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    SEC Softball Today: April 28

    Tennessee 9, Ole Miss 0
    Florida 5, Kentucky 0
    Arkansas 8, Alabama 1
    Mississippi State 6, Tennessee Tech 2
    Mississippi State 5, Tennessee Tech 1
    Georgia 6, LSU 1
    Auburn 3, South Carolina 2

    Ivy Renfroe Tosses First Perfect Game as No. 6 Tennessee Rolls Past Ole Miss, 9-0

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Perfection was achieved on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in front of 1,762 fans at the Lee Softball Stadium as junior pitcher Ivy Renfroe fired her first-career perfect game and fifth no-hitter as the #6 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (43-9, 21-6 Southeastern Conference) won its 16th-straight game by rolling past Ole Miss, 9-0 (5 inn.).

    Certainly not to be overshadowed was the offensive effort of sophomore left fielder Melissa Davin.  The Fresno, Calif., native blasted two HR’s in a single game for the third time in 2012 as part of a perfect 2-for-2, five-RBI performance, keeping her series average against Ole Miss at a flawless 1.000 (3-for-3, three walks, 2 HR’s, five RBIs).

    Junior second baseman Lauren Gibson knocked in her 40th and 41st runs of the season while going 1-for-2 with a run scored, sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman delivered her SEC-leading 57th RBI via a sacrifice fly, and junior right fielder Kat Dotson went 2-for-2 at the dish with two runs scored.  Junior third baseman Raven Chavanne was also 2-for-2 with a pair of tallies, improving her league-leading batting average to .428 as the Thousand Oaks, Calif., native also reached successfully for the 32nd-consecutive contest. 

    Renfroe faced the minimum of 15 Rebel hitters, striking out six while securing her 12th-straight decision victory and improving her overall record to an impressive 17-6.

    “Today was a good effort by everybody, although it was a little slow getting started,” Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said.  “We went three innings before we got it started, but I’m really pleased with what happened in the fourth and fifth innings and definitely happy with Ivy’s (Renfroe) pitching performance.  Melissa (Davin) has worked so hard these last few weeks, and is really looking good on every pitch right now.  She’s an amazing athlete who is strong, can run, can throw people out at the plate and hit the ball out of the ballpark.”  

    Renfroe was dealing early on from the circle, opening the contest with consecutive strikeouts of Ole Miss second baseman Corrine Doornberg and left fielder Brittany Broome.  Shortstop Allison Brown ripped a shot to third that Chavanne dove to her left to catch right off the ground to end a one-two-three inning.

    The Lady Vol speed game tried to get the UT offense going right off the bat in the bottom of the first as Chavanne laced a single to the outfield to christen the frame.  Unfortunately in a rare occurrence, the Thousand Oaks, Calif., native was caught stealing second on a strong throw from Ole Miss catcher Marina Parra for the initial out.  Dotson followed with an infield hit, and then Shipman hit into a fielder’s choice.  Tennessee’s 6-1 shortstop swiped her 17th bag of the season to reach scoring position with two down, but a routine grounder to second ended the frame with no scoring.

    The Big Orange threatened again in the bottom of the second as walks by Davin and senior catcher Ashley Andrews placed a pair on with two retired.  Sophomore center fielder Tory Lewis lifted a blooper into the outfield that looked as if it might drop in, but UM’s Brittany Broome made a great sliding catch to leave two Lady Vols stranded.

    Thwarted in the opening frame, the Big Orange speed game successfully got a scoring outburst started in the bottom of the third.  Chavanne and Dotson each recorded singles and stolen bases to place the duo at second and third with none out.  That set the stage for consecutive sacrifice flies off the bats of Shipman and Gibson as Tennessee nabbed a 2-0 advantage.  Following a long double off the wall by senior designated player Shelby Burchell, Davin crushed an Erinn Jayjohn pitch over the wall for her sixth HR of the season, pushing the advantage to four tallies.

