SEC Softball Today: April 21 > SEC > NEWS
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    SEC Softball Today: April 21

    softBALL RESULTS
    Auburn 5, Arkansas 1
    Florida 7, Florida International 1
    Alabama 6, Georgia 4
    Tennessee 4, South Carolina 2
    Mississippi State 2, Kentucky 1
    LSU 2, Ole Miss 1

    Lathan, Eisterhold Power Auburn Softball To 5-1 Win Over Arkansas

    Auburn, Ala..  –  Brooke Lathan hit a pair of home runs and Elizabeth Eisterhold added a home run to lead the Auburn softball team to a 5-1 win over Arkansas Saturday afternoon.
                   
    Auburn improved to 28-18 overall and 7-14 in the Southeastern Conference. The Tigers also claimed a series win over the Razorbacks after winning Friday night’s series opener. Arkansas dropped to 23-21 overall and 4-17 in the SEC. Sunday’s series finale will air on Fox Sports South/Sportsouth at noon CT.
                   
    The game also marked the 221st consecutive game started by senior shortstop Lauren Guzman, tying the Auburn record set by Ashley Griffin from 2003-06. Guzman has started every game on the Auburn schedule since arriving as a freshman in 2009. Additionally, Guzman has not been lifted from a game since April 13, 2010, a span of 121 consecutive games and 834 consecutive innings.
                   
    “This was a really good win,” Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. “I’m really happy for Liz getting a big hit on her senior day and it was really good to see Brooke swing the bat well. Jenee did a really good job pitching today, holding them to just one hit.”
                   
    Jenee Loree improved to 9-7 with a complete-game, one-hitter. Loree allowed one run, earned, with three walks and seven strikeouts.
                   
    Kimmy Beasley took the loss in relief to fall to 9-6. Beasley allowed five runs, all earned, on six hits with a strikeout in three innings of work. Hope McLemore started and went two and one-third innings allowing just one hit and one walk.
                   
    For the second day in a row the Razorbacks pushed across a run in the top of the first inning. Clarissa Navarro reached on a fielder’s choice, which forced Devon Wallace out a second. With two outs, Chloe Oprzedek doubled to left-center, bringing Navarro home all the way from first for a 1-0 Arkansas lead.
                   
    The Tigers rallied in the bottom of the fifth when Brooke Lathan cranked a leadoff homer over the wall in left-center. It was Lathan’s seventh home run of the season and it made it a 1-1 game. With two outs in the inning, Branndi Melero chopped a ball in front of home plate and beat the throw for an infield single. Lauren Guzman followed with a double off the wall in left-center to plate Melero and give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
                   
    Amber Harrison followed with a pop up to shallow right that fell between the second baseman and right fielder and then rolled, scoring Guzman and giving Harrison a double. Guzman’s run made it 3-1.
                   
    The Tigers gave themselves breathing room in the bottom of sixth on back-to-back homers from Eisterhold and Lathan. It was Eisterhold’s 11th home run of the season, 33rd of career, and Lathan’s eighth of the season, which gave Auburn a 5-1 lead.
           
    Loree set the Razorbacks down in order in top of the seventh, with all three outs coming on ground outs to Guzman at shortstop.



    No. 3/4 Florida Softball Completes Sweep of FIU, 7-1


    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The No. 3/4 Gator softball squad used a six-run, four hit sixth-inning splurge to down FIU, 7-1, Saturday in the series finale between the two Sunshine State squads. After sweeping a doubleheader Friday evening, Florida returned Saturday with a nine-hit performance – including two homers – to down the Panthers (24-23) and improve to 41-5 overall on the year with its last non-conference series of the season before buckling down for the remainder of the SEC slate.

    Sophomore Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) rallied for her fourth double of the season to send UF’s first run across home in the bottom of the fifth, but the Panthers countered with a run of their own in the top of the sixth for a 1-1 game. Junior Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) snapped the tie to lead off the home half of the inning with a solo shot, giving the Gators momentum for a six-run frame to secure the victory.

    Sophomore ace Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) earned her second win in as many days in the circle for the Orange and Blue, improving to 24-3 overall with a seven-strikeout performance. Rogers went the distance, giving up just three hits, three walks and one FIU unearned run to complete the day.

