Today In SEC Softball: April 8 > SEC > NEWS
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    Today In SEC Softball: April 8

    Kentucky 10, South Carolina 5
    Florida 14, Ole Miss 3
    Alabama 6, LSU 0
    Tennessee 6, Auburn 2

    Cervantes Leads Offensive Explosion In Series Winner

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – Senior Brittany Cervantes led an offensive charge in helping the Kentucky softball team to a 10-5 series-winner over South Carolina on Sunday afternoon. Cervantes charted a 2-for-3 outing at the dish with her third homer of the series and three runs scored to pace the Blue and White.

    With the win, Kentucky improves to 18-21 on the season and 5-7 in Southeastern Conference action. South Carolina falls to 23-18 and 3-11 in league play.

    Cervantes led the charge, but the offensive explosion came from the entire lineup as nearly every Wildcat contributed. Five players logged multiple hits in the game including junior Kara Dill, senior Rachel Riley, freshman Griffin Joiner and sophomore Lauren Cumbess. Riley smacked her team-leading sixth home run including her second in as many days, while Cumbess drove in a team-high three scores in the win.

    “Obviously our offense came out swinging today which is awesome because with them scoring so early in the first inning and then Brittany to come up in such a big way really jump-started our offense,” UK coach Rachel Lawson said. “For us to be able to answer back really set the tone for the rest of the game for us, and then our offense just kept rolling.”

    Senior Chanda Bell earns the win in the circle for the Wildcats to improve to 9-7 on the season. Bell tossed 10 strikeouts in the win.

    “Hats off to Chanda, she did another great job with 10 strikeouts today,” Lawson said. “ We also played solid defense today which was a key as well.”

    South Carolina struck first in the top half of the first with a pair of scores. The Gamecocks benefited from a solo leadoff homer from Sammy Garcia and then tacked on an additional score with an RBI double for the two-run edge.

    Kentucky responded to the deficit in a big way with three runs of its own to capture a 3-2 edge. Cervantes led off with her third homer in as many games. Following a fly-out, Riley singled along the left field line and freshman Joiner answered with a double into the left-center gap. Following the second out of the inning, sophomore Emily Jolly drew a walk to set the stage for Cumbess. Cumbess delivered a two-run single that dipped just over the second-baseman’s glove into right field to plate the two score and give the home team a one-run advantage.

    Bell worked around a pair of walks in the top half of the second to keep the Gamecocks away from home. Dill snagged a two-out single in the home half of the frame, but the Wildcats could push nothing across to add to the lead.

    Kentucky’s right-hander bookended the third with a strikeout to start and close the frame after yielding a two-out infield single in the inning. The Gamecocks would respond with a 1-2-3 inning of its own, but that would be the last time the Wildcats would go scoreless.

    After Bell again retired the side, the Wildcats tacked on two score in the fourth to stretch the lead to 5-2. Jolly reached on an error by the shortstop and Cumbess would also reach thanks to a Gamecocks’ error in a sacrifice attempt.  Freshman Kara Howard delivered a beautifully executed sacrifice bunt to shift both runners into scoring position. Following a fielder’s choice that got Jolly out at home, Cervantes was intentionally walked to load the bases. Dill made South Carolina pay with a two-run double into left-center for the two tallies.

    Garcia hit her second home run of the game to lead off the fifth and bridge the gap to a 5-3 lead for the home team.

    Kentucky then struck for three more scores in the fifth to go ahead 8-3. Joiner began the stanza with a single through the left side. Junior Alice O’Brien drew a walk and Jolly would single to center to load the bases. Cumbess would bring in the first score with a single down the left field line. The bases remained loaded and Howard brought in her first RBI of her career when she logged a walk. Sophomore Emily Gaines then delivered an RBI sac fly to bring in the final run of the stanza.