    With Renfroe having retired each of the first 12 batters she had faced through the opening four frames, the Big Orange offense exploded in the bottom of the fourth in support by putting up five runs to take a commanding 9-0 lead.  The assault all began with one down as Chavanne walked and Dotson was hit by an offering from reliever Kelly Chandler.  After a Shipman line out, Gibson laced a two-out single through the infield to record her 41st RBI of the season.  Chandler uncorked a wild pitch allowing Dotson to cross with UT’s sixth tally.  With two on Davin stepped into the batter’s box and delivered once again, launching a three-run shot, her seventh of the year, as the advantage expanded to 9-0. 

    From there all that was left was to see if Renfroe could finish off her first career perfect game.  The 6-0 right hander started the top of the fifth off with a strikeout of first baseman Londen Ladner.  Third baseman Cali Overbeck came so very close to breaking up perfection with a sharp grounder into the hole between third and short.  Chavanne dove quickly to her left to corral the ball before it could escape through the infield and fired a strike from her knees to junior first baseman Melissa Brown at first for a “web gem” second out.  That proved Ole Miss’ last gasp as Lauren Lindsey went down swinging, becoming Renfroe’s sixth and final strikeout victim and finishing off the perfect game.

    Tennessee and Ole Miss wrap up their series at the Lee Softball Stadium on Sun., April 29, at 1 p.m. ET in a game slated for live television broadcast via FOX Sports South and ESPN3.

    UF Softball All About Senior Michelle Moultrie Saturday as No. 2 Gators Blank UK, 5-0, to Even Series

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Saturday's Florida softball game was all about Gator senior All-American centerfielder Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) as the Orange and Blue evened the series with Kentucky (25-27, 11-13 SEC), blanking the Wildcats, 5-0, at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium on Senior Day. Moultrie and her family were honored in a pre-game ceremony, before mother, Cynthia, threw out Saturday's first pitch.

    In fitting Senior Day fashion, Moultrie blasted a solo shot, her team-leading 10th homer of the season, to right center in her first at-bat of the contest to give No. 2 Florida (43-7, 20-4 SEC) a lead it wouldn't relinquish. Freshman Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) followed up with a two-run jack that took the Orange and Blue up, 3-0, after the first stanza.

    As she's done so many times, Moultrie led the Gators Saturday with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate, with two RBI and one run scored for UF, while freshman Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) added two hits, a run and RBI to Florida's tally for the sixth multiple-hit game of her inaugural campaign donning a Gator uniform. As a team, Florida collaborated for eight hits to UK's five as UF put up runs early in the first (3), second (1) and third (1) innings.

    With its 20th shutout of the season following Saturday's win, Florida also added its 20th conference victory of the year, marking UF's fifth-consecutive 20-win record in SEC play, all under seventh-year head coach Tim Walton, the sixth 20+ win league record in Florida history, as UF's 1998 SEC Champion squad went 23-5.

    The Orange and Blue enter Sunday's series finale with Kentucky tied atop the SEC Standings with No. 3/4 Alabama as the Gators and Crimson Tide both boast a 20-4 conference record.

    Moultrie, a top-10 finalist for the 2012 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award and USA Softball's Player of the Year Award, added her second hit and RBI of the day in the second frame for the 4-0 Florida advantage before Medina poked a RBI single through the right side in the third inning to score junior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) from second for UF's fifth run of the afternoon after Horton roped her eighth double of the season.

