Today In SEC Softball: April 14 > SEC > NEWS
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    Today In SEC Softball: April 14

    Tennessee 4, LSU 2
    Kentucky 4, Georgia 0
    Florida 3, Auburn 1
    Arkansas 6, UT-Martin 4
    Arkansas 4, UT-Martin 2
    Alabama 7, South Carolina 5
    Mississippi State 2, Ole Miss 1



    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – With a crowd of 1,609 Orange-clad fans in attendance on a beautiful Saturday at the Lee Softball Stadium and a national television audience watching live on ESPN, junior pitcher Ivy Renfroe was solid in the circle, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning before permitting a hit as the #10 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (34-9, 15-6 Southeastern Conference) picked up its seventh-straight win and secured a series victory over #21 LSU (29-12, 11-5 SEC), 4-2.

    Prior to the contest the Lady Vol senior class, consisting of Ashley Andrews, Holly Baker, Shelby Burchell and Cat Hosfield, was honored in a ceremony for their contributions to the Tennessee program.

    Ivy Renfroe was very impressive in the circle while improving to 12-6 overall on the year, allowing two runs on just one hit with four walks and three strikeouts over 6.1 innings of work.  The Jackson, Tenn., native took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before giving up a one-out single to pinch hitter Kailey McCasland.  Sophomore Ellen Renfroe registered her third save of the season in relief, permitting just one hit with two K’s in two-thirds of a frame.

    Junior second baseman Lauren Gibson led the Big Orange offense by going a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with a run scored and her 34th RBI of the season while reaching base successfully for the 15th consecutive game.  Sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman knocked in her team-leading 50th run of 2012 as part of a 1-for-3, run scored effort, while junior first baseman Melissa Brown (0-for-3) was credited with a RBI via a groundout during UT’s four-run first inning.  By drawing a walk in the opening frame, junior third baseman Raven Chavanne managed to reach successfully for the 23rd straight contest dating back to March 11.

    “Well today was a great day for our team,” Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Karen Weekly said.  “I’m especially happy since it was our Senior Day, where we honored four seniors who have meant so much to our program and put so much blood, sweat and tears into it.  We’re really happy to come out of here with a win.  LSU’s a great team with very tough pitching.  Ivy was strong today.  She didn’t have her best stuff, it wasn’t as sharp as it sometimes is, but she did a great job of giving us 100% of what she had.  To take a no-hitter into the seventh inning was just fantastic, and we played great defense behind her, which was a huge part of it.  Lauren had a great day at the plate because she had really smart at-bats and did a great job of adjusting from at-bat to at-bat.”

    There was a lot of action jammed into the initial two pitches of the contest as center fielder A.J. Andrews ripped the first offering of the game to third as Chavanne routinely handled a grounder and LSU right fielder Jacee Blades was hit by Ivy Renfroe’s second pitch.  The Tigers boasted a pair of occupants on base with just one retired as left fielder Ashley Langoni battled to draw a walk.  UT’s 6-0 hurler managed a huge swinging strikeout of shortstop Juliana Santos for a vital second out.  Lady Vol first baseman Melissa Brown then corralled a sharp grounder from second baseman Allison Falcon as LSU left a pair of base runners stranded.

    The Big Orange speed game got the Tennessee offense started immediately in the bottom half of the first as Chavanne drew a lead-off walk and junior right fielder Kat Dotson singled on a perfect bunt.  With two on base Shipman and Gibson followed with back-to-back RBI singles through the infield as the Lady Vols raced out to a quick 2-0 lead.  UT plated another tally with Brown standing at the dish as LSU starter Brittany Mack uncorked a wild pitch allowing the advantage to grow to three runs.  Brown hit a shot off the pitcher that was fielded off the ricochet by shortstop Santos and tossed on to first, but it granted Gibson the opportunity to score and make it 4-0.

    A string of six straight LSU batters retired by Ivy Renfroe came to an end with one out in the top of the third as Andrews walked.  That was all the Bayou Bengals would get, however, as Blades grounded to third on a sacrifice bunt and Langoni routinely to short to conclude the frame.