    For the second time in as many days, freshman Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) connected for a triple, while classmate Jess Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.) smashed her first career homer donning the Orange and Blue after Briana Little (Middleburg, Fla.) knocked her first career long ball in Friday action. S. Fagan finished the afternoon 2-for-3 with two runs, two RBI and one walk, while concluding the series against FIU with a .600 batting clip (6-for-10), two triples, six RBI and four runs scored.

    Florida had its chances early, most ideally in the fourth with two runners in scoring position, but UF left seven runners on base before putting up their first run of Saturday’s finale in the fifth.

    After the Gators stranded one in the first inning, freshman Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) milked FIU hurler Shelby Graves for a leadoff walk in the second, as fellow first year Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) followed with a two-out base hit to right field for runners on first and second, but Graves forced a pop-up to retire the side. Medina finished the afternoon 2-for-3 with one run, while playing a crucial role on defense, including her contribution to a Gator double play in the fifth.

    In the third inning, S. Fagan dropped a one-out bunt single and proceeded to swipe second for her 14th stolen base of the season before Coyle followed with a walk for runners on first and second. The Gators couldn’t capitalize, though, as another Graves pop-out ended the inning before UF could take advantage.

    A junior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) single through the left side led off the bottom of the fourth for the home team, while Gammel dropped a sac bunt to move her into scoring position. Next up, Medina sent one up the middle, putting runners on the corners with just one out on the board. A sophomore Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) groundout allowed Medina to scamper to second for two runners in scoring position, while also turning over the UF lineup, but a hack from Moultrie found the right fielder’s glove for the third out before UF could push a run across.

    A 6-4-3 double play in the top of the fifth for Coyle, Medina and Saturday’s first baseman, Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.), gave the Gators some momentum heading to the bottom half of the inning. A S. Fagan leadoff walk started UF’s charge in the fifth, as S. Fagan proceeded to take second and third on two Graves wild pitches. A Coyle one-out RBI double to left field plated S. Fagan for UF’s first run of the afternoon before a strikeout and fly out ended the frame.

    Panther leadoff hitter Jessy Alfonso connected for FIU’s first hit of the afternoon, a one-out success to right center, while Brie Rojas also found the right-center gap to plate Alfonso, knotting the game at one-all heading to the bottom of the sixth.

    Gammel was quick to take the Gators ahead with a leadoff homer, her fifth of the season, to the left-center scoreboard for the 2-1 Gator advantage. Florida added its third run on a Mariah Dawson wild pitch, allowing Medina to cross home as Moultrie walked. Next up, S. Fagan found the left-center gap for her second triple in as many days to bring two more Gators across the dish for the 5-1 lead.

    A Haeger groundout added to the sixth-inning scoring splurge before Damico knocked her first career homer over the center-field fence to take the Orange and Blue up, 7-1, for good.

    The Gators will swing back into conference action Tuesday with a doubleheader versus LSU. First pitch is slated for 5 p.m. from Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium, while game two will follow at approximately 7:30. Gator and Tiger fans can catch Tuesday’s twin bill on CSS. Locally, Gator fans should tune into Cox Channel 199 for programming. Note this is different than the usual channel 259 for CSS programming. Fans will need a digital cable box, but will not need to be subscribers to the Cox sports tier. The first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader will air live, while the second game will air on tape delay at 10:30 p.m. (ET). In addition, fans can catch both match-ups on ESPN3.com.

    In addition to CSS’s programming, fans can tune in live locally and online to WYGC-104.9 FM, 105 The Game, with Adam Schick and Megan Bush or follow live stats online through Gametracker, with all links accessible on GatorZone.com/softball.

    For all game notes, stats and recaps, be sure to visit www.GatorZone.com following each game through the remainder of the season. For in-game updates on all the action, follow the Gators on Twitter @GatorZoneSBall and check UF’s official softball Facebook page HERE for updates on competition.



    No. 2 Alabama Secures Series Win with 6-4 Victory

    ATHENS, Ga. – The second ranked Alabama softball team secured its seventh straight series victory over No. 13 Georgia with a 6-4 win Saturday afternoon at Jack Turner Stadium. With the victory, the Crimson Tide improves to 42-4 overall and 19-3 in Southeastern Conference play. The Bulldogs drop to 35-12 on the year and 13-9 in league action.

    Senior Amanda Locke got the job done in the circle and at the plate as she tossed her longest outing since her freshman season in 2009. The right-hander went 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits while striking out five.

    At the plate, Locke batted 2-for-4, with a home run and three RBI. The Mesquite, Texas native batted .545 in the series with two home runs and six RBI.

