Alabama Beats South Alabama, 5-2
|Alabama 5, South Alabama 2
|Arkansas 3, California 2
|Georgia 3, North Carolina 2
|Tennessee 8, UAB 0
|Tennessee 8, Miami (Ohio) 0
|LSU 2, Texas A&M 0
|Kentucky 5, Valparaiso 4
|Louisville 3, Kentucky 2
|Texas 6, Auburn 1
|Florida 7, Central Florida 1
|Florida 6, Florida Gulf Coast 2
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama softball team, the No. 2 seed nationally, used a dominant two-hit performance in the circle from Jackie Traina and some timely hitting by sophomore Kaila Hunt to knock off South Alabama, 5-2, Saturday afternoon at Rhoads Stadium in game 3 of the 2012 NCAA Softball Tuscaloosa Regional. With the win the Crimson Tide advances to Sunday’s regional championship game.
“I knew that it was going to be a much better game than it was in February,” Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. “Both pitchers pitched pretty well. We made a couple of plays defensively. We put the ball in play. [Kaila] Hunt had a very good day. She took advantage of a slip in the outfield, which turned into three runs for us. I am glad that we took advantage of that. Sometimes we let it slip through our hands. Today we came up with some key at bats after that mistake.”
The Tide improves to 52-7 on the year, while the Jaguars fall to 40-16. Alabama returns to action Sunday at 1 p.m. against the winner of Saturday’s third game. South Alabama will play in that third game, which starts at 6 p.m., against the winner of Saturday’s second game between Georgia Tech and UT Martin.
Traina improved to 34-2 on the year, tying her for second in school history for victories in a single season with current UA assistant coach Stephanie VanBrakle. Traina gave up two runs, both solo home runs, and struck out 10 batters in the complete game victory. Sophomore Hannah Campbell took the loss for the Jaguars, falling to 24-11 after giving up five runs on seven hits in five innings of work.
Alabama cranked out eight hits on the afternoon, including two by senior Jennifer Fenton, who also stole two bases on the day. Hunt drove in three runs for Alabama, giving her 69 on the year, tied for third in the single-season annals.
After giving up a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning, Alabama got rolling in the top half of the third. Freshman Danae Hays hit a one-out double and was able to advance to third on a sacrifice by Kayla Braud. Fenton was able to score Hays when her grounder deflected off of the third baseman. After a Fenton steal, Hunt hit her 19th home run of the season over the scoreboard to increase the lead to 3-1 in favor of Alabama.
Hunt’s home run put her in second place in Alabama’s single-season record book, tied with Charlotte Morgan in 2008.
Alabama added some insurance runs in the top of the fifth inning, as Fenton led off with a single and stole her second base of the day. Hunt drove her in with a sacrifice fly, a shot that was robbed at the wall, to increase the lead to 4-1. Senior Amanda Locke drew a walk, and pinch runner Keima Davis stole second and scored on Traina’s first career triple, putting Alabama up 5-1.
Razorbacks upset No. 1 Cal
Berkeley, Calif. – The University of Arkansas softball team defeated No.1 California 3-2 in its second game at the Berkeley Regional. The victory over the Bears improves Arkansas overall 2012 record to 29-26 and 2-0 in post season play. This is the first time in program history that Arkansas will play in a Regional final.
The Razorbacks came out with their bats swinging in the first inning. Freshman Devon Wallace got the team going in the top of the first with a line drive to left center field. She then advanced to second on a pass ball. Sophomore Clarisa Navarro blasted a double over the centerfielder’s head bringing home Wallace and giving Arkansas the early 1-0 lead. Sierra Bronkey singled between first and second to bring home Navarro for the 2-0 lead. Jennifer Rambo continued the hitting spree blasting a bomb over the right field wall for the 3-0 lead; her ninth home run of the season.
“The key to winning the game today was getting those three runs early,” said head coach Mike Larabee. “I think it really took the crowd out of the game.”
Arkansas defense began just as strong as its offense, forcing Cal to go three up, three down in the first inning. Freshman Kimmy Beasley struck out her first batter in the bottom of the first; her first in the NCAA Tournament.
Senior Tori Mort recorded her first hit of the game in the top of the second, dropping the ball into shallow center field.
Navarro grabbed her second hit of the game in the top of the third when she hit a line drive right at the pitcher with it deflecting, allowing her to make it safely to first.
