MSU Softball Wins School-Record 13th Road Game With 3-1 Victory At Auburn
|Mississippi State 3, Auburn 1
|Ole Miss 1, South Carolina 0
|Kentucky 4, LSU 3
|Florida 4, Alabama 1
AUBURN, Ala. – Junior left-handed pitcher Stephanie Becker was unhittable for the first four innings and senior southpaw Lindsey Dunlap recorded her second save of the season, as the Mississippi State softball team (33-19, 12-14 SEC) defeated Auburn (31-20, 10-16 SEC), 3-1, Friday night at Jane B. Moore Field. The 13th true road win of 2012 broke the school record of 12 set in 1998 and tied in 2001, while also giving the Bulldogs their longest winning streak (12) since the 2006 squad won a school-best 16 in a row.
“If you are a fan of college athletics, you have to get out and watch games like tonight,” Head Coach Vann Stuedeman said. “The results inside the circle were a complete staff effort. This was a great team win.”
Becker showed up to pitch Friday with a no-hitter through her first 4.1 innings of work. The southpaw from Chicago recorded her first 12 outs via fly balls, finishing with 5.0 scoreless innings en route to her 18th win of the year. Becker struck out one and walked one before being replaced by fellow junior lefty Kylie Vry, who yielded one run in 1.1 innings of relief. Dunlap came in with one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, completing the win in clutch fashion without allowing a hit.
All-SEC candidates Brittany Bell and Ka’ili Smith were the catalysts for a Bulldog offense that scored all three runs on two outs. In the leadoff spot, Bell went 2-for-3 with two runs and a double, while Smith finished 1-for-2 with a game-winning two-run home run and a walk.
The Bulldogs struck first blood with in the top of the first, which began when Bell ripped a hard-hit single past a diving shortstop for a leadoff single. Following a sacrifice bunt by junior left fielder Jessica Cooley to advance Bell to second and a strikeout by Smith, Lenahan stepped into the box with two outs. The sophomore dribbled a pitch down the first-base line, but was called safe after sprinting out the first baseman’s throw to the second baseman at the bag. Bell never stopped hustling as the play unfolded, scoring all the way from second for the first run of the game.
Just like the first frame, Bell was the first MSU runner on base in the third with a one-out double off the giant blue wall in left field. Smith came up for the second time in as many at-bats with a runner in scoring position. This time was different from the first at-bat, as the senior launched a 2-2 offering over the wall in left for a two-out, two-run home run.
Auburn’s lone run came on a bases-loaded Lauren Guzman sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh.
Game two of the series begins Saturday at 1 p.m. and can be heard for free online through HailStateTV at www.hailstate.com/hstvlive.
Ladner’s Solo Shot Lifts Rebels Over South Carolina
OXFORD, Miss. – First baseman Londen Ladner broke a scoreless tie with a sixth-inning solo homer and the Rebels limited South Carolina to no runs and just three hits, as Ole Miss took Friday night’s series opener 1-0 over the Gamecocks at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.
With one down in the bottom of the sixth, Ladner took the first pitch she saw from South Carolina starting pitcher Aubrey Broyles deep over the wall in left to break to a scoreless tie and give the Rebels (20-32, 5-22 SEC) a lead they would not relinquish. It was Ladner’s team-best sixth home run of the season.
“I was looking for something inside,” said Ladner. “She had pitched me in the last two at-bats, so I was thinking look in.I got it on the sweet spot, but I got under it just a little. I was rounding first thinking please go. I’m just glad our pitching and defense held us in the game and gave us a chance to win.”
The Gamecocks (23-30, 3-23) threatened in the top of the seventh after designated player Kristen Struett singled to left to lead off the inning and pinch ran for by Hannah Milks, who moved to second on a sac bunt. Reliever Erinn Jayjohn (5-13) then hit pinch hitter Lacey Rother, who was ran for by Kyle Morin, but got shortstop Samie Garcia to ground into a double play to end the game.
South Carolina loaded the bases with two out in the second on a pair of walks and a hit batter by Ole Miss starter Kendall Bruning, but Bruning got Gamecock catcher Shelby Gonzales to ground back to the circle to strand all three runners.