    Sophomore Jackie Traina earned her second save of the season as a three-run seventh inning spoiled what would have been just the third seven inning complete game for Locke in her career.

    Alabama was outhit 10-7. Junior Kayla Braud scored two runs while senior Jazlyn Lunceford added a two-run homer. Senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia also went deep as the Tide smashed seven home runs in the series.

    Locke helped her own cause by hitting her second home run in as many days, this time a two-run shot in the third inning to give Alabama an early 2-0 lead.

    Georgia led off the fifth inning with pinch-hitter Anna Swafford and she cut the lead in half with a solo home run on a full count pitch.

    Locke once again came through for the Tide, driving in a two-out insurance run in the seventh with a single up the middle to plate Braud. .

    Alabama continued the two out rally in the seventh as Lunceford hit a two-run home run over the flag pole in center to expand the lead to 5-1. Reilly-Boccia then promptly followed that with a solo shot, drilling the second pitch inside the foul pole down the line in right to give Alabama a 6-1 lead.

    Alabama will return home for a midweek contest against Troy before continuing on the road for SEC play. The Tide will host the Trojans on Wednesday, April 25, with first pitch slated for 6 p.m.



    Shipman and Chavanne Lead Tennessee Past South Carolina, 4-2

    COLUMBIA, S.C. – Clutch two-RBI singles from sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman and junior third baseman Raven Chavanne helped the #7 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (39-9, 18-6 Southeastern Conference) rally from a two-run deficit in the sixth inning to a thrilling, 4-2 victory over South Carolina (23-25, 3-18 SEC) on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in front of the largest Beckham Field crowd since 2003 (928).

    In the circle junior starter Ivy Renfroe won her 10th consecutive decision in improving to 15-6 overall, allowing two runs on nine hits with two walks and five strikeouts over 6.1 innings of work.  Sophomore Ellen Renfroe earned her fourth save of the year by tossing two-thirds of a frame of perfect relief.

    Chavanne led the Lady Vol offense with a 2-for-4, two-RBI effort, reaching base safely for a career-best 28th consecutive game.  The Thousand Oaks, Calif., native also registered her team-leading 18th multi-hit effort with the pair of base knocks off South Carolina starter Katelynn Howser.  Shipman was 1-for-2 at the plate with a pair of RBIs, improving the Valencia, Calif., product’s league-leading RBI totals to 54 (counting all games) and 30 (counting league games only).  Junior right fielder Kat Dotson was 2-for-4 and is now hitting a robust .406 overall since the second game of a doubleheader against #1 Alabama back on March 21, a span of 22 games.

    “We started slow, and South Carolina started hot by hitting everything we threw up there,” Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said.  “Our kids refused to quit after we got down.  The turning point was the bottom of the fifth when they got two base runners in scoring position.  Ivy (Renfroe) got a pair of strikeouts to end the threat, and then we were able to score a couple of runs in the sixth to tie it up.  We fought back, and in the end, it was a great win for Lady Vol softball.”

    After Tennessee left a runner stranded in the top of the first following a two-out walk by Shipman, the Gamecocks managed their own scoring threat in the bottom half.  Center fielder Lauren Lackey registered S.C.’s initial base hit on a one-out single through the middle of the infield.  The Lady Vols got some good fortune as left fielder Kaitlin Westfall ripped a shot between first and second, but the ball hit the Gamecock base runner for an automatic out.  Second baseman Dana Hathorn grounded out to third as Chavanne corralled the ball and fired across the diamond to conclude the frame with no damage done.

    With South Carolina’s Howser keeping the UT offense under wraps from the circle, the Gamecocks managed another base occupant with one out in the bottom of the second as designated player Kaela Jackson walked.  The Big Orange defense took over from there, however, as a sharp bouncer back to the circle was handled personally by Ivy Renfroe.  The 6-0 right hander turned quickly and tossed to Shipman covering second, who completed the 1-6-3 twin-killing to junior Melissa Brown at first for Tennessee’s third double play over the first two games in the series.

    The Garnet & Black threatened again in the bottom of the third with two down as shortstop Samie Garcia got the outburst started with a single through the left side of the infield.  After a wild pitch Lackey reached via an infield single, putting runners at the corners.  That set the stage for a bloop double off the bat of Westfall that landed just on the chalk down the left field line, allowing Garcia to trot home and make it 1-0 S.C.  Hathorn followed with a single back through the middle of UT’s infield as Lackey crossed from 60 feet away for a 2-0 advantage.