Cal collected its first hit in the bottom of the third with a double from Frani Echavarri. Britt Vonk then bunted for a single followed by an intentional walk of Valerie Arioto. Jamia Reid put Cal on the board by catching the Razorbacks off guard, stealing home while Arioto was being walked. The Razorbacks escaped the inning only allowing one run to score and forcing Cal to strand runners on first and third.
The Razorbacks showed some solid defense again in the bottom of the fourth forcing the least amount of batters. Wallace and Mort both made athletic catches in the outfield to collect two outs while Beasley recorded her second strikeout of the game. Beasley went on to throw a total of 4.2 innings and collect her first NCAA Tournament win.
“It is good to see a senior in Tori Mort make some great catches and that saved two or three runs from scoring,” said Larabee.
Wallace hit her second single of the game in the top of the fifth placing a line drive out to right field.
The Bears struck again in the bottom of the fifth bringing in one run off of an error by the Razorbacks making the score 3-2 in favor of Arkansas. Mort made another outstanding catch in right center field to end the inning with the bases loaded. Junior Chelsea Cohen was brought in to relieve Beasley with the bases loaded and one out to go in the fifth.
Cal hit its second double on the day in the bottom of the sixth from Danielle Henderson. Henderson was stranded with Navarro throwing to Megan Pearson at first to grab the final out of the inning.
The Bears grabbed a single in to bottom of the seventh followed by another intentional walk of Arioto. With a runner on first and second with two outs, Wallace caught the final fly ball of the game for the out and the victory over Cal.
Arkansas will play in the Regional Final tomorrow at 7 p.m. CST against the winner of California vs. Iona/Boston University. Being a two elimination tournament, the opponent for the final will not be decided until the two games are play tonight.
“We still have a long road ahead of us,” said Larabee. “Tomorrow is a new day and whoever we play tomorrow we will be just as fired up to play. We had nothing to lose today, but everything to gain.”
For more information regarding Razorback softball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Early Runs Lead Georgia to 3-2 Win vs. UNC
ATHENS, Ga. - The No. 10 overall seed University of Georgia softball team used early runs in the first three innings to pull out a 3-2 win over North Carolina Saturday afternoon in the Athens Regional at Jack Turner Stadium.
The win moves Georgia to Sunday’s games with a chance to be named Regional Champions while putting them at 43-15 on the season. With its first loss of the weekend, UNC’s record holds at 42-13, and the Tar Heels will play again on Saturday to keep their season alive.
Senior Erin Arevalo (25-7) took her second win of the weekend, as she gave up two hits and no earned runs. The California native also posted five strikeouts. UNC’s Lori Spingola (32-11) took the loss after giving up two earned runs and eight hits while striking out eight.
Senior Ashley Pauly and junior Tess Sito tallied two hits apiece, as both were 2-for-4 at the plate with Pauly also getting a run. Freshman Paige Wilson and senior Kristyn Sandberg collected the team’s two RBI.
Georgia jumped ahead to an early 2-0 lead in the top first. Pauly laid down a bunt single before advancing to second on a Tar Heel error. Wilson followed with a RBI-double off the center field wall before the second UNC error of the inning on Sandberg’s at-bat allowed Wilson to score.
Sandberg extended Georgia’s lead to 3-0 in the third with her 19th home run of the season with a solo shot beyond the left center field wall.
UNC climbed on the board in the bottom fifth to set the score at 3-2. After a Amber Parrish walk, Tisha Mahon came in as a pinch runner to steal second and advance to third on a dropped third strike. Mahon put up the Tar Heels’ first run after Constance Orr reached on a fielding error. Chelsey Butler then came in for Orr to steal second before putting the last run on the board from a Kelli Wheeler single through the right side.
Georgia takes the field on Sunday at noon to face the winner of game five in the Athens Regional. If Georgia falls in Sunday’s first game, it will play a game immediately following the first decide the Regional champion.
No. 5 Tennessee Eliminates UAB, 8-0
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On Saturday afternoon at the Lee Softball Stadium, a 10-hit offensive attack helped the #5 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (47-11) eliminate the UAB Blazers (37-22) from the NCAA Knoxville Regional with a 8-0 (5 inn.) victory.
