SEC Softball Today: April 6 > SEC > NEWS
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    SEC Softball Today: April 6

    South Carolina 9, Kentucky 1
    Florida 5, Ole Miss 0
    Tennessee 9, Auburn 1
    Mississippi State 2, Arkansas 1
    Mississippi State 7, Arkansas 2
    Alabama 6, LSU 0

    Gamecocks Post Three Homers in 9-1 Win in Five at Kentucky
    COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (23-16, 3-9 SEC) hit three two-run homers to run past Kentucky (16-21, 3-7 SEC) 9-1 in five innings on Friday night at the UK Softball Complex.

    Seven Gamecocks had seven hits, one each by seven different starters, led by two-run homers from seniors Molly Brossart and Evan Childs and sophomore Chelsea Hawkins. Redshirt senior Kaela Jackson added a bases-loaded double to drive in a team-best three runs. Childs and senior Kaitlin Westfall both scored twice.

    “Our offense was in attack mode from the first pitch today,” said South Carolina head coach Beverly Smith. “Kaela (Jackson) had a clutch bases-loaded, two-out hit that really got us going and set the tone for us. We carried the aggressiveness throughout the game. I loved seeing Evan, Chelsea and Molly all drive in two. And Audrey Broyles had an outstanding pitching performance.”

    The Gamecocks started fast with a five-run first. Junior shortstop Samie Garcia started the game with a single and moved to second on senior centerfielder Lauren Lackey’s sacrifice bunt. Childs reached on an error by the Wildcat third baseman. After a groundout put both Gamecock runner in scoring position, Westfall drew a walk to load the bags for Jackson, who drove the 3-1 pitch to the wall in right, allowing all three runs to score. Hawkins followed with a shot over the wall in left center to make it 5-0 Gamecocks.

    Brittany Cervantes had a one-out homer in the first over the centerfield wall to make it 5-1. But the Gamecocks responded in the second when Childs followed Lackey’s walk with a blast off the scoreboard in left to make it 7-1. In the fifth, Brossart stepped up with two outs and Westfall on third and sent the 2-1 pitch off the top of the wall that bounced up and hit the left-field pole for her second homer of the year, pushing South Carolina’s lead to 9-1.

    Redshirt junior Broyles (7-5) got the complete-game victory, scattering four hits and four walks in five innings. She gave up one earned run and struck out one. Ellen Weaver (2-4) took the loss for Kentucky, allowing all five runs, none earned, in 0.2 innings. She gave up three hits and walked two. Chanda Bell pitched the rest of the game for the Wildcats, giving up four earned runs on four hits and two walks in 4.1 innings.

    Game two of the series between South Carolina and Kentucky is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

    No. 6 Gator Softball Blanks Ole Miss, 5-0, to Take Series Opener

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Florida sophomore ace Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) tossed a two-hit shutout, her eighth complete-game shutout of the season, as the No. 6 Florida softball team took its series opener against Ole Miss, 5-0, Friday in front of an Orange and Blue-clad crowd of 1,213 at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

    The Gators (33-4, 13-2 SEC) scattered runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings to top the Rebels (16-19, 3-9 SEC), aided by freshman Bailey Castro's (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) 2-for-3 performance, including her second blast of the season in the sixth inning. Sophomore Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) finished with two RBI on the evening to account for Florida's two fourth-inning runs, while sister Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) knocked a RBI double in the third stanza, swiped third and crossed home on a wild pitch to also score one of UF's five runs.

    For UF, Friday's shutout marked its18th of the season and the Gators' sixth in league play.

    Rogers retired six Ole Miss batters by strikeout, walked three and allowed just two Rebel hits through Friday's match-up to improve to 19-2 on the year. The Gators' ace had a one-hitter through six, giving up a second Rebel hit in the top of the seventh. Ole Miss hurler Kendall Bruning moved to 12-10 on the season with the loss, allowing six Florida hits, five runs and walking one, while fanning three Gator hitters. Sophomore RT Cantillo and junior Erinn Jayjohn accounted for the Rebels' two hits in the clash.

    After senior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) reached on a Rebel fielding error in the third inning and advanced to second on a passed ball, S. Fagan sent UF's lone senior scampering for home with her fifth double of the season to take the Gators up, 1-0. S. Fagan then proceeded to swipe third, her 10th stolen base of the season, before scoring on a Bruning wild pitch to take the Orange and Blue up, 2-0, heading to the fourth.