    Bell dispersed of the side in the top half of the sixth before the Blue and White would tack on two more tallies in the home half of the frame. Riley opened the scoring with a solo long ball that dipped over the left-center fence. Joiner would reach on an error by the first baseman and O’Brien would notch her second walk of the game. A grounder to third and a strikeout put two outs on the scoreboard, but O’Brien would be able to scoot to third and come home on a wild pitch for the Wildcats’ final score.

    In a last-ditch comeback effort the Gamecocks scored twice in the top of the seventh to make the final 10-5 margin. South Carolina benefited from an inning-opening walk and an RBI triple in the frame.

    Kentucky returns to action with a midweek doubleheader against Arkansas on Wed., April 11 beginning at 4 p.m. ET. The UK IMG Sports Network will carry the first game of the two-game set live on the CWKYT in Lexington.

    “Arkansas is a good team, they do a nice job of swinging the bats and they’ve played an awesome schedule,” Lawson said. “They have good pitching and have added to an already good arsenal. We’re going to have to make sure we keep the runs down and do a great job on the mound and then hopefully bring our offense like we did today.”


    Bailey Castro’s Two Homers, Seven RBI Lift No. 6 Florida Softball to 14-3 Sweep of Ole Miss

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida freshman designated player Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) accounted for a school-record tying seven RBI Sunday, smashing two homers – including her first career grand slam – and walking in a run to power the Orange and Blue to a 14-3 series sweep over Ole Miss at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

    For the first time since former Gator Megan Bush did so in 2010, Castro tallied two homers in a single inning, including UF’s third grand slam of the season, to go with a two-run shot in the third, then drew a one-out walk with bases loaded in the fourth to bring home her seventh RBI of the game. Castro tied Bush and former Gator Missy Zick with her seven RBI in Sunday’s contest for the single-game school record, Bush being the last to accomplish the feat last year in Florida’s March 19 win at Ole Miss.

    Castro’s bat lit up the third for UF (35-4, 15-2 SEC), which put up 10 runs on six hits in the inning, while its 14 overall marked the second-most this season for the Gators behind15 scored against Michigan State Feb. 19.

    The Gators swept their fourth conference series this weekend, while winning their sixth-consecutive SEC series, having won all six in league play thus far. Saturday and Sunday’s run-rule wins marked Florida’s 14th and 15th of the 2012 campaign. For Castro, three of her four homers on the season came against the Rebels with a solo shot Friday, followed by Sunday’s two blasts.

    The Orange and Blue exploded for 10 hits, the Gators’ fifth league game with double-digit hits, scattering one run in the first, two in the second, 10 in the third and one in the fourth. Seven Gators tallied hits on the afternoon, led by Castro (2-for-2, three runs, seven RBI, two walks), senior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) (2-for-2, three runs, one walk) and junior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) (2-for-3, two runs).

    Freshman Alyssa Bache (Clearwater, Fla.) tossed just her third complete game of the season, allowing three runs and three hits – all in the fourth inning – while walking just one and fanning a career-best five Rebels to earn her fifth victory of the season. Florida faced three Ole Miss (16-21, 3-11 SEC) pitchers on the afternoon, all in the third inning, but ultimately starter Kendall Bruning tallied the loss, moving to 12-11 on the season after giving up UF’s first 10 runs on six hits and walking four through the first two and two-thirds innings.

    Sophomore Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) extended her career-best hit streak to seven games, knocking a single through the right side as one of UF’s six hits in the third stanza.

    In typical Moultrie fashion, the Gator led off the first for Florida with a bunt single, swiped her 18th base of the season and crossed home on a Bruning wild pitch to put up UF’s first run of the Sunday finale.

    A freshman Jess Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.) sac fly plated Castro to add another run in the second frame for the Gators after Castro drew a leadoff walk for Florida. UF added its third run of the game when freshman Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) was hit by a pitch with bases loaded to send Horton home. Horton connected for her seventh double of the campaign to reach base.

