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    SEC Sunday Softball Update

    Georgia 4, Kentucky 3
    Florida 5, Auburn 2
    Alabama 19, South Carolina 4
    Mississippi State 10, Ole Miss 3
    Tennessee 10, LSU 2

    Georgia Rebounds for 4-3 Win at Kentucky

    LEXINGTON, Ky.—The No. 11 University of Georgia softball team held off a series sweep at Kentucky with a 4-3 win on Sunday afternoon. With the win, Georgia’s season mark is now 34-10 and 12-7 in SEC play while Kentucky is 21-23 and 8-9 in the conference slate.

    Freshman Paige Wilson led the way with a perfect day at the plate, as she was 3-for-3 with two doubles and a home run. The Chicago native also posted two runs, two RBI and a stolen base. Freshman Niaja Griffin followed with two hits, a run and a RBI.

    Senior Erin Arevalo (18-4) tallied the win after allowing three runs, two earned, off of seven hits and striking out nine. Kentucky’s Ellen Weaver (2-5) fell in the contest after giving up three earned runs on four hits and striking out six. Chanda Bell came in for three innings of work to give up one run on three hits.

    Georgia jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the third with Griffin opening the inning with a single to short and stealing second. After an Ashley Pauly groundout advanced Griffin to third, Wilson punched a RBI double to left center for run number one. Wilson then stole third before scoring on a wild pitch.

    The Bulldogs moved it to a 3-0 game in the fourth after Griffin’s single up the middle scored junior Tess Sito. Sito led off the inning with a single to left before moving to third on two groundouts.

    Two hits and an error in the fourth helped Kentucky close the gap at 3-2. Lauren Cumbess reached first with a single to left. Griffin Joiner then laid down a sacrifice bunt before a fielding error on Georgia allowed her to reach second and pinch runner Macy Allen to third. Emily Jolly immediately hit a single to right and allowed the baserunners to score.

    Wilson helped seal the win in the top of the seventh, as she hit her sixth home run of the season over the right field wall to set the game at 4-2. The Wildcats tried to climb back in the bottom half of the inning with a Brittany Cervantes homer, but Arevalo and the defense would hold the home team.


    Two-Out, Fifth-Inning Rally Lifts No. 3/4 Florida Softball to 5-2 Sweep Over Auburn

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Fueled by a two-out rally in the fifth, the No. 3/4 Florida softball squad completed a weekend sweep over the Auburn Tigers with a 5-2 victory Sunday for UF’s fifth SEC series sweep of the season. The Orange and Blue have won all seven league series thus far in 2012, and improved to 38-5 (18-2 SEC) on the season with the Sunday win in front of 1,129 fans at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

    Freshman Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) came through with a two-out, two-RBI double to left field for UF’s first two runs in the fifth, while classmate Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) followed up with a two-run blast to take UF up, 4-0, after  a three-hit, four-run stanza. The Gators would add one more run in the sixth on a Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) sacrifice fly before Auburn put up its two runs in the top of the seventh.

    Gator sophomore hurler Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) earned the nod in the circle for the Orange and Blue in the series finale, fanning five with one K each in the first, second, third, fourth and sixth innings. Rogers went the distance, giving up six hits – three in the final frame – and two runs in the seventh, to improve to 22-3 on the season for Florida.

    Tiger starter Angel Bunner moved to 11-4 with the loss after surrendering five Gator hits and UF’s first four runs, while walking two Florida batters through the first four and two-thirds innings before Lauren Schmalz came on in relief for the final 1.1. Schmalz was effective, recording AU’s lone two Ks of the day.

    Haeger finished the day with a team-leading two hits (2-for-4, two RBI), while S. Fagan was 1-for-3 with a run and two RBI. Notably, K. Fagan had two outfield assists for the Orange and Blue in what was a defensive game from the get-go. Four scoreless innings kicked off the clash Sunday between the Gators and Tigers before Auburn came up with the first base hit in the third. Both teams finished the afternoon with six hits apiece.