    Cantillo led off with a base hit for Ole Miss in the top of the fourth frame, then Londen Ladner drew a walk, enabling Allison Brown to bunt both into scoring position. The Rebels couldn't capitalize after Rogers struck with a strikeout and forced a pop up to retire the side and halt the threat.

    Florida added two to its lead in the bottom of the fourth when K. Fagan sent a two-RBI base hit to right center, plating junior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.), who drew a leadoff walk, and junior Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.), who reached base for the 15th consecutive game when she poked a one-out single through the right side. Freshman Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) laid down a sac bunt to move both Horton and Gammel into scoring position before K. Fagan sent both home, coming up with a base hit for her career-best fifth-consecutive game to extend the Gator lead, 4-0.

    Castro added an insurance run for the Gators in the sixth, lifting a bomb over the center-field fence for the 5-0 Florida lead heading to the seventh and final inning. Jayjohn spoiled Rogers' one-hitter with a leadoff base hit up the middle in the top of the seventh, but a strikeout, fielder's choice and groundout gave the Orange and Blue its 13th league victory.

    The Gators and Rebels will do it again Saturday in the second game of the series, with first pitch set for 2:30 p.m. from Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Florida will be looking to clinch the series for its sixth-straight SEC series win, having won all five up to this point in league play.

    Gator fans can catch Saturday and Sunday's games live on or tune in live locally or online to 104.9, 105 The Game, with the call by Gator play-by-play Adam Schick and analysis from former UF All-American Megan Bush.

    Two-Out Hitting Leads No. 9 Tennessee Past Auburn, 9-1

    AUBURN, Ala. – On a beautiful Friday evening at Jane B. Moore Field, the #9 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (29-9, 11-6 Southeastern Conference) registered nine two-out runs, posted a seven-tally second inning and got the third career grand slam from sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman in taking its series opener from Auburn (26-13, 5-9 SEC), 9-1 (5 inn.).

    Shipman was 1-for-3 with two runs scored and equaled her career-high with four RBIs via her grand slam, giving her a team-leading 41 RBIs for the season.  Junior right fielder Kat Dotson was a perfect 2-for-2 at the dish with two RBIs, sophomore Melissa Davin was 1-for-1 with two RBIs as a pinch hitter, sophomore center fielder Tory Lewis was 1-for-2 with a RBI and freshman designated player Cheyanne Tarango went 1-for-3 with her fifth career double.

    In the circle sophomore pitcher Ellen Renfroe picked up her 20th overall victory of the year, taking a perfect game into the fourth inning before eventually settling for a one-hitter with a walk and seven strikeouts over five frames of effort.

    “I was really happy with the way we swung the bats tonight against a very good pitcher in Auburn’s Jenee Loree,” Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said.  “I was especially happy that all of our runs were scored with two outs.  I think that’s what we’re going to need to do if we’re going to advance further in the postseason.  This is only one night in a tough series though.  There are two games left, and I’m sure Auburn will be ready to go tomorrow.”

    Tennessee managed its initial base runner of the match-up with two down in the top of the first as junior second baseman Lauren Gibson saw a pitch she liked from Auburn starter Jenee Loree and promptly lined a shot through the infield for a single.  Shipman stepped into the batter’s box and worked the count full before grounding routinely to short as the frame came to a conclusion.

    Renfroe got off to a quick start against the Blue & Orange, working through a one-two-three bottom of the first.  The Jackson, Tenn., native struck out second baseman Brooke Lathan looking, personally handled a slow roller from center fielder Branndi Melero and induced a liner from shortstop Lauren Guzman.

    The Big Orange broke in front on the scoreboard in the top of the second with one of its patented two-out rallies.  The outburst got started harmlessly enough with Dotson getting hit by a pitch leading off the inning.  A ground ball to second and a fielder’s choice that retired Dotson on the base paths threatened to end the scoring opportunity before it even got underway.  Tarango set an important two-out tone for the Lady Vol offense by lacing a two-bagger, moving junior first baseman Melissa Brown over within 60 feet from pay dirt.  Lewis ripped a hard shot to third that forced third baseman Caitlin Schultze to her right.  The ball ricocheted off the tip of her glove and her throw from her knees to first was late as Brown scored to make it 1-0.  Junior third baseman Raven Chavanne walked to load the bases and marked the 18th consecutive game that the Thousand Oaks, Calif., native had reached base successfully.  That set the stage for a clutch pinch hit from Davin as the Fresno, Calif., product ripped the first offering she received from Loree through the infield, scoring two to make it 3-0.  Gibson walked to re-load the bags with the clean-up hitter Shipman coming to the plate.  It didn’t take long for the 6-1 shortstop to unload them, promptly crushing her third career grand slam to stretch the UT advantage to a commanding seven tallies.  A single by Dotson kept things going before a chopper to short finally concluded the frame.  Before the two-out assault had come to an end, 11 batters had stepped to the dish in tying for the most runs (seven) put up by the Lady Vol offense in a single frame in 2012.