Senior designated player Shelby Burchell led the Big Orange offense by going a perfect 3-for-3 at the dish with two runs scored, a double and an RBI. Junior third baseman Raven Chavanne was 2-for-3 with two runs, two steals (including the 100th of her illustrious career) and a pair of RBIs, junior right fielder Kat Dotson was 1-for-4 with two RBIs, junior first baseman Melissa Brown was 1-for-2 with a couple of tallies and a RBI, senior catcher Ashley Andrews was 1-for-1 with a RBI and sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman was 1-for-3 with her 11th double of the season and her team-leading 59th RBI.
In the circle junior Ivy Renfroe picked up her 20th win of the campaign, striking out three over 3.1 perfect frames of effort.
Following a quiet first inning as each team was retired in order, Tennessee’s offense awakened with two down as Brown kicked off a scoring rally by drawing a walk off UAB pitcher Amber Torres. Burchell ripped the first pitch she received right back through Torres’ legs and up the middle, advancing the lead runner into scoring position. Batting from the right side of the plate, Andrews followed with a shot into the gap as Brown raced home easily from second to make it 1-0.
Seeking an immediate response to UT’s score, catcher Mandy Lowman christened the bottom half of the second with a bloop single that dropped into shallow right center. After a walk was issued to designated player Kristen McGrath, second baseman Lauren Webster hit into a fielder’s choice as Shipman corralled the ball and fired to Chavanne at third to retire the lead runner. Third baseman Kate Armstrong hit a little blooper that threatened to drop in for a hit right behind second base. Junior Lauren Gibson appeared out of nowhere, however, making a diving back-handed “web gem” grab for a huge second out. A walk to first baseman Erica Sisson loaded the bags full of Blazers and ended Ellen Renfroe’s stint in the circle as sister Ivy entered in relief. The 6-0 right-hander immediately induced a foul pop-up just off to the left side of the plate by shortstop Heather Pearson as the Blazers left the bases loaded.
The Big Orange speed game got things started in the top of the third as Chavanne christened the frame with a perfect high-bouncing slap single before quickly swiping her 100th career base to reach scoring position. Dotson reached in bizarre fashion as a half swing was considered strike three by the home plate umpire and the Savannah, Ga., native took advantage of a wild pitch in the dirt to get to first. That set the stage for a big RBI double from Shipman as Chavanne easily scored from second to make it 2-0.
Tennessee’s top-rated defense again flexed its muscle to finish off the bottom of the third. With two down in the frame, designated player Kayla Orr blasted a drive into the right center field gap. Sophomore Tory Lewis raced over from her position in center and made an incredible fully-extended diving catch to bring the inning to a close as the Lee Stadium contingent gave the Chattanooga, Tenn., native a standing ovation.
Burchell got another scoring rally underway in the top of the fourth by starting the frame with a double to the Lee Stadium wall. Following a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout, Chavanne extended the outburst by drawing a walk off reliever Lannah Campbell, placing runners at the corners with two down. Dotson hit a ball forced Sisson to extend to her right to make a grab. On the play, no Blazer covered the first base bag as both Burchell and Chavanne raced across as the UT advantage climbed to 4-0.
With Ivy Renfroe keeping the Blazer offense under control from the circle, the Lady Vols continued expanding their lead in the top of the fifth. Gibson singled with one out, moving to second on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt off the bat of senior Holly Baker. Consecutive two-out RBI singles from Brown and Burchell plated two more runs as UT moved in front, 6-0. Andrews walked and freshman pinch hitter Hannah Akamine was struck by a pitch, packing the bases full of Tennessee runners. Chavanne stepped into the batter’s box and hit a hard grounder through the infield for a pair of RBIs as the Big Orange made it 8-0.
From there it was just left for Ivy Renfroe to finish off the victory and the Jackson, Tenn., native did just that. She struck out Armstrong, got Sisson to fly out to left and then punched out pinch-hitter Issa Brown swinging to conclude the contest.
No. 5 Tennessee Keeps Hopes Alive, Eliminates Miami (Ohio), 8-0
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – With its back against the wall for the second time on Saturday in front of 1,627 fans at the Lee Softball Stadium, the #5 University of Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (48-11) again staved off elimination in dominating fashion, downing Miami (Ohio), 8-0 in six innings, to advance to Sunday’s championship round against Virginia Tech.