    Freshman righty Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) put together a five-hit shutout in the circle for the victory, going the distance for the10th time this season to improve to 13-3 on the year. Haeger fanned seven with no walks to chalk up her fifth shutout of the campaign. Ellen Weaver started the game in the circle for the Wildcats, giving up both homers to Moultrie and Castro before Rachel Riley came on in relief for the final 5.0. Weaver (2-6) shouldered the loss after walking one and giving up UF's first three runs on the Gators' two first-inning hits. Riley rallied for four strikeouts, but surrendered six Florida hits and one earned run to finish out the game for UK

    After 2.5 shutout innings in the fourth and fifth, Medina struck again in the bottom of the sixth with a one-out double off the wall in deep left center that initially looked like it might clear the fence, while classmate Jess Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.) followed up with a hit-by-pitch for runners on first and second with one out. A Moultrie groundout advanced both Medina and Damico into scoring position for a Gator threat, but a groundout retired the side, leaving just three outs left for the Florida win in the top of the seventh.

    Haeger rallied to force a foul out to junior Sam Holle (Tampa, Fla.) at first base before fanning Krystal Smith swinging for the second out. It was then that Moultrie had her final bow on Senior Day, making a grand exit in front of a standing ovation of 1,092 Gator fans at KSP before the final out of the game, as Haeger rung up Emily Gaines in dramatic swinging fashion for Moultrie's Senior Day victory.

    For the second day in a row, senior leadoff Brittany Cervantes led the Wildcats at the dish with a 2-for-3 effort.

    UF and UK will clash in the series finale Sunday, with first pitch set for noon, as the Orange and Blue go for the series win.

    Arkansas takes down No. 4 Alabama
    FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team took down No.4 Alabama, 8-1 on Saturday afternoon, at Bogle Park. The Razorbacks broke a 30 game losing streak against Alabama that dates back to 2002. With this victory Arkansas improves to 25-23 overall and 6-18 in the Southeastern Conference. Alabama drops, only its fifth game of the season, and moves to 44-5 overall and 20-4 in the SEC.
    “I am so proud of our kids today,” said head coach Mike Larabee. “They really deserved this win.”
    Arkansas began the second game of the series with spectacular defense, forcing Alabama to go three-up and three-down in the first inning.
    The Razorbacks offense looked just as sharp as their defense in the first inning. Devon Wallace collected a walk in the lead off position followed by a home run to left-center field from Clarisa Navarro to give Arkansas the early 2-0 lead. Jayme Gee collected her first hit on the day in the bottom of the first when she grabbed a single up the middle.
    Alabama loaded the bases in the top of the second; Arkansas allowed only one run to come home and forced the Crimson Tide to leave three runners on base. 
    Freshman Megan Pearson collected her first hit of the series when she hit the ball out to the right-center field wall giving her a double, also her first double on the season. Pearson also collected 14 putouts for the game.
    “Megan is kind of a field general as the first baseman letting people know what defense we are in,” said Larabee. “She has really solidified our defense, as of recent.”
    The Razorbacks placed runners on first and second in the bottom of the third after Sierra Bronkey and Chloe Oprzedek were walked. A wild pitch advanced both runners into scoring position. Unfortunately, no runners were able to be brought home that inning keeping the score 2-1, Arkansas.
    Alabama threatened again in the fourth placing a runner on third after a walk. Arkansas’s defense held strong by retiring three batters in a row to end the inning.
    Pearson got the offense going again in the bottom of the fourth collecting her second hit on the day. Tori Mort followed with patience at the plate and was rewarded a walk. Wallace then placed a ball over the right center field wall bringing home three runs and collecting her 12th home run on the season, 10 being in SEC play.
    “Hitting is very contagious,” said Larabee. “When you have a batter like Devon smoking the ball, it just gives everyone else confidence. They just feed off of each other.”
    Jennifer Rambo added to the home run hitting spree in the bottom of the fifth collecting her own and giving Arkansas the 6-1 lead.
    Freshman Kimmy Beasley was a main staple in the victory. Beasley threw all seven innings while collecting her tenth win on the season. Beasley recorded three strikeouts on the day while only allowing two hits and one run.
    “Kimmy didn’t give in today,” said Larabee. “She really stepped up for us and was in control of the game.”
    Mort collected her second walk of the day in the bottom of the sixth. She then placed herself in scoring position by stealing second. Wallace once again stepped up to the plate and blasted a home run over the right-center field wall giving Arkansas the 8-1 lead. Wallace now has 32 RBI on the season, with eight of them coming against Alabama. With Wallace’s home run, the Razorbacks tied the school record for home runs in a single game, with four. Last time Arkansas hit four home runs in a game was in 2010 against Kentucky in Lexington, Ky.
    Arkansas and Alabama with wrap up the series tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Bogle Park. Sunday is also Senior Day; there will be a short ceremony to honor the seniors that will take place ten minute before first pitch.  
    “We need another well pitched game tomorrow,” said Larabee. “You can score all the runs and get all of the hits in the world, but this game is still focused on what a team does in the circle.”