    Dotson managed Tennessee’s initial hit of the match-up on a perfectly-executed bunt single to open the top of the fourth.  Unfortunately, a fly ball to shallow right, a caught stealing at second and a routine chopper to first brought a quick end to the once promising half-inning.

    An infield base knock from Lackey christening the bottom of the fifth got another South Carolina threat started.  Following a perfect sacrifice bunt, Hathorn hit a shot back to the circle for a fielder’s choice.  Unfortunately, a toss to third attempting to retire the lead runner was low for an error, allowing the Garnet & Black to boast two in scoring position with still just one out.  Ivy Renfroe continued to battle from the circle, however, striking out right fielder Chelsea Hawkins for a vital second retirement.  Jackson stepped into the batter’s box and quickly got ahead of UT’s hurler 3-0, but Renfroe rebounded for her second consecutive strikeout and fourth of the contest as S.C. left two stranded in scoring position.

    With time beginning to run short for Tennessee to rally from the two-run deficit, the Lady Vol speed game started a vital threat in the top of the sixth.  Sophomore center fielder Tory Lewis managed a one-out walk and was soon joined on the bases via consecutive bunt singles by both Chavanne and Dotson, loading the bags full of Big Orange.  That set the stage for a clutch two-RBI single through the infield off the bat of Shipman as UT dead-locked the contest at 2-2.  

    Brown tried to push the Big Orange in front to open the top of the seventh by blasting a promising drive deep into the outfield.  It looked as if the Valencia, Calif., native’s shot would likely have hit off the fencing, but Westfall raced over and made an amazing catch while colliding with the wall for the first out.  Lady Vol defensive replacement senior Holly Baker was allowed to hit in a big spot and delivered for the Lady Vols, drawing a walk off Howser that began the crucial scoring rally.  The Broadway, Va., native swiped second and was soon joined on the base paths as Andrews walked and freshman pinch hitter Cheyanne Tarango was struck by a pitch.  With the bags packed Chavanne delivered in the clutch, blooping a single just over the South Carolina infield for a pair of RBIs as the Big Orange finally corralled the lead at 4-2.  

    Down to the final opportunity to extend or perhaps even win the contest in the bottom of the seventh, the Gamecocks got some immediate life as Westfall beat out an infield single to second with one down.  Hathorn was struck by a pitch as the decision was made to summon in Ellen Renfroe from the bullpen to face a save situation.  After falling behind in the count 3-0 to Hawkins, the 6-0 righty battled back full before the hitter ripped a shot to third.  Chavanne knocked it down, recovered and fired a strike to first for a big second out as Gamecock runners advanced to second and third.  With the potential tying run standing in scoring position, Jackson lifted a pop-up that was tracked down by Shipman near the outfield grass at short to end the thrilling comeback win.



    Walk-Off Winner By Lenahan Gives Mississippi State Series Win Against Kentucky

    STARKVILLE, Miss. - With a national audience clinging to their television sets and the capacity crowd in attendance hanging on every pitch, Mississippi State's Sam Lenahan delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth Saturday for a 2-1 series-clinching victory against Kentucky at the MSU Softball Stadium. The Bulldogs' triumph on ESPNU gave them their fifth-consecutive SEC win, marking their longest league winning streak since March 2005.

    "Execution is the name of the game, and we could not have executed any better in the eighth inning than we did today," Head Coach Vann Stuedeman said. "The fans pulled us through in extra innings and I want to thank every single fan that came out and supported us on national television."

    Lenahan was clutch in helping MSU clinch its third-straight series win inside conference play, finishing 2-for-4 with the biggest RBI of the season for the Maroon and White. Also collecting hits for Starkville's Team were redshirt senior Brittany Bell (1-for-4, RBI), sophomore Heidi Shape (1-for-3) and redshirt sophomore Erin Nesbit (1-for-3).

    It was a total team effort for the Bulldogs in the circle, as Stuedeman used four of her five pitchers on the staff. Misty Flesher started for MSU, pitching an inning of work. Junior Kylie Vry and senior Lindsey Dunlap followed Flesher on the rubber, combining to throw 5.0 scoreless innings into the seventh. Junior southpaw Stephanie Becker came in to finish the game, picking up her second win in as many days (15-10 overall) with 2.0 hitless frames. After giving up one run on three hits in the first inning, the Bulldog pitchers combined to give up no runs on two hits the final seven stanzas.