Broyles held the Rebels hitless until the fifth when center fielder Dallas Hardin reached on an infield single with one out. Catcher Marina Parra followed with a single to left to put runners on first and second and a Corrine Doornberg groundout moved both runners into scoring position. However, Broyles got left fielder Brittany Broome to fly out to left to end the threat.
Bruning got the no decision after allowing just two hits and no runs in 5.1 innings of work. She struck out one and walked three. Jayjohn entered in relief in the sixth and picked up the win after giving up one hit in 1.2 innings.
Ole Miss and South Carolina will continue their three-game series tomorrow at 2 p.m. The Rebels will host “Senior Day” activities for the 2012 Ole Miss seniors before the game.
Cervantes’ Solo Homer in Seventh Leads to Extra-Inning Victory
LEXINGTON, Ky. – With two outs in the bottom of the seventh and Kentucky trailing by a score, senior Brittany Cervantes tattooed a ball to deep center to tie the game at 3-3 forcing the game into extra innings. In the extra frame, an LSU error in left field allowed Ashleigh Gustafson to score from second and tally the winning run in a come-from behind 4-3 upset of No. 22 LSU in front of 922 fans at the UK Softball Complex on Friday night.
“I was really proud of my team tonight,” UK head coach Rachel Lawson said. “For these girls to show the resiliency they did and continue to fight back against one of the best teams in our league really shows you something.”
With the win, Kentucky climbs back to .500 at 27-27 overall including a 13-13 mark in the Southeastern Conference. LSU falls to 34-19 overall with a 15-11 SEC mark.
Senior Chanda Bell struck out 10 batters and allowed less than three runs for the fourth consecutive outing in a complete-game victory. The senior limited the Tigers to a mere four hits in the win as she improves to 15-10 on the season.
“Chanda continued to get stronger and stronger as the game went on,” Lawson said. “She really pitched well tonight.”
LSU hurler Rachele Fico entered the night as the NCAA leader with a microscopic 0.90 ERA in 28 appearances in the circle. With the loss, Fico falls to 16-10 overall as she struck out eight and yielded an uncharacteristic three earned runs to the Blue and White.
With two down in the bottom of the seventh, Cervantes delivered yet again and crushed a ball out of the park to straight-away center to tie the game at three apiece. The plastered long ball was Cervantes’ 11th dinger of the season and third run driven in on the night after also plating the two scores in the bottom of the fifth.
“Brittany’s home run to tie the game was by far the best home run I have ever seen from her in her career,” Lawson said. “For her to come up big in a situation like that really shows what a clutch player she is and how big she is to this team.”
In the top of the eighth, Bell sent the Tigers packing in 1-2-3 style, setting the stage for the bottom of the eighth inning.
Senior Rachel Riley got aboard to lead off the inning to start the Wildcats rally with her second walk of the contest. After a pop out to center, sophomore Ginny Carroll drew Fico’s fourth walk on the night to set runners at first and second. Junior Alice O’Brien then sent a screamer to left field that was misplayed by the Tigers’ Ashley Langoni enabling pinch runner Ashleigh Gustafson to round home from second for the walk-off score.
Bell got off to a quick start, retiring the first six batters in order including four strikeouts in that stretch. The Tigers, however, struck first in the top of the third when second basemen Allison Falcon connected for a solo homer. The round tripper was Falcon’s third of the season, giving LSU the 1-0 lead. The homer was the first Tiger batter that Bell failed to retire in the game, after sending the opening six batters down in order.
LSU’s Morgan Russell and Dylan Supak drew consecutive walks after the homer, turning the lineup over for A.J. Andrews who struck out recording the first out in the inning. Cervantes fielded a hard foul ball up the third-base line to record the 5-3 putout before Bell got LSU three-hole hitter Langoni to strike out swinging on three pitches.
Juliana Santos led off the top of the fourth roping her seventh double of the season to straight away center to put a runner in scoring position with nobody out in the inning. Santos came in for the second Tiger run on Ashley Applegate’s RBI single. After advancing to second on a throwing error, and advancing to third on a deep fly ball to center, she was stranded at third after Bell tallied her eighth strikeout on the night.
After a lead-off walk by Dylan Supak, Andrews roped a triple to deep center that rolled all the way to the wall. Pinch running from first was Heidi Parker and she was out at home after Joiner held onto the ball after a hard collision at the dish. The putout at home was courtesy of Kara Howard in center who relayed the ball to Dill, who sent it into Joiner recording the 8-6-2 put out and saving an all-important run.