    Bulldogs Conclude Best April in School History With Senior Day Sweep of Tennessee Tech

    STARKVILLE, Miss. – Seniors Misty Flesher and Lindsey Dunlap went out in style on Senior Day, picking up wins inside the circle in Mississippi State’s doubleheader sweep of Tennessee Tech (22-28) Saturday afternoon at the MSU Softball Stadium. With the 6-2 and 5-1 victories, the Bulldogs (32-19) finished the month with their best April winning percentage in school history (13-2).

    “I am thrilled Misty and Lindsey picked up wins today,” Head Coach Vann Stuedeman said. “It means a lot to me that they picked up W’s for this team on Senior Day. I want to thank all of our seniors for such a great year. With that said, our season is far, far from over.”

    Flesher and Dunlap anchored the pitching staff, with Flesher improving to 4-1 with the win in game one and Dunlap moving to 2-2 with the triumph in game two. Flesher gave up one run in five innings of work, striking out three and walking none. Dunlap started game two and pitched a season-high five frames, striking out a season-best eight batters while giving up just one run.

    The three starting seniors in the lineup also found success, led by Ka’ili Smith, who walked three times, scored once, stole a base and recorded an RBI single. Brittany Bell tallied two hits, an RBI and a run, while Brittany Gates tapped the dish once.

    Offensively, sophomore Jessica Offutt was the hero in game one, lacing a game-winning, bases-clearing three-RBI triple down the right-field line in the bottom of the second. In game two, fellow sophomore Heidi Shape rifled a two-out, two-RBI double in the bottom of the first that proved to be the game winner.

    Riding its longest winning streak since 2008 and having won 13 of its last 14 games, Starkville’s Team will now conclude the regular season by traveling to Auburn for a crucial three-game series May 4-6.


    Georgia Picks Up 6-1 Win Over LSU

    BATON ROUGE, La. – The 12th-ranked University of Georgia softball picked up its fifth Southeastern Conference series win with a 6-1 victory over No. 23 LSU on Saturday afternoon in front of a capacity crowd at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, La.

    Tess Sito earned the win to improve to 9-1 on the year. In 5.1 innings of work, Sito allowed one run on two hits and struck out three. Morgan Montemayor threw 1.2 innings of relief, allowing three hits and issuing just one walk. Brittany Mack dropped to 14-9 on the year, giving up six runs, four of which were earned, on eight hits and four hit batsmen. She also struck out seven.

    Kristyn Sandberg led the Bulldogs offensively, going 3-for-4 at the plate with a pair of singles and a double. Sandberg also scored a run for Georgia. Niaja Griffin was hit three times in four at bats and scored a run for the Bulldogs. Gracie Goulder went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI-singles.

    The Bulldogs showed their offensive prowess in the top of the first, sending eight batters to the plate. Sito opened the game with a single and scored two batters later when Paige Wilson hit into a fielder's choice that put runners at first and second. Ashley Pauly, who reached on an error, came home on a Sandberg single and made it a 2-0 game. Wilson scored the final run of the inning when Christine Olney got the ball to drop down the right field line for a RBI-single.