    Kentucky led by a run heading into the bottom of the fifth, when State picked up its 74th two-out RBI of 2012 to tie the game. With one out, MSU right fielder Brittany Gates hit a comebacker to the Kentucky pitcher, but reached second on an error by the Kentucky first baseman. The speedy senior ended up at third when sophomore center fielder Jessica Offutt grounded out to the pitcher. The tying run stood 60 feet away on third when Bell dropped an 0-1 offering to shallow right-center field to make it an even game.

    Both teams played scoreless softball in the sixth and seventh inning, until the home squad came up in the bottom of the eighth. All-SEC candidate Jessica Cooley walked on a full count to put the winning run on the bags. That brought up reigning SEC Player of the Week Ka'ili Smith, who executed a sacrifice bunt to perfection to advance Cooley to scoring position. The stage was set for Lenahan, who ripped single up the middle, giving UK center fielder Kara Howard a play at the plate. Howard winded up and gunned it home, but a perfect head-first slide by Cooley on the outside of the plate gave MSU the win as the stadium exploded in jubilation.

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    LSU Softball Celebrates “Strikeout Ovarian Cancer” Event with 2-1 Win

    BATON ROUGE – On a night where the No. 23 LSU softball program wore teal jerseys to celebrate survivors and spread awareness during its inaugural “Strikeout Ovarian Cancer” event, it was only fitting that Ashleigh Kuhn secured the game-winning RBI to propel the Tigers to a 2-1 victory over Ole Miss Saturday in-front of a season’s best 1,815 fans at Tiger Park.

    “I thought it was a great effort by the fans,” head coach Beth Torina said. “They all showed up wearing their teal. I feel like the women that we honored tonight were also very excited about the game. I feel like they really appreciated all of the effort of the Baton Rouge community. Hopefully, we were able to spread some awareness and gave those women some extra strength and support. I just really appreciate all they’ve had to go through in their lives.”

    Kuhn, whose mother is a 10-year survivor of Cervical Cancer, provided a RBI groundout to break a 1-1 tie during the bottom of the fourth inning. The heroics were set up by an Allison Falcon leadoff single, and pinch runner Alex Boulet’s back-to-back steals of second and third base.

    “We really need the wins, and we’re getting our confidence back,” Kuhn said. “We’ve been working really hard in practice. It was really great to get the game-winning RBI tonight, and I bet my mom was screaming in the stands.”

    Brittany Mack went the distance in the circle and ended a four-game losing streak. She scattered eight hits and was touched up for an unearned run to improve to 13-8 on the season. The senior right-hander racked up 11 strikeouts versus two walks and reached double figure Ks for the fifth time in 2012.

    “She did a great job tonight,” Torina said. “I like seeing all the strikeouts. She definitely kept Ole Miss fooled and kept them off-balance. It was nice to see her bounce back from some of the things she’s been through lately.”

    LSU dented the scoreboard with the game’s first run during the bottom of the third inning. A.J. Andrews ripped a leadoff triple into the right centerfield gap.

    Two batters later, Andrews scampered home on Ashley Langoni’s sacrifice fly. It was Langoni’s 128th career RBI which enabled her to match Quinlan Duhon (2005-08) for seventh place on LSU’s all-time list.

    Ole Miss fired back with an unearned run in the fourth inning. The Rebels took advantage of a Londen Ladner leadoff walk followed by a Kendall Bruning single.

    A passed ball allowed both runners to move into scoring position, and pinch runner Jayla Hubbard crossed the plate with the equalizer on a Marina Parra RBI single. Mack fired back and struck out the side to keep the score at 1-1.

    Down 2-1, Ole Miss had an opportunity to draw even again during the sixth inning. Erinn Jayjohn connected for a one-out single and swiped second base. Mack registered consecutive Ks of pinch hitter Kelly Chandler and Cali Overbeck to secure the 2-1 triumph.

    “My drop ball was definitely the key factor tonight,” Mack said. “Last year [against Ole Miss], I threw a lot of off-speed curves, so I was thinking that maybe they might be waiting on that tonight. I definitely wanted to make sure I mixed it up my pitches more this year than last year. Also, my drop ball was really getting them to chase. I was able to keep it low enough, and they were definitely going after it.”