    Getting the start at designated player on her Senior Day, Hosfield registered a single to begin Tennessee’s half of the fourth.  The Murfreesboro, Tenn., native would eventually end up stranded on third, however, as a sac bunt, a fly out to center and a routine grounder to first ended the inning. 

    Looking for anything to get their offense started, a lead-off walk from catcher Lauren Houston ended up going for naught for the Tigers in the top of the fifth.  Third baseman Tammy Wray followed the free pass by flying out to center, Mack lifted a pop-up to shallow center and Andrews finished off the frame on a chopper back to the circle as Ivy Renfroe personally handled the third out via a toss to Brown.

    Gibson made it a perfect 3-for-3 in the bottom of the fifth with a two-out single in the bottom of the fifth, but remained at first as Senior Day honoree Holly Baker flew out to center.

    With the Tigers down to one final chance to break up the no-hitter in the top of the seventh, Ivy Renfroe started off the frame with a strikeout of Cassie Trosclair.  A one-out walk to designated player Ashley Applegate gave the Tiger offense some life.  That was all LSU needed as pinch hitter Kailey McCasland broke up the no-no with a clean base hit into shallow left field.  That concluded Ivy Renfroe’s stint in the circle as sister Ellen came in facing a save situation.  The new pitcher’s initial offering was ripped to center by Wray as the Tigers got on the board, cutting their deficit to 4-1.  The Bayou Bengals pulled off a double steal as pinch runner Simone Heyward swiped second with McCasland racing home as the ball escaped Shipman’s glove on a tag attempt to make it 4-2.  Ellen Renfroe calmed things down after that, though, posting consecutive strikeouts of Pizer and Andrews to end the Tennessee triumph. 


    Cumbess’ First-Career No Hitter Clinches Series Over Georgia

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky sophomore hurler Lauren Cumbess pitched her first-career no-hitter in a series-clinching 4-0 win over No. 10/11 Georgia on Saturday afternoon in front of 1,123 fans at the UK Softball Complex. With the series-clinching win, UK has taken the series from UGA for just the second time in program history. The only other time the Cats have captured two-of-three from Georgia was in 2000.

    “Lauren was just outstanding today,” UK head coach Rachel Lawson said. “For her to do what she just did against a great hitting team like Georgia is awesome and I am so happy for her.”

    The no-hitter was the first no-no thrown against the Bulldogs since Tennessee’s All-American Monica Abbott threw one in 2007. The last no-hitter thrown by a UK pitcher was Rachel Riley in 2011, when Riley tossed a perfect game against Austin Peay on April 6, 2011. Cumbess’ no-hitter against an SEC opponent was the first for the Wildcats since Chanda Bell blanked Mississippi State on March 25, 2011.

    With the win, Kentucky now improves to 21-22 overall and is now an even .500 at 8-8 within the Southeastern Conference. The Wildcats have now won five of its last six games. The Bulldogs suffer just their 10th loss on the season, falling to 33-10 on the year and an 11-7 mark in league action.

    With the win, Cumbess improves to 3-4 on the season while UGA counterpart Morgan Montemayor falls to 9-5. Cumbess recorded seven strikeouts, while allowing a mere five batters to reach base throughout the course of the afternoon.

    For the second-consecutive game, UK lit up the scoreboard first putting two runs on the board in the opening frame. Senior Brittany Cervantes led off the game with a hit after a 10-pitch at-bat, which was followed by junior Kara Dill reaching on an error. Senior Rachel Riley loaded the bases via a walk. After two non-scoring outs, Cumbess helped her own cause by reaching on another Bulldog error, scoring Dill to put UK out in front 1-0. Sophomore Emily Jolly was hit by a pitch, scoring pinch runner Macy Allen to give Kentucky the 2-0 lead after one.

    The Cats tacked on two more runs in the second frame, which was highlighted by Cervantes’ seventh homer of the season to left field. After a double by Dill and a single by Riley, sophomore Ginny Carroll doubled to right center to bring around Dill and give the Cats the 4-0 lead after two.

    “Anytime you are fighting for your lives to get above .500 and get to the NCAA Tournament, every win is a big win,” Lawson said. “To win an SEC series against a quality team like Georgia is a great accomplishment for this team.”
    Cumbess retired the first six batters she faced in the Bulldogs’ lineup. A leadoff hit by pitch in the third was the first player to reach base for the visitor’s in the contest before Cumbess quickly retired the next three batters she faced.