The Big Orange will begin its Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET against the Hokies, needing to beat VT twice in order to advance to next weekend’s NCAA Super Regional against the winner of the Athens (Ga.) Regional.
Junior right fielder Kat Dotson (2-for-4, two runs, steal), sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman (2-for-4, triple, two RBIs) and junior second baseman Lauren Gibson (2-for-4, two runs, double, RBI) each posted two of Tennessee’s 13 total hits off RedHawk pitcher Jessica Simpson, Friday night’s victor over UT. Junior first baseman Melissa Brown was 1-for-3 with two RBIs, junior third baseman Raven Chavanne was 1-for-3 with a run, a RBI and her team-best 32nd stolen base and sophomore center fielder Tory Lewis doubled as part of a 1-for-3 effort.
In the circle junior Ivy Renfroe improved to 21-8 overall, picking up her second win of the day by scattering five hits and striking out seven over 4.2 scoreless innings of relief. Sophomore starter Ellen Renfroe walked a pair and posted a K in 1.1 frames of work.
“Well we said last night we weren't done yet,” Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said. “These girls have a lot of resolve, and a lot of ability, and a lot of talent. They came out today determined. We had a plan to go against both pitchers, and they stayed within that plan, which is the key to winning at this juncture of a season. I thought both of our opponents played well and deserve a lot of credit, but I think you saw Tennessee Softball today.”
After Tennessee left Shipman stranded at third following a two-out triple in the bottom of the first, the Lady Vols watched as Miami threatened by getting a pair on in the top of the second. Ellen Renfroe issued consecutive walks to catcher Kayla Ledbetter and first baseman Allie Larrabee with just one down, forcing a move to the bullpen to summon in sister Ivy for another relief appearance. Much as in the UAB victory earlier on Saturday, the change in the circle paid immediate dividends as the elder Renfroe struck out designated player Megan Mattera and second baseman Kristy Arbour back-to-back to conclude the half-frame with no damage,
The Big Orange offense finally got something started against Simpson starting the top of the third as senior catcher Ashley Andrews (1-for-1) got things going by beating out an infield single. Lewis followed immediately with a double into the gap, placing a pair in scoring position with the top of the UT order coming up. A high chopper off the bat of Chavanne looked as if it might be enough to get the Lady Vols on the scoreboard, but a quick charging grab and toss to the plate by Miami shortstop Kylie McChesney cut down Andrews to preserve the 0-0 dead-lock. With two outs and Shipman facing a two-strike count, Simpson uncorked a wild offering that allowed Lewis the chance to race across from third, granting Tennessee a one-run lead.
Looking for an immediately offensive answer, MU right fielder Kirstie Fehrenbach singled on the infield and center fielder Jordan McElroy hit a blooper into left center as the RedHawks boasted a pair on base with just one down in the bottom of the third. Left fielder Shanyn McIntyre hit a liner to second that Gibson raced over to nab near her shoe tops. The Pasadena, Md., native quickly back-handed a toss to Shipman covering the second base bag for a huge, inning-ending double play.
Gibson christened the top of the fourth by blasting a routine drive to deep left that was dropped by Miami’s McIntyre for a three-base error. With still no one retired, Burchell lifted a blooper just onto the outfield grass that fell in for a RBI as Tennessee’s lead expanded to two tallies.
Ivy Renfroe exerted her control on the proceedings in a major way in the bottom of the fourth, striking out third baseman Daniela Torres, catcher Kayla Ledbetter and first baseman Allie Larrabee in order to lift her total to six over 2.2 frames of work.
The Big Orange speed game manufactured another run in the top of the fifth as Dotson reached via a one-out single. The Savannah, Ga., native quickly took off for second, swiping her 13th base of the year and moving to third on a throwing miscue on the play. Shipman followed by chopping a base knock through the infield for an RBI as Dotson raced home from 60 feet away to grant UT a 3-0 advantage.
Miami wasn’t done yet, registering a two-out scoring threat in the bottom of the fifth as McChesney singled on the infield and stole second to reach scoring position. Fehrenbach slapped a base knock to right that Dotson corralled on a bounce. She came up firing to the plate, forcing MU’s lead runner to halt 60 feet from pay dirt. That proved a big play as McElory followed with a routine fly ball to left, leaving occupants stranded at the corners.