    After an impressive diving snag on defense for the second out in the first inning, Gator sophomore Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) drew a leadoff walk to kick off the second frame for the Orange and Blue. The shortstop then scampered to second after an Auburn failed pick-off attempt, but Bunner forced a pop-up and foul-out next before a fielder’s choice retired the side.

    Auburn threatened in the top of the third when nine-hole hitter Branndi Melero drew two-out free pass to turn over the Tiger lineup, while leadoff Lauren Guzman connected for a base hit to center field to put runners on first and second with two down. Coyle backed up to shallow left center to impressively grab a pop up for the third out of the inning to prevent the Tigers from taking advantage.

    A three-up, three-down third for Florida brought up the fourth for the Tigers, who added a hit to their tally in the stanza for runners on first and second with two outs after Brooke Lathan singled up the middle. Rogers fanned pinch hitter, and eventual relief pitcher Schmalz, looking to retire the visitors.

    Florida got the bats going in the fourth when Haeger smoked a one-out base hit through the left side, but was eliminated at second on a Coyle fielder’s choice before junior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) sent one up the middle for runners on first and second with two outs. A fielder’s choice ended the fourth for UF, but the Gators used stellar defense in the top of the fifth with a double play to bring up a monster bottom half of the inning for the home team.

    Junior Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) led off with an infield base hit, while freshman Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) moved her to second with her team-leading ninth sac bunt of the season. With two down after a fly out, Gammel took third on a Bunner passed ball with the top of the Gator order and senior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) at the plate. Moultrie drew a walk and proceeded to swipe second for her 19th stolen base of the season to put two runners in scoring position for the Orange and Blue.

    Next up, S.Fagan delivered with a two-out two-RBI double, her sixth double of the season, to bring both Gammel and Moultrie across home for the 2-0 Gator lead. Haeger added to the rally with a two-run blast, her ninth round-tripper of the year, to plate S. Fagan and herself to extend the Gator lead, 4-0. A groundout ended the stanza, but not before the Orange and Blue strung together a three-hit, four-run fifth to all but finish off a sweep of the Tigers.

    Rogers and the Gators retired the Tigers in order in the top of the sixth, first with a fly out, next with a K. Fagan outfield assist to Haeger at first, while Rogers fanned Caitlin Schultze for her fifth strikeout of the game.

    Florida added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth after freshman Jess Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.) led off with a single up the middle, while Gammel then reached on an errant throw by Schmalz after laying down a sac bunt. With Damico on third and Gammel on second after the AU defensive miscue, Schmalz fanned Medina before K. Fagan knocked her first sac fly of the season to center, allowing Damico to tag up and cross home for the 5-0 UF lead. With bases loaded after a Moultrie hit-by-pitch and a S. Fagan walk, a Schmalz strikeout, her second of the day, ended UF’s threat.

    Auburn put together a final rally in the seventh, coming through with two runs on three hits to wrap up the game. With Tiger runners on second and third with no outs after an Elizabeth Eisterhold leadoff walk and a Lathan double to center, Rogers handled a bouncer back to the circle for the first out of the seventh, but McKenzie Kilpatrick connected for a one-out an infield single to bring a run home for the Tigers, narrowing UF’s margin, 5-1, and placing runners on the corners for AU. A fielder’s choice counted as the second out, but allowed Lathan to scamper home for a 5-2 ballgame. Next up, Guzman sent a ball to right field for a base hit, but was tossed out at second when K. Fagan struck with her second assist of the afternoon for the third and final out of the game, resulting in the 5-2 final.

    The Gators will enjoy a mid-week break before playing host to Sunshine State rival FIU in a three-game pack Friday and Saturday April 20-21. The Gators and Panthers will play a doubleheader Friday, followed by a single game Saturday.