With one away in the inning, Andrews came around to score on a deep sacrifice fly to left by Cassie Trosclair. The run was the third consecutive inning LSU registered a run, increasing its lead to 3-0 through four and a half.
Freshman Sarah Frazer was darted with a pitch to become the Wildcats’ fourth base runner on the night in the home half of the fifth. Sophomore Emily Jolly then blooped a hit over the pitcher’s head that fell in front of the second basemen, and both Frazer and Jolly were safe on the play. Cervantes stepped up and catapulted a ball off the wall in right-center to bring home Frazer and Jolly to cut the lead to 3-2.
“For us to be able to get the two runs in the bottom of the fifth was huge when we really had nothing going at the plate.” Lawson said.
In the bottom of the opening frame, Kentucky drew two walks from Fico with Riley and freshman Griffin Joiner reaching on back-to-back plate appearances with two outs in the inning, but the inning would close with the runners still aboard.
After Bell sent down the Tigers in order in the opening half of the second, sophomore Lauren Cumbess registered the first hit of the game for both parties, lacing a hit through the right side of the defense with one away in the inning. The Wildcats would strand Cumbess, leaving a runner aboard for the second consecutive inning.
The Tigers and Wildcats will continue the series Saturday afternoon in Lexington as first pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET.
No. 6 Gator Softball Takes Series Opener at No. 3 Alabama, 4-1
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 6 Florida softball team used a first-inning run and a three-run seventh to top No. 3 Alabama, 4-1, in front of 3,248 fans at Rhoads Stadium in Tuscaloosa. One more win in the series will clinch at least a share of the 2012 regular-season SEC title for the Gators, while a sweep would solidify the title outright for the Orange and Blue.
Both the Gators and Crimson Tide stand at 21-5 in league play, while Florida moved to 44-8 overall on the season, Alabama 45-6. Freshman Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) went 3-for-4 for the Gators at the plate, with two RBI, while classmate Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) was 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI.
The two SEC foes combined for nine hits, as the Gators out-hit the Crimson Tide, 6-3.
Both hurlers went the distance, as UF ace Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) improved to 26-4 on the campaign, fanning seven Alabama batters and giving up just three hits and one run - a Jackie Traina homer in the bottom of the seventh. Rogers walked just three. In the opposing dugout, Traina shouldered just her second loss of the year (29-2), giving up six hits and three earned runs, while walking two and retiring nine Gators by strikeout.
Florida jumped out with a one-run lead in the first thanks to two stolen bases by S. Fagan, who connected for an infield hopper to get on base. After Haeger reached on Bama fielding error, moving S. Fagan to second, the Dunnellon High School product proceeded to swipe third. With runners on the corners, Florida attempted a double steal, allowing S. Fagan to scamper home after Haeger's move to second garnered a throw from behind the plate.
Bama shortstop Kaila Hunt snagged the ball and fired to the dish, but an errant throw allowed Haeger to take second after S. Fagan scored for the 1-0 lead.
After escaping a bases-loaded jam in the first by striking out the Bama side, Rogers was on fire, knocking out the next 13 in a row before allowing the Crimson Tide's first hit with one down in the bottom of the sixth. Alabama's Jennifer Fenton squeaked one through the left side, while Hunt followed with a two-out soft liner to right to put runners on the corners. With the tying run at third, Rogers put out the threat, forcing a Cassie Reilly-Boccia groundout to second.
Florida used a three-run, three-hit seventh, thanks to two two-out hits, an infield bouncer from S. Fagan to plate one run, followed by a two-run single smashed up the middle by Haeger for the 4-0 Florida lead.
Traina led off the bottom of the seventh with an opposite field shot for Alabama's lone run of the contest. Rogers retired the next three in order - including her seventh strikeout to end the game - giving the Orange and Blue the series opener.
Game two of the series will kick off at 4 p.m. (ET) from Rhoads Stadium and Saturday's contest will air live on ESPN2 with the call by Beth Mowins and Jessica Mendoza. Gator fans can also tune in live locally on the radio or online to 105 The Game, WYGC 104.9-FM, with Adam Schick on the call or follow live stats through Gametracker, accessible on the GatorZone.com softball schedule page.