Tennessee’s offense blew the contest wide open in the top of the sixth as Davin started off a five-run outburst with a clean single. With two down the fireworks truly began as Chavanne singled through the infield to plate junior pinch runner Whitney Hammond for a 4-0 lead. Shipman picked up her 61st RBI of the campaign via a fielder’s choice, Gibson knocked in her 44th RBI of the year on a base knock and Brown ripped a shot into the gap for a two-RBI single as the Lady Vols rolled to a commanding 8-0 lead.
Ivy Renfroe did allow a one-out base knock to Torres in the RedHawk half of the sixth, but Miami couldn’t string anything together as Ledbetter grounded into a fielder’s choice and Larrabee bounced out to third to conclude the contest.
LSU Shuts Down No. 8 Texas A&M
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Rachele Fico fired her second straight two-hit shutout in as many days, and the LSU softball team claimed a 2-0 win over No. 8 national seed Texas A&M during Saturday’s winner’s bracket contest of the NCAA College Station Regional at the Aggie Softball Complex.
LSU (36-22) scored both of its runs in the first inning and received a few spectacular defensive plays from A.J. Andrews and Ashley Langoni from their right and left field posts, respectively. Offensively, Allison Falcon led the way with a 2-for-3 performance and a RBI.
The Tigers will await to see who emerges from the loser’s bracket. Sunday’s regional championship game is slated for 1 p.m. which will be carried live on ESPN3.com with Cara Capuano and Cheri Kempf serving as the announcing team.
“I’m so proud of our players for executing the game plan and following up on their momentum from yesterday’s win,” head coach Beth Torina said. “We came out attacking, we came out aggressive. I loved the way our offense swung the bats today. A lot of our players had quality at-bats throughout, and I think the credit goes to them for being that aggressive.”
A.J. Andrews, Simone Heyward and Juliana Santos set the table for LSU in the first inning. Andrews slapped a single down the left field line, while Heyward and Santos reached on a walk and hit batter to fill the bases.
Allison Falcon followed up with a timely RBI single to left field on a 0-1 pitch to plate Andrews. A throwing error by Texas A&M left fielder Emily Albus allowed Heyward to cross the plate and push the LSU advantage to 2-0.
“We definitely carried over the momentum from the seventh inning against Texas State,” Falcon said. “The transition was pretty smooth. Coach Torina told us to stick within our plans, to be confident and not be afraid. We had nothing to lose really.”
Fico stranded a trio of Texas A&M runners in scoring position during the first three innings. The Aggies were unable to put a runner past first base the rest of the way as the junior right-hander completed her 13th shutout of the season.
Fico worked around a career-high six walks, but also added six pivotal strikeouts to improve to 18-11 on the season. It marked only the fourth time on the season that A&M (40-17) failed to score.
With a runner on first base and two outs during the fifth inning, Texas A&M’s All-America catcher Meagan May lifted a shallow fly ball to left field. Langoni sprinted in and made a fully extended, diving snag to end the frame.
Fico navigated past leadoff walks in the sixth and seventh inning with six fly ball outs highlighted by a running catch by Andrews on the right field warning track during the sixth to wrap up the 2-0 triumph.
“We had a good mix of pitches today,” Fico said. “We were working all four quadrants of the strike zone. I walked too many batters, but we were able to work around it. My defense came up big making plays when we needed to. Other than that, we had better break points on the ball today. That is what made us really effective.”
Texas A&M’s All-America hurler Mel Dumezich was tagged with the loss and dropped to 28-12 for the season. She surrendered two runs on five hits and tallied six strikeouts versus three walks.
Every LSU postseason game will have live audio and live stats available inside the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net. The games also will be carried live on Country Legends 104.9 FM in the Baton Rouge area with Patrick Wright and Matt Dunaway set to call the action.
Five-Run Second Enough to Power Kentucky Past Valpo
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Behind a five-run, three-hit second inning, the Kentucky softball team kept its season alive Saturday afternoon with a 5-4 win over Valparaiso in an NCAA Softball Tournament elimination game. Valpo made things interesting with a four-run fifth inning to bridge the gap. With the win, Uk fights to move on and will face No. 15 seed Louisville in another elimination game at 8:24 p.m. ET.