    Suddenly in possession of a huge seven-run lead, UT’s 6-0 right hander didn’t mess around with the middle of Auburn’s line-up in the bottom half of the second.  Pitching into her defense, Renfroe got a pop-up from right fielder Lauren Guzman, a liner to second base off the bat of catcher Elizabeth Eisterhold and a high fly out to center by first baseman Caitlin Jordan that was tracked down by UT sophomore Tory Lewis.

    The advantage continued to expand in the top of the fourth as the Big Orange again struck with two retired in the inning.  Chavanne christened the frame with a lead-off walk and soon moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior catcher Ashley Andrews.  With two down in the inning, Shipman reached via an error at short and quickly swiped her 11th base of the season, putting a pair of Lady Vols in scoring position.  Dotson came through with a clutch, two-RBI base knock through the infield as the UT lead expanded to 9-0.  

    In the circle Renfroe was dominating, striking out four of five Auburn batters over a stretch that included the end of the third and beginning of the fourth frames.  Unfortunately, that came to a sudden end with two outs in the bottom of the fourth as Guzman blasted a solo HR just over the scoreboard in left center.  The AU big fly ended the UT hurler’s bid for a perfect game as she has retired 11 consecutive Tiger hitters until that point.

    With the Tigers down to one final chance to continue the contest before succumbing to the run-rule, Auburn did get a two-out walk from new pitcher Hilary Mavromat.  She remained at first, however, as Renfroe registered her seventh strikeout of the contest by catching third baseman Caitlin Schultze swinging to conclude the match-up.

    #9 Tennessee and Auburn continue their series on Sat., April 7, at 1 p.m. CT, in a contest that will be broadcast live on ESPNU.

    Becker & Vry Combine To Dominate Arkansas In Doubleheader Sweep

    Fayetteville, Ark. – Good Friday turned into a great Friday at Bogle Park as the Mississippi State softball team (21-18, 5-13 SEC) swept host Arkansas (18-18, 2-14 SEC) in an afternoon doubleheader. The Bulldogs defeated the Razorbacks in the first game of the three-game series, 2-1, before clinching the series with a 7-2 triumph in game two.

    “Anytime we can earn wins on the road in this conference, it says a lot about the heart and grit of these Bulldogs,” Head Coach Vann Stuedeman said. “We played two quality games today, including having our backs against the wall in the first matchup. I am super proud of our ballclub.”

    Junior left-handed pitchers Stephanie Becker and Kylie Vry combined to throw two complete-game three-hitters, striking out 17 total batters en route to just three Arkansas runs Friday. State’s defense was flawless, playing errorless softball for the fourth time in the past five contests. Arkansas’ defense on the other hand committed five errors on the day, with six of the nine runs being scored off its pitching being unearned.

    In the first half of the doubleheader, sophomore center fielder Jessica Offutt knocked out a career-high tying three hits with her family in the stands, including a run scored. Redshirt senior designated player Brittany Bell went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run, while junior left fielder Jessica Cooley drove in a run as well.

    Becker dominated in the circle for the Maroon and White in the first game, pitching her second complete-game three hitter in conference play. The 6-footer surrendered just one run, a solo shot by Arkansas left fielder Jennifer Rambo in the second inning. The Bulldogs trailed by a run for most of the game, but Becker kept her squad in the game by retiring nine-consecutive batters starting in the bottom of the third.

    With the Maroon and White down one in the top of the sixth, the Bulldogs flipped a switch in the late innings. Offutt started off the stanza with a base hit to right field. Bell then stepped up to the plate and blooped a single to shallow center. Both Arkansas’ center fielder and second baseman tried to make a play on the ball, but couldn’t, as Offutt broke for third. Razorback shortstop Clarisa Navarro picked up the ball and hurled it to third, but threw it well over her teammate’s head, allowing Offutt to tap the dish for the tying run. With Bell advancing to third in all of the chaos, she scored the game-winning run after Cooley drove her in with a first-pitch groundout to Navarro at short.