    In the fourth the Bulldogs led off with a walk to get a runner on the base paths. A passed ball would shift the runner to second before Cumbess earned a strikeout and forced a pop-up. An error by the Wildcats allowed runners to reach the corners, until the right-hander escaped the jam with an inning-ending strikeout.

    Again, Georgia placed a runner on first base thanks to a two-out walk in the fifth. Cumbess again worked her magic by inducing a foul-fly out to sophomore Ellen Weaver in left field. Cumbess retired all three batters she faced in the sixth.

    In the Bulldogs’ final at-bat, Cumbess earned a strikeout to open the inning. The Bulldogs would place just their fifth runner aboard with a base on balls. A groundout to Cervantes at third enabled the runner to advance, but placed the second out on the scoreboard. In stylish fashion, Cumbess would complete the no-no effort by striking out the final out.

    The three-game series will wrap up on Sunday afternoon at the UK Softball Complex with the first pitch slated for 1:00 p.m. ET as UK will go for its first SEC series sweep of the season.


    No. 3/4 Gator Softball Clinches Series Over Auburn, 3-1, Behind Haeger’s Stellar Performance in the Circle

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Freshman Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) tossed a two-hitter with a career-tying 11 strikeouts Saturday as the No. 3/4 Gator softball squad downed Auburn, 3-1, to clinch their seventh SEC series of the season in front of 1,193 fans at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Haeger had a no-hitter going through six and a third until an AU solo shot in the top of the seventh, but for the third time this season, the righty fanned 11 opponent batters to lead the Orange and Blue to a 37-5 overall record and a 17-2 mark in league play.

    Three and a half innings of hitless, scoreless play for both teams kicked off Saturday’s contest in Gainesville before junior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) connected for a base hit in the fourth to get the bats going for the Gators. It wasn’t long before senior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) smacked a two-RBI double to the right center warning track to give the Gators a 2-0 lead in the fifth with what would be her fifth game-winning RBI of the season and the first runs for either team on the day.

    Haeger, who earned her 13th start in the circle, issued her only walk of the game in the first inning to Caitlin Jordan, who would eventually find the center-field fence for AU’s first hit – Jordan’s second homer of the series – and the Tigers’ only run of the game in the top of the seventh. Elizabeth Eisterhold then connected for a two-out single for AU’s two hits of the clash.

    Haeger worked her seventh complete game of the year to improve to 11-2 overall in the circle for the Gators, while connecting for a hit of her own in the seventh. Jenee Loree (8-7) shouldered the loss for Auburn after working the first 5.1 and giving up UF’s five hits, to five different Gators, and three runs, while fanning seven Gators herself before Hilary Mavromat came on for the final two outs in the sixth.

    The Gators left two on in the bottom of the first after sophomore Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) reached after being hit with a Loree pitch, while Haeger followed up with a walk, her team-leading 29th of the season, before a Loree strikeout ended the inning.

    Haeger sat the Tigers down in order in the top of the second, including her third strikeout of the day, while Loree retired the Gators in order as well with one K in the home half of the stanza. The Gators’ righty added two Ks to her tally in the third and one in the fourth to keep the confidence up for the home team until the bats got going in the fourth.

    It was Horton, the Gators’ catcher Saturday afternoon, who dropped a two-out base hit in shallow right field just behind first base for the first hit of the game for both teams, but a fielder’s choice next retired the side before UF could capitalize.

    Haeger added her seventh, eighth and ninth strikeouts of the game in the top of the fifth, retiring Auburn in order with three straight Ks to keep momentum going for the Orange and Blue.

    Freshman Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) connected for a one-out base hit to left field in the bottom of the fifth for UF, while sophomore Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) sent a bouncer over the AU third baseman’s head and into left to turn over the Gators’ lineup with just one out. Next up, Moultrie sent both Medina and K. Fagan across home after roping a two-RBI double to deep right center for the 2-0 Gator lead. A freshman Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) groundout moved Moultrie on to third with two down in the home half of the fifth, but a groundout to short retired the home team before the Orange and Blue could extend the lead.