    No. 2 Softball Sweeps Series with 19-4 Win

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The second ranked Alabama softball team powered its way to a series sweep Sunday, blasting five home runs en route to a 19-4 win over South Carolina in front of 3,250 fans at Rhoads Stadium. The Crimson Tide improved to a school-record 40-2 on the year and 17-2 in Southeastern Conference play. South Carolina fell to 23-23 overall and 3-16 in the SEC.

    The 19 runs tied a season high, set against Maryland on March 2 and marked the 13th time the Tide has run-ruled its opponent and the 10th time UA has eclipsed 10 runs.

    Alabama pounded out 11 hits on the day, enough to help Jackie Traina earn her third win of the series to improve to 26-0 on the year. It was Traina’s school-record 28th consecutive winning decision.

    An Amanda Locke grand slam was just the beginning of the big first inning for the Tide as back-to-back-to-back home runs raced Alabama to an early lead. After the Locke grand slam, Traina hit a solo home run over the wall in center and then freshman Danae Hays lined the first pitch she saw on the top of the wall and over in left.

    The grand slam was a career first for Locke and the Tide went back-to-back-to-back for the first time since Feb. 26, 2011 in a game against Western Michigan at the USF Tournament. Locke and Traina were actually involved in the three straight home runs in the fourth inning against WMU last year.

    Alabama wasn’t done though, as they scored nine more runs in the second inning. Jazlyn Lunceford hit an RBI double, and scored when Cassie Reilly-Boccia hit a two-run double later in the inning. After loading the bases, Hays drew a walk to knock in another run. With the bases loaded, Jennifer Fenton hit a three-run double to left center, increasing the lead to 15-1 for the Crimson Tide.

    Alabama scored three more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Kayla Braud led off with a single and advanced to third on an error. She scored two pitches later on a sacrifice fly by Keima Davis. Lunceford tacked on a solo home run one pitch later, and Hunt followed it up with her 16th of the year to increase the lead to 19-4.

    Hunt paced the Tide with three hits and three runs scored while Lunceford added two hits and three runs. Fenton and Reilly-Boccia tallied three RBI while Locke added four on the grand slam.


    Mississippi State’s Offense Explodes In Series-Sweeping Win At Ole Miss


    Oxford, Miss. – Cranking out its most hits in Southeastern Conference play this season (14), Mississippi State completed its three-game series sweep vs. in-state rival Ole Miss (16-24, 3-14 SEC) with a 10-3 triumph against the Rebels at the Ole Miss Softball Complex. Sunday afternoon’s win was first-year head coach Vann Stuedeman’s 25th triumph of the 2012 campaign, surpassing last year’s win total of 24 in 56 games played.

    “The team has to feel really good about getting 14 hits in seven innings,” Stuedeman said. “I am glad to see them turn it on in the sixth and seventh and tie our season high for runs scored in an SEC game.”

    Redshirt senior Brittany Bell (2-for-4), fellow senior Ka’ili Smith (3-for-4) and sophomore Heidi Shape (2-for-3) each drove in two runs, while senior Brittany Gates finished her weekend with a 2-for-4 performance in the eight spot. In addition, sophomore Sam Lenahan tied a career high with three hits as MSU won for the seventh time in its last nine tries in Oxford.

    Junior left-handed pitcher Stephanie Becker was the winner in the circle for the second time in as many games, starting and finishing the contest with one run allowed in 4.0 innings. Fellow junior lefty Kylie Vry threw a scoreless second inning, while senior southpaw Lindsey Dunlap tossed two innings in the middle of the win, recording four strikeouts and giving up two runs (one earned).

    Just like Friday, the visitors broke the ice with two runs in the top of the first. Junior left fielder Jessica Cooley was MSU’s first baserunner of the day after a groundball to third was mishandled by the Ole Miss defense. Cooley stole her ninth base of 2012 to put a runner in scoring position for Smith. After falling behind 0-2, Smith battled back to a full count before shooting a hard-hit grounder to first. The first baseman unsuccessfully backhanded it for the error and the ball drifted away from first as Cooley scored all the way from second. That brought up Lenahan, who on a full count of her own doubled to left-center field. With two in scoring position, Shape hit a one-out RBI sacrifice fly to deep left field, allowing Smith to score the second run of the day for the Maroon and White.