    A Castro two-run blast in the third inning with no outs on the board tacked on two more runs for Florida for a 5-0 lead, as sophomore Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) also scored after reaching base on a free pass. Production from the bottom of Florida’s lineup in the third loaded the bags again for the Gators when freshman Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) reached on fielder’s choice, while Damico followed by dropping a bloop single in shallow center field to turn over the lineup. Moultrie was hit by her eighth pitch of the year to load the bases. Next up, S. Fagan drew a two-out walk to bring Medina home for a 4-0 lead.

    Freshman Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) stepped in next, roping a two-RBI base hit through the left side to plate both Damico and Moultrie for the 8-0 lead. The hit spurred a pitching change in the circle for the Rebels, who exchanged Bruning for Jayjohn,  before Coyle stepped in, drawing her second walk of the afternoon to load the bases and setting up Castro’s grand slam to clear the bags and give Florida a 12-0 lead.

    The Gators added one more run in the inning when Horton scored her second run of the inning after reaching on a hit-by-pitch and coming home on a Rebels defensive miscue with just two outs on the board for the 13-0 Gator advantage heading to the fourth.

    Ole Miss countered in the top of the fourth with a three-run, three-hit inning to narrow the Gator lead, 13-3, after RT Cantillo, Londen Ladner and Lauren Lindsey all connected for base hits, Ladner with a RBI double and Lindsey with a RBI single through the right side. Allison Brown knocked a sac fly to right field to plate the Rebels’ third run of the frame.

    Florida added its final run of the game in the bottom of the fourth stanza, loading the bags with Moultrie and S. Fagan base hits, followed by a Haeger walk. Next up, Castro added her seventh RBI, reaching on a one-out free pass that plated Moultrie. A strikeout and fly out ended the inning and Bache retired Ole Miss in order in the top of the fifth to seal the UF run-rule victory.


    Jackie Traina Paces No. 2 Softball to Series Victory

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The second ranked Alabama softball team used a one-hit gem from pitcher Jackie Traina to defeat No. 21 LSU, 6-0, in front of 2,684 fans at Rhoads Stadium on Sunday. The Crimson Tide improved to 37-2 on the year, and 14-2 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Tigers dropped to 29-10 overall and 11-3 in league play.

    Traina threw a complete game to improve to 23-0 on the season, and set an Alabama school record with her 25th consecutive winning decision. Traina needed only 99 pitches, and struck out 12 Tigers in the winning effort. LSU did not have a ball leave the infield.

    Alabama banged out seven hits with senior Jazlyn Lunceford leading the way with a pair of singles. A.J. Andrews tallied the only hit for the Tigers, an infield single in the sixth inning.

    After dropping just its second game of the season in the second game of the series against LSU, Alabama responded in a big way with a five-run first inning.

    All the runs were scored with two outs as seniors Amanda Locke and Lunceford hit back-to-back singles to drive in three and then senior Kendall Dawson singled down the line to drive in a pair. The Tide has now outscored its opponents, 72-9 in the first inning this season.

    Alabama tacked on another run in the fifth when junior Kayla Braud scored on a Jennifer Fenton sac-fly. Braud started the inning with a bunt single, stole second and then moved over to third on a wild pitch.



    AUBURN, Ala. – The first career two-HR game by sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman and the team-leading 11th big fly from junior second baseman Lauren Gibson powered the #9 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (31-9, 13-6 Southeastern Conference) to its first-ever series sweep on “the Plains” of Auburn (26-15, 5-11 SEC) with a 6-2 victory over the Tigers on Sunday at Jane B. Moore Field.

    During the series the Lady Vols outscored the Tigers by a 20-6 count, posted eight extra-base hits, including five HR’s, and the UT pitching staff held AU to just a .133 batting average.

    Shipman led Tennessee again on Sunday with a 2-for-4, two-HR, three-RBI effort, posting a .417 batting average with a triple, four HR’s and 11 RBIs during the three-contest set.  Gibson was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored, and her 11th HR.  Junior third baseman Raven Chavanne was 2-for-4, junior first baseman Melissa Brown was 1-for-3 with a run, and both freshman designated player Cheyanne Tarango and rookie catcher Hannah Akamine were each credited with a RBI.