    With a 2-0 lead for the Gators heading to the sixth, Haeger mowed down her 10th Tiger of the day in the top of the inning before connecting for a leadoff base hit to left field to contribute to Florida’s efforts offensively as well. A Gammel fielder’s choice with one out on the board plated Haeger’s pinch runner, Briana Little (Middleburg, Fla.), to add a third run to Florida’s score.

    Auburn then made an effective change in the circle from Loree to Mavromat, who forced two-consecutive pop-ups to keep UF from adding to the lead.

    With one out on the board, Jordan knocked her second homer of the series out of the park in the top of the seventh to narrow the margin, 3-1, spoiling Haeger’s no-hitter, while Elizabeth Eisterhold poked a two-out single through the left side for Auburn’s second hit of the game. Haeger rebounded to fan Branndi Melero swinging with an excited and howling Gator crowd behind her for her career-tying 11th strikeout of the game to seal the deal for the Orange and Blue with an exclamation point.


    Two victories for the Razorbacks

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas softball team won back-to-back games against the University of Tennessee-Martin to improve its overall record to 22-19 on the season. The Skyhawks fall to 30-15 for their 2012 campaign.
    In the first game of the doubleheader, UT-Martin threatened early in the top of the first when they placed a runner on third after a walk and a single up the middle. Good defensive work by the Arkansas infield held the Skyhawks not allowing a run to come home.
    The Razorbacks placed the first run on the board in the bottom of the first when Amanda Geile hit a ball down the left field line bringing home Devon Wallace who was placed on base by a walk. Jennifer Rambo placed the ball to the left-center field wall for a double bringing Geile home and giving Arkansas to 2-0 lead.
    The Skyhawks went on a hitting spree in the top of the second, bringing home four runs off of four hits, including two doubles.
    Arkansas answered in the bottom of the inning beginning with a single up the middle from Jayme Gee. Chloe Oprzedek brought Gee home with a double out to the left-center field wall. Maddie Reese hit an almost perfect bunt bringing home Oprzedek. Reese was called out when she was caught between first and second. Wallace got base for the second time of the game with a single, followed by double from Clarisa Navarro to left-center field advancing Wallace to third. Wallace was tagged out attempting to advance home. At the end of the second Arkansas had tied the game 4-4.
    Kimmy Beasley was perfect from the circle in the top of fourth and fifth striking out all six batters. Beasley recorded a career high of nine strikeouts in a single game in 5.1 innings.
    “Kimmy was very dominant in the circle today,” said head coach Mike Larabee. “She put us on her shoulders and really carried the team today.”
    Wallace recorded her second hit of the day when she hit the center field wall to collect a double. Navarro grabbed her second hit of the day bringing home Ashley Martindale, who was pinch running for Wallace. Geile also recorded her second hit of the day bring in Navarro for to give the Razorbacks the 6-4 lead.
    UT-Martin was unable to respond giving the Razorbacks the 6-4 victory in the first game of the doubleheader.
    The Skyhawks came out in the second game taking the lead in the top of the first with a two-run home run from Jenny Bain. UT-Martin threatened again in the top of the second placing a runner in scoring position, but Beasley pitched the Razorbacks safely out of the inning.
    Arkansas recorded its first hit of the second game when Oprzedek hit a single up the middle in the bottom of the third.
    Backing Beasley, the Razorbacks defense was solid grabbing 21 putouts and six assists in game two. Arkansas forced the Skyhawks to go three up and three down in both the fourth and fifth innings.
    “We played really solid defense today,” said Larabee. “We challenged the team to come in and play at a higher level defensively and they really stepped up to that challenge.”
    Tori Mort got the Razorbacks going in the bottom of the fourth after she hit a bunt for a base hit. She advanced to second after Andrea Sullivan was walked, placing two runners on base. No runners were brought home that inning keeping the score 2-0, in favor of UT-Martin.
    Oprzedek put the Razorbacks on the board in the bottom of the fifth when she hit a two-run bomb over the left-centerfield wall to tie the game at two all. Navarro gave the Razorbacks the 3-2 lead when she hit her seventh home run of the season over the left-centerfield wall.
    Arkansas threatened again in the bottom of the sixth when Rambo and Sierra Bronkey both collected singles and were advanced off of a sacrifice but from Gee. Oprzedek, who was perfect at the plate in the second game, hit a single to bring in Rambo and add to the Razorbacks lead.