Senior Rachel Riley picked up her ninth win of the season, marching to 9-7 on the season, while classmate Chanda Bell picked up her fourth save on the season in relief. Riley went 4.2 innings, allowing only three hits, and one earned run while striking out three Crusader batters. Bell worked 2.1 scoreless frames while earning three strikeouts, including the game-winning out.
Kentucky got the bats going in the second inning, striking for five runs in the top of the frame. After Valpo recorded the opening out, sophomore Ginny Carroll drew a walk which was then followed up by single from junior Alice O’Brien. On the single, the Cats used aggressive base running in which Carroll advanced to third while O’Brien swiped second on the throw. With sophomore Lauren Cumbess at the plate, Valpo starter Sam McGee threw her only wild pitch of the game, allowing Carroll to score from third and O’Brien to shift to second.
Cumbess eventually drew a walk. After a groundout that advanced runners to second and third, sophomore Emily Jolly laced a single through the left side, scoring O’Brien and moving Cumbess to second.
The line-up turned over for senior Brittany Cervantes who reached on an error by the Valpo third basemen, allowing Cumbess and Jolly to score. The final run would be scored when junior Kara Dill charted the Wildcat’s third single of the frame, scoring Cervantes from second for the 5-0 advantage.
After Riley sent down the first 12 batters in order, Valpo designated player Brittany Duncan drew a walk. After a defensive miscue by the Wildcats, Joylyn Ichiyama-Drewry roped a double, scoring two. After a single by Kelsey Phalen, Lindsey Norway advanced on a fielder’s choice, and advanced all the way to third on a throwing error by the Blue and White. After Phaken scored from second, Sara Strickland tallied a single up the middle to score Phaken and close the Crusaders to within a run at 5-4. Bell came in for relief and retired the final batter to close the threat.
The Crusaders notched a single off of Bell in the final inning and nothing else as Bell charted her fourth save of the year, striking out two in the final inning, including the final batter of the game with the tying run on and the winning run at the plate.
With the win, Kentucky advances to the night session and will take on in-state foe Louisville, who is the nationally-seeded team in the region. The game will take place Saturday night and will be broadcast live on ESPN.
Kentucky’s Season Concludes in NCAA Tournament Thriller
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – After yet another historic season in Kentucky softball history under the guidance of fifth-year head coach Rachel Lawson in which UK qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the fourth-consecutive season, the 2012 season came to a close Saturday night with Kentucky falling 3-2 to No. 15 Louisville in an elimination game in front of a stadium-record crowd of 3,124 people at Ulmer Stadium.
Kentucky finishes the season with a 30-30 record on the 2012 campaign including another year with an above .500 mark in the Southeastern Conference going 15-13 in the conference. With the win, Louisville improves to 55-4 on the season and moves on to the regional final Sunday afternoon against Michigan.
The loss concludes the careers for the 2012 senior class who simply changed the Kentucky softball program forever. UK’s six-member class is the all-time winningest in school history with 136 career wins. It is the only class to appear in postseason play in every season of its career. Brittany Cervantes finishes as UK’s all-time leader in home runs and RBI. Riley and Chanda Bell formed the winningest pitching tandem in school allure and the duo ranks among the top-five in every pitching category in the history of the program. Macy Allen, Ashleigh Gustafson and Erika Silence each contributed to monumental Wildcat victories along the way as well.
Riley retired 13 Louisville batters in a row in a stretch spanning from the closing two outs of the second inning to the third batter of the sixth inning. In that capsule of the game, Riley struck out three in six-innings of flawless relief.
Freshman Griffin Joiner led the bats with a two-run homer in the fifth frame for UK’s lone tallies of the game.
The Cards plated all three of its runs in the top of the first frame. Alicja Wolny connected for a two-run homer after the visitors earned a leadoff slap-single to begin the game. After a pair of walks bookending a single to load the bases, a wild pitch allowed Taner Fowler to score from third to up the UL lead to 3-0. The run would eventually become the difference in the contest.
Kentucky’s defensive prowess kept the Wildcats in the hunt, including freshman Kara Howard making an over-the-shoulder catch on a ball hit to the ball in deep center in the opening inning. Sophomore Ginny Carroll also got in on the act, corralling an excellent catch jockeying with the left field fence and made the catch in foul ground up against the wall. Cervantes and junior Kara Dill made several plays fielding choppers through the left side of the infield, and sophomore Lauren Cumbess snatched two crucial foul balls for outs.