    The pair of Smith and Lenahan came back up in the third and added an insurance run for Stuedeman’s squad. With two outs, the Hawaiian deposited an 0-2 offering down the left-field line for a standup double. Standing on second, Smith crossed home for the third MSU run when Lenahan drilled a 2-2 pitch on the ground to the Ole Miss third baseman. The ball took a bad hop, went off the fielder’s glove and skipped over to the FOX Sports South camera in foul territory.

    After Ole Miss scored its first run in nine innings with one in the bottom of the third frame, State answered with a run of its own in the fourth. Falling behind 0-2, redshirt sophomore shortstop Erin Nesbit fought back to hit a 3-2 worm burner up the middle for a base hit. That brought Kendall Bruning into the circle for Ole Miss, who threw a wild pitch with her first offering. Nesbit stood on second and advanced to third on a passed ball to Gates, before sprinting 60 feet home on a Gates single that gave the visitors a 4-1 lead.

    Rebel catcher Marina Parra began the bottom of the fourth by hitting her first-career home run just over the wall in left. The round-tripper cut the Rebel deficit to 4-2 halfway through the contest.

    Putting it away for good in the sixth stanza, MSU tallied four runs on six hits and an error. The frame started with a leadoff walk to Nesbit, who was then pinch ran for by freshman Ashley Phillips. The first-year player made it to the second bag on an infield single by Gates. With two Mississippi natives on the squares, sophomore center fielder Jessica Offutt blooped a single to shallow left to load the bases. Bell stepped into the box with two grand slams under her belt in 2012, but knocked a Texas Leaguer to right for another RBI single. The Ole Miss right fielder misplayed the ball once she picked it up, allowing Gates to also score. Smith then singled up the middle with one out and runners on the corners to drive in Offutt and put two on for Lenahan, who unloaded with a barrel single through the left side of the infield to fill the bases once again. On the first pitch to Shape, the sophomore second baseman sent a screamer past the pitcher’s right ear for an RBI base knock up the middle.

    The final two runs of the game came in the seventh, when Offutt was hit by a pitch for the first time this year. With one gone, the speedy outfielder stole her team-best 16th base of the season, eventually scoring on a double to the gap by Bell. Coming full circle two batters later, Bell scored the last Bulldog run when Smith singled up the middle on a 1-1 count.



    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On Sunday afternoon in front of another ESPN national television audience and the largest crowd in Lee Softball Stadium history (1,845), the #10 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (35-9, 16-6 Southeastern Conference) erupted for back-to-back, five-run outbursts during both the fifth and sixth innings, erasing a 2-0 deficit and powering UT to a sweep over #21 LSU (29-13, 11-6 SEC), 10-2 (6 inn.).

    The Big Orange offense banged out an impressive 13 hits against a Tiger pitching staff that had been allowing league opposition to hit at just a .194 clip, led by a 3-for-4 effort from junior right fielder Kat Dotson. 

    Senior left fielder Shelby Burchell (1-for-4, three RBIs) posted the biggest hit of the contest as her three-run double during the fifth inning completed the rally from an early deficit, giving Tennessee a 4-2 advantage.  Junior second baseman Lauren Gibson was 1-for-2 with two runs scored and a RBI, junior first baseman Melissa Brown was 2-for-4 with a RBI and junior Whitney Hammond was 1-for-1 with a run scored and a RBI.  Freshman pinch hitter Hannah Akamine finished the victory “walk-off-style” with a two-out, two-RBI single in the bottom of the sixth.

    Lady Vol junior pitcher Ivy Renfroe (13-6) won her eighth consecutive decision in the circle, working 2.2 perfect innings of relief with three strikeouts.  Sophomore starter Ellen Renfroe allowed two runs on six hits with a walk and two K’s in 3.1 frames.