    Arkansas threatened one last time in the bottom of the seventh, which started with Rambo reaching after being hit by a pitch. Arkansas outfielder Sierra Bronkey moved the tying run over to third with a no-out pinch-hit double, putting the game-winning run on second. Becker battled forward with two back-to-back popouts, before loading the bases with a walk. With the tying run on third and the winning run on second, Becker forced Navarro to groundout to second, giving MSU its fourth win in conference play.

    The Razorbacks responded to the game one loss by plating a pair in the first inning of game two. After a scoreless second, the Bulldogs barked back with three runs in the third thanks to a trio of home miscues. Bully bedlam started when senior right fielder Brittany Gates drew her second walk of the day to begin the frame. In the leadoff spot for the first time in 2012, Bell reached first on a bunt single. In attempting to field the throw at first, Arkansas second baseman Maddie Reese failed to catch it properly, as the ball dribbled to right field and Gates moved to third. Bell then stole second as Razorbacks’ catcher Jayme Gee threw it to Navarro at short in order to catch Gates bolting for home. The throw to Navarro sailed into left field, allowing Gates to score as Bell trotted to third.

    With the Arkansas lead cut in half at 2-1, senior Ka’ili Smith earned a base on balls for State. Runners stood at the corners for sophomore Sam Lenahan, who executed a perfect suicide squeeze. Bell scored easily as Arkansas pitcher Chelsea Cohen threw it to first. The throw went above the first baseman’s head and into the MSU bullpen, allowing Smith to also score for the visitors’ third run of game two.

    The Bulldogs added another run to their lead in the top of the fifth. Smith and Lenahan hit back-to-back singles to left field with one out. After a popup to shortstop by Cooley, Shape grounded it to second with two outs, but reached after Reese bobbled it and threw it away over the first baseman’s head. The error allowed Smith to run across home to make it a 4-2 advantage in favor of the Maroon and White.

    Not willing to let up, MSU added three insurance runs in the seventh to give the game its final score of 7-2.

    Vry had improved to an even 6-6 in 2012 with her best outing since a complete-game two-hitter at South Carolina on March 13. The southpaw from Iowa tossed complete-game three-hitter that saw her give up two runs on two to the first three batters, before giving up just one hit the rest of the game. After fanning nine batters total in her previous seven outings, Vry struck out a season-high 11 Friday.

    In her first time in the leadoff spot this year, Bell went 2-for-4 with a run scored in game two. Smith also had a nice second half of the doubleheader, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a career-high tying three runs scored. Freshman third baseman Courtney Vanlandingham made her third start as a college softball player, cranking out her first career double for the Maroon and White.

    Starkville’s team is now riding its longest winning streak (5) against Arkansas since winning five in a row from 2005-06, and will go for its second-straight three-game sweep against the Razorbacks 12 p.m. CT, Saturday, April 7.

    No. 2 Alabama Opens Series with 6-0 Win Over LSU


    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – On a night when Jennifer Fenton set the NCAA record for consecutive stolen bases without being caught, the second ranked Alabama softball team used strong pitching and hitting from Jackie Traina to knock off No. 21 LSU, 6-0, in front of 3,266 fans at Rhoads Stadium Friday night. With the win Alabama improved to 36-1 overall and 13-1 in Southeastern Conference play, while LSU fell to 28-9 overall and 10-2 in league action.

    Coming into the contest needing one stolen base without getting caught to equal the record, Fenton stole two in the third inning to eclipse the six-year-old record. Fenton finished the game 1-for-3 with two runs scored and a walk.

    Traina equaled a school record with her 24th straight decision dating back to the end of last season to improve to 22-0 on the season. The 22 straight wins to start as season is also a school record. The right-hander earned her first shutout since March 3 on the strength of eight strikeouts while scattering four hits.

    Alabama once again put runs on the board in the first inning, this time plating two in the opening frame to take a 2-0 lead. Sophomore Kaila Hunt got the scoring going when she grounded out to the pitcher to score junior Kayla Braud. Fenton then scored after a failed pickoff by the catcher sailed into left field.

    Fenton would score again after breaking the record on two straight stolen bases. Hunt tallied her second RBI of the game, this time plating Fenton in the third on another groundout to the pitcher.

    Traina helped her own cause and broke the game wide open when she belted a three-run homer over the scoreboard in the sixth inning. The homer was her fifth of the season.

    Game two of the series will be tomorrow with first pitch slated for 1:30 p.m. Chad Haynie and former Alabama All-American Whitney Larsen will have the call on WVUA-TV.