    Georgia added a pair of runs in the top of the third to take a 5-0 lead after Sandberg opened the inning with a double. Pinch runner Macie Couey moved to third on a groundout and came around to score on a passed ball by LSU. With one away, Griffin was hit by a pitch, stole second and came around to score as Gracie Goulder worked a long at bat into a RBI-single that gave the Bulldogs a 5-0 lead.

    LSU got a run back in the bottom of the third to make it a 5-1 game. Dylan Supak started the inning by getting hit by a pitch and came around to score on a single by Juliana Santos.

    Goulder came away with her second RBI-single of the day, rocketing a pitch to a diving Allison Falcon at second that scored Sandberg from second and extended the Bulldog lead to 6-1.

    Sito retired seven-straight batters after giving up a single in the third before Montemayor came on in relief. Montemayor picked up the final five outs of the game to seal the game and series win for the Bulldogs.


    Auburn Defeats South Carolina

    Columbia, S.C.  – Elizabeth Eisterhold’s two-out, solo home run in the fifth inning broke a tie game and lifted the Auburn softball team to a 3-2 win over South Carolina Saturday night.
    The win improved Auburn’s record to 30-19 overall and 9-15 in the Southeastern Conference. South Carolina fell to 23-28 overall and 3-21 in the SEC. Sunday’s series finale is slated for a noon CT first pitch.
    “I’m really proud of the way this team fought and found a way to win tonight,” Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. “Liz came through with a really clutch hit after they battled back to tie the game. Lauren (Schmalz) did a great job for the second night in a row coming in and shutting them down.”
    Angel Bunner earned the win to improve to 12-4. Bunner started and went five and one-third innings, allowing two runs, both earned, on seven hits with no walks and two strikeouts.
    Lauren Schmalz earned her second save of the season, and second in as many games, after pitching the final one and two-thirds of perfect ball.
    Katelynn Howser (8-9) took the loss in a complete-game effort. Howser allowed three runs, all earned, on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
    The Gamecocks took the early lead, pushing one run across in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, Bunner hit Lauren Lackey. After a fly out, Dana Hathorn laced a single to right that moved Lackey to third. Evan Childs followed with a single to left that plated Lackey for a 1-0 South Carolina lead.
    The Tigers rallied for two runs in the top of the third. Baylee Stephens led off with a single and moved to second on a sac bunt by Lauren Guzman. After a fly out for the second out of the inning, Brooke Lathan swung and missed for strike three but the pitch sailed wide and went to the backstop. Lathan beat the throw to first, and running all the way, Stephens hit third and raced home, scoring just ahead of the tag to tie the game 1-1.
    Lathan took second on the throw home and came around to score when Eisterhold laced a single to center to give Auburn a 2-1 lead. 
    South Carolina used a two-out rally to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth. After the first two batters of the inning were retired, Chelsea Hawkins doubled off the wall in right field. That was followed by a double to right-center by Kristen Struett which scored the game-tying run.
    The Tigers used a two-out rally of their own to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth. After the first batters were retired, Eisterhold cranked a solo home run over the wall in centerfield. It was Eisterhold’s 12th home run of the season and the 34th of her career.
    The Gamecocks put two on with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. With clean-up hitter Kaitlin Westfall at the plate, Bunner went to a 3-2 count. Westfall then laced a line drive foul down the third base line that Caitlin Schultze grabbed on a full dive to end the inning without a run scoring.
    South Carolina put the tying run on in the bottom of the sixth when Childs reached on a leadoff single to the hole at shortstop. After a sac bunt moved Childs to second with one out, Schmalz was brought in to relieve Bunner. On a 1-2 pitch, Struett flied out at the warning track in left-center for the second out of the inning, with Childs taking third on the play. Schmalz was able to work out of the jam when she forced Shelby Gonzales to fly out to Amber Harrison in right field.
    In the seventh, Schmalz retired the Gamecocks in order on a foul fly out, ground out and a line drive out to left to end the game and give the Tigers a series win.