    “I’m really, really proud of our team,” Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said.  “Those two pitchers for LSU (Rachele Fico and Brittany Mack) are both fantastic.  Our kids just were not going to be denied.  LSU jumped on us early, and we had our back against the wall.  Our kids just fought, fought, fought and clawed back in it, and Ivy (Renfroe) came in and shut them down.”

    A two-out single by left fielder Ashley Langoni granted the Tigers their initial base runner in the top of the first, but that was all LSU would get as Ellen Renfroe struck out shortstop Juliana Santos to conclude the frame.

    The Big Orange got a two-out threat started in the bottom half of the first as sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman walked and swiped second, and Gibson joined her via her team-leading 36th walk of 2012.  Unfortunately, the duo was stranded as a grounder to short got handled by LSU’s Santos for out number three.

    A long ball off the bat of second baseman Allison Falcon to begin the top of the second granted the Bayou Bengals their first lead of the series at 1-0.  Designated player Ashley Applegate beat out an infield single to second, and third baseman Tammy Wray walked to continue the offensive threat with still no one retired in the frame.  A pair of outs nearly kept LSU from adding anything else, but center fielder A.J. Andrews laced a little flare to left center that dropped in for a RBI as the advantage expanded to two runs.

    LSU catcher Morgan Russell delivered one-out single off the wall in left field during the top of the fourth that ended Ellen Renfroe’s stint in the circle as her sister Ivy came on for a relief appearance.  The change worked wonders as the new 6-0 right hander induced a pop-up off the bat of first baseman Ashleigh Kuhn and got the final retirement via a grounder from Andrews.

    Trying to get the Lady Vol offense untracked in the bottom of the fourth, Gibson christened the frame with a base knock and was soon joined on the base paths by Brown via a single.  Unfortunately, a strikeout and a pop-up into foul territory behind the plate raised Tennessee’s left-on-base total to four.

    The flood gates opened for the Lady Vols in the fifth-inning.  Lewis ignited the rally, just as she did against Radford earlier in the week, lacing a double to jump start the Big Orange offense. An LSU miscue allowed UT to plate its first run of the game after a Chavanne bunt was thrown over the head of the first baseman by Fico. Chavanne advanced 60 feet after a single off the bat of Dotson, which put the go-ahead runner on the base paths. A Shipman fielder’s choice, her 12th steal of the year and a Gibson walk loaded the bases for Burchell. Though not a walk-off like she blasted against Kentucky two weeks ago, the senior again provided some late-inning heroics after her double into the gap cleared the bases and gave UT a 4-2 lead. The Orange and White would tack on one more during the frame to extend the advantage to three via a single by Brown that was misplayed by the right fielder, allowing her to take third and Burchell to score.

    Following a pitching change, freshman designated player Cheyanne Tarango was plunked by Brittany Mack. Some heads up base running by Brown at third allowed Andrews to reach on a fielder’s choice and again pack the bases full of Lady Vols.  A strikeout and a groundout finally brought the frame to a close but not before Tennessee had erupted for five tallies.

    With a three-run lead, the elder Renfroe would make quick work of the Bayou Bengals in the top of the sixth. She forced the first two batters to ground out then got the final out of the inning by getting Wray to swing and miss on a full count.

    The onslaught continued for the Big Orange in its half of the sixth, beginning with a leadoff single from Dotson. Shipman laced a double off the outfield wall that advanced Dotson to third. A sharply hit grounder by Gibson was mishandled by the shortstop allowed the two runners to score as she slid headfirst into second, improving the score to 7-2. A fly out and a strikeout ensued, but Gibson stole third. Having been inserted into the game as a defensive replacement, Whitney Hammond came up big at the plate, doubling to push the UT lead to six at 8-2.

    A single from Andrews allowed Hammond to move to third and put the potential, game-ending run on first. With Andrews on second following a stolen base, Akamine stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter for Lewis and sent the third pitch she saw into center for a two-RBI, walk-off single to finish the contest via run-rule.