    Walk-Off Heroics from Reilly-Boccia Propels Softball to 7-5 Win

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Senior first baseman Cassie Reilly-Boccia broke a tie ballgame in the bottom of the seventh inning with a two-run, walk-off home run send No. 2 Alabama to a 7-5 victory over South Carolina in front of a school-record crowd of 3,940 fans at Rhoads Stadium. Alabama improved to 39-2 overall and 16-2 in Southeastern Conference play. South Carolina fell to 23-22 overall and 3-15 in league action.

    Reilly-Boccia hit her eighth home run on the year, and did it in dramatic fashion. After Jazlyn Lunceford drew a walk, Reilly-Boccia lined a 1-1 shot over the wall in right-center to end the game.

    Sophomore hurler Jackie Traina came on in relief in the fourth inning, and picked up the win in her school record 27th consecutive decision, dating back to last season. Traina pitched 3 1/3 shutout innings, striking out five. She improved to 25-0 on the year.

    After a second inning home run by South Carolina to start the scoring, Alabama responded with four runs in the bottom of the third. Kayla Braud started the rally with an RBI single up the middle to plate Jennifer Fenton and then Kaila Hunt provided the big hit in the inning as she smacked a three-run homer down the line in left. The home run was her 15th on the season.

    South Carolina then had an answer of its own as the Gamecocks scored four in the top of the fourth to take a 5-4 lead.

    In the sixth Alabama was able to knot the score at five. The Crimson Tide loaded the bases and then freshman Danae Hays took an 11-pitch walk to tie the score.


    Stephanie Becker Tosses One-Hit Gem In 2-1 Win At Ole Miss

    Oxford, Miss. - With the softball diamond as her canvas, Mississippi State pitcher Stephanie Becker painted a Magnolia State masterpiece Saturday in a series-clinching 2-1 triumph against in-state rival Ole Miss (16-23, 3-13 SEC) at the Ole Miss Softball Complex. The junior left-hander tossed a complete-game one-hitter and retired the last 20 batters in order, becoming the first MSU pitcher in over a decade to one-hit the Rebels.

    "Today was a great victory for us," Becker said. "Ka'ili Smith did an awesome job behind the plate and our defense caught everything that came its way."

    The Bulldogs bettered their record to 24-19 in Vann Stuedeman's first year as head coach (7-14 SEC), matching last year's win total with three weeks remaining in the season. With the series victory, the Maroon and White also improved its postseason chances of making both the SEC and NCAA Tournament.

    "Hats off to Stephanie Becker and (Ole Miss pitcher) Kendall Bruning," Stuedeman said. "Both of them were stellar out there today. Today's performance was huge for Stephanie, our program, our fans and our state."

    For the second game in as many days, sophomore second baseman Heidi Shape drove in the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth inning. Sophomore third baseman Sam Lenahan (1-for-2) and junior left fielder Jessica Cooley (1-for-1) also had solid days for the MSU offense, while senior catcher Ka'ili Smith registered a run scored.

    The home team jumped on top quickly with a run in the bottom of the first, which started when Becker plunked Ole Miss leadoff hitter RT Cantillo on the first pitch. Following a full-count walk to Brittany Broome, Becker let a pitch get away from her as both Cantillo and Broome advanced a base. With a pair in scoring position, three-hole hitter Londen Ladner pinched a 2-2 offering through the left side of the infield. Cantillo scored easily on the RBI single, but Cooley gunned out Broome at the dish to keep the deficit at one.

    The two teams played scoreless softball in the second and the third innings before the Bulldogs plated two runs on two hits and an error in the top of the fourth. Smith started it out by earning her team-leading 30th walk of 2012 on a full count. The Flyin' Hawaiian then stole her 10th base of the year to take second, putting a runner in scoring position for Lenahan. The third baseman connected on a seeing-eye single to left field, as Smith ran to third. Broome misfielded the ball in left, allowing Smith to tie the game at one as Lenahan trotted to second. Lenahan moved to third on a double to left-center field by Cooley and scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly by Shape.