    Junior pitcher Ivy Renfroe (10-6) picked up her 10th victory of the campaign, allowing two runs on four hits with a walk and five strikeouts over 6.0 innings of work.  Sophomore Ellen Renfroe fired a single frame of relief, striking out the side during the seventh to finish off the triumph.

    “Maddi was on today at the plate, that’s for sure,” Lady Vol Assistant Coach Marty McDaniel said.  “It’s very good to see her getting hot at the plate for us right now, especially with two HR’s today and four for the weekend.  Ivy threw the ball well for us in picking up her 10th win, and Ellen was terrific in relief. There are definitely no off days in the SEC, so this was a great weekend for our team in picking up a very important sweep.”

    The Big Orange wasted no time demonstrating its two-out hitting prowess in the top of the first, nabbing a quick 2-0 lead via the long ball.  With two retired in the frame, Gibson christened the power demonstration with a solo shot, her team-leading 11th of the campaign, to put the Lady Vols on the scoreboard.  Shipman followed by stepping into the batter’s box and blasting a HR for the third consecutive day, her seventh of the season, as the UT advantage expanded to 2-0.  The occurrence marked the first time Tennessee had posted back-to-back HR’s since Gibson and Shipman turned the feat during a 10-7 victory against Illinois back on Feb. 17 in Austin, Texas.

    After Ivy Renfroe worked through a quick bottom of the first, the Big Orange got another rally started as Akamine was struck by a one-out pitch from AU starter Lauren Schmalz.  With two retired Chavanne blooped a single onto the outfield grass, putting two aboard.  Unfortunately, a sharp grounder was corralled on a back-hand play by Auburn’s Caitlin Jordan to leave the UT duo stranded on the base paths.

    The Tigers got their initial base hit with one out in the bottom of the second as center fielder Branndi Melero ripped a 2-2 offering to left for a single.  She promptly took off on a steal attempt, just beating Shipman’s tag to reach scoring position.  A base knock through the left side by third baseman Caitlin Schultze stationed AU runners at the corners with still only one down in the frame.  Ivy Renfroe responded to Auburn’s first big threat of the contest with a strikeout of right fielder Maris Medina and then handled a roller back to the circle from left fielder Baylee Stephens to conclude the Tiger scoring opportunity. 

    Gibson got another offensive outburst started for Tennessee in the top of the third with a long double to the wall at Jane B. Moore Field.  That ended the stint in the circle for Auburn’s Schmalz as Hilary Mavromat entered in a relief appearance for the Tigers.  She was greeted rudely as Shipman hammered a towering two-run HR, her second of the match-up, as the UT advantage grew to 4-0.  A walk issued to senior left fielder Shelby Burchell and back-to-back singles from Brown and Tarango loaded the bags full of Orange and ended Mavromat’s time in the circle after just four batters faced.  Against new Tiger hurler Jenee Loree, Akamine and sophomore center fielder Tory Lewis each contributed sacrifice flies, plating two more tallies as Tennessee’s lead became six runs.

    Ivy Renfroe had retired six straight Auburn batters until Jordan delivered a single to left field in the bottom of the fourth that tipped just off the edge of the glove of sliding senior outfielder Holly Baker.  That was all the Tigers would get as Melero hit into a fielder’s choice that cut down the lead runner, and Schultze hit a grounder to Chavanne at third as UT continued to lead, 6-0.

    There was a great sign for the Big Orange in the bottom of the fifth as senior Ashley Andrews, who was injured in a huge collision at home plate on Saturday, entered the contest to play in left field.  Ivy Renfroe welcomed her teammate back to the contest by retiring Auburn via back-to-back K’s and inducing a fly out to right center during a quick one-two-three inning.

    After a quiet fifth for the Tigers, AU got a one-out base runner in the bottom of the sixth as a grounder off the bat of Mavromat was misplayed on the Lady Vol infield.  Eisterhold drove a shot down the left field line that was tracked down on the run by Andrews, and Jordan became strikeout victim number five as UT moved within three outs of a series sweep.