Louisville starter Tori Collins carried Kentucky hitless into the bottom of the fifth when Cervantes broke-up the no-hit bid when she blooped a single over the head of UL’s Wolny for the Cats first hit of the game. Cervantes then advanced to second on a wild pitch with one out. On a 3-1 pitch, Joiner launched a pitch to deep center field over the wall for a two-rum bomb. The homer was the fourth of the season for the Hopkinsville, Ky., native and cut the Louisville lead to 3-2 through five innings.
Riley led off the bottom of the sixth by reaching on a Louisville error. Pinch runner Sarah Frazer then swiped second on her first stolen base of her career. Louisville would then turn to a new pitcher in sophomore Chelsea Leonard. Leonard would face Cumbess as her first batter who singled into center to put the runners on the corners. Kentucky would leave the runners stranded to close the sixth in its best chance to knot the score.
The Louisville regional winner will be decided Sunday afternoon between (1) Louisville and (2) Michigan with Louisville needing to take both games from the Maize and Blue in order to advance to the Super Regionals. The opening game will commence at 1:00 p.m. ET and air live on ESPN2.
Texas Defeats Auburn Softball 6-1, Ending Tigers' Season
Texas got a pair of home runs from Nadia Taylor and one from Lexy Bennett as the Longhorns defeated Auburn softball 6-1 to oust the Tigers from the NCAA Austin Regional.
Auburn ends its season with a 33-23 record. Texas improved to 43-11.
"This isn't how we wanted to end our season, obviously," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "Texas' bats got hot today and we couldn't match them. I'm really proud of our seniors. They have all earned their degrees and have represented Auburn as well as anyone could."
Lauren Schmalz started and took the loss to fall to 9-10. Schmalz allowed four runs, all earned, on three hits with one walk and one strikeout in two and two-thirds innings. Jenee Loree relived Schmalz and pitched the final three and one-third innings. Loree allowed two runs, both earned, on three hits with one walk and one strikeout.
Rachel Fox started and earned the win to improve to 14-1. Fox allowed one run, earned, on three hits with no walks and two strikeouts in a complete-game effort.
Lexy Bennett gave Texas a 1-0 lead with a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning. It was Bennett's 11th homer of the season and it cleared the fence in centerfield.
Through the first three innings, Fox held the Tigers to one hit. Brooke Lathan reached on a one-out single in the top of the second inning. Lathan, however, was stranded as at first as Fox retired the next two Auburn hitters to end the inning. Fox forced the Tigers into eight fly outs through three innings, with one strikeout.
The Longhorns struck again, this time getting a two-out, three-run home run from Nadia Taylor in the bottom of the third inning. It was Taylor's eighth home run of the season and it came with Taylor Hoagland and Bennett aboard. After retiring the first two batters of the inning, Schmalz gave up a double to Hoagland and walked Bennett to set up Taylor's homer.
Branndi Melero put the Tigers on the board with a leadoff home run in the fourth inning. It was Melero's fourth home run of the season, second of the Regional, and it cut the Auburn deficit to 4-1.
Texas went to small ball to score its next run of the game. Torie Schmidt singled to open the bottom of the fourth and moved to second on a sac bunt. With two outs, Kim Bruins hit a slow rolling single up the middle that Lauren Guzman fielded at the edge of the grass. Guzman fired to first but the throw was not in time. Schmidt, running on contact, scored just ahead of the throw home to give Texas a 5-1 lead.
Taylor connected for her second home run of the game, this one a solo shot to open the bottom of the sixth, to give Texas a 6-1 lead. It was Taylor's ninth homer of the season and it came on a 3-1 count from Loree.
In the top of the seventh, Texas centerfielder Courtney Craig made a diving catch of a ball off the bat of Elizabeth Eisterhold for the first out of the inning. Fox then forced Lathan to ground out to shortstop for the second out of the inning. Fox ended the game when pinch-hitter Morgan Murphy flied out to center for the third out.
No. 5 Seed UF Softball Uses Six Homers, 20 Hits, in Two Elimination Games Saturday to Stay Alive in 2012 NCAA Tournament
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - A resilient Gator softball squad battled through two elimination games Saturday on the second day of the 2012 NCAA Softball Gainesville Regional, downