9-5 Win In 10 Innings Over Ole Miss

    Auburn, Ala.  –  Brooke Lathan drove in the game-tying and game-winning runs as the No. 24 Auburn softball team rallied from a three-run deficit to claim a 9-5 win in 10 innings over Ole Miss in the Friday night series opener.
                   
    Auburn improved to 25-11 overall and 4-7 in the Southeastern Conference. Ole Miss dropped to 14-17 overall and 2-7 in the SEC. The Tigers and Rebels play at 2 p.m. Saturday.
                   
    “This was a big win for us,” Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. “Ole Miss really took the momentum when they took the lead in the second inning. But our team hung in there and really fought. Lauren Schmalz did a great job for us tonight. She really kept them from getting anything going and when they did put runners on, she got tough and shut them down.”
                   
    Lauren Schmalz earned the win in relief to improve to 7-4. Schmalz pitched six and two-thirds innings, scattering five hits, issuing two walks and striking out five. Jenee Loree started and went three and one-third innings. Loree allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits with two walks and one strikeout.
                   
    Kendall Bruning took the loss in a complete-game effort to fall to 11-9. Bruning allowed nine runs (six earned) on eight hits with seven walks and five strikeouts in 10 innings of work.
                   
    Auburn jumped out to the early lead in the top of the second inning. Caitlin Jordan drew a one-out walk and took second on a ground out by Amber Harrison. Lathan singled up the middle to move Jordan to third, and alertly took second when the relay throw went to third. Caitlin Schultze followed and drew a walk with ball four coming on a wild pitch.
                   
    Jordan raced home for Auburn’s first run on the wild pitch and Lathan took third. Schultze aggressively took second on the play, drawing a throw from the catcher which allowed Lathan to score, giving Auburn a 2-0 lead.

    Ole Miss responded in the bottom half of the second, scoring four runs to take the lead. Londen Ladner drew a leadoff walk and took second on a sac bunt. After a fly out for the second out of the inning, Marina Parra drew a walk to put runners on second and first. Amanda Hutcheson then chopped a pitch into the ground in front of home plate that was high enough to allow everyone to advance and load the bases.
                   
    Cali Overbeck followed with a hard-hit double to center that cleared the bases to give Ole Miss a 3-2 lead. Corrine Doornberg then hit a slow roller that Jordan overran for an error. As the ball rolled into the hole at second, Overbeck scored to give Ole Miss a 4-2 edge.
                   
    The Rebels added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth. Erinn Jayjohn doubled with one out to chase Loree from the game and Schmalz gave up consecutive singles to Parra and Hutcheson to load the bases. Overbeck made it a 5-2 game with a single to center that scored Jayjohn. Schmalz picked up the second out of the inning when Doornberg lined out to Schultze at third base. Schmalz ended the Ole Miss rally with a strikeout of Bruning who pinch-hit for Brittany Broome.
                   
    The Tigers rallied to tie the game in the top of the sixth inning. Elizabeth Eisterhold drew a leadoff walk and was lifted for pinch-runner Kristyn Richards. Hilary Mavromat followed with a single to center that moved Richards to third. Mavromat took second on the relay throw and was then lifted for pinch-runner Maris Medina.
                   
    The Rebels got the first out of the inning when Jordan flied out to left field. Amber Harrison pushed Richards home with a sacrifice fly to left that cut it a 5-3 game. A wild pitch moved Medina to third with two outs. After falling behind 1-2 in the count, Lathan worked the count to 3-2 and then cranked a game-tying home run to right. It was Lathan’s fifth home run of the season. 
                   
    In the top of the 10th, Mavromat doubled to open the inning and, after a fly out, took third on a ground out to second. Lathan came to the plate and Ole Miss set up to intentionally walk the AU second baseman. After one pitch out, Bruning threw home but the pitch was not off the plate enough as Lathan reached out and hit the ball between the pitcher’s circle and first base. Mavromat raced home, easily beating the throw to give the Tigers s 6-5 lead.
                   
    Pinch-hitter McKenzie Kilpatrick followed with a walk to put runners at second and first. A wild pitch moved both runners up and on a swinging third strike of Baylee Stephens, catcher Marina Parra allowed the ball to scoot to the backstop. Lathan scored on the play to push the Auburn lead to 7-5. Kilpatrick took third on the play and scored two pitchers later on a wild pitch, making it an 8-5 game. Stephens took third on the wild pitch and came in to score on a single up the middle by Lauren Guzman, giving Auburn a 9-5 edge.
                   
    In the bottom of the 10th, Schmalz notched the first out of the inning when Cantillo flied out to Harrison in right. Schmalz then forced Ladner to fly out to Stephens in left for the second out of the inning, and closed the door on the win when Allison Brown flied out to right.



    Georgia Softball Leads Florida 3-0 in Rain Delay

    ATHENS, Ga. - The No. 9/10 University of Georgia softball team took a 3-0 lead over the fourth-ranked Florida Gators into the top of the seventh inning before rain moved in and forced a delay.

    The game will resume at 2 p.m., Saturday afternoon with one out and a runner at first for Florida. The second game will be played immediately following the conclusion of game one.

    Reigning Freshman of the Week Paige Wilson leads the Bulldogs offensively with two hits, including a double. Erin Arevalo is the pitcher of record, throwing 6.1 innings in the circle. The senior has scattered five hits and struck out six batters. Florida’s Hannah Rogers has given up three runs, one earned, on three hits in six innings of work.

    Georgia jumped ahead 1-0 over the Gators early to open the game. Wilson reached first after a Florida miscue. A wild pitch and a sacrifice bunt by Ashley Pauly moved Wilson to third. Wilson was able to cross the plate as Sandberg grounded out to first base.

    The Bulldogs used a pair of hits to extend their lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the third. Brittney Hubbard led things off with a double to left center. With one away, Wilson singled to center to move Hubbard to third. Pauly flew out to right to score Hubbard for Georgia’s second run of the game.

    Wilson picked up her second hit of the night when she opened the bottom of the sixth with a double to right center. A passed ball to Pauly put runners at first and third for Sandberg. With one out, Sandberg hit into a fielder’s choice that saw Wilson score from third and make it a 3-0 game.

    After a 17-minute rain delay, the teams resumed action in the top of the seventh. Georgia was able to secure one out, while the Gators put a runner on first before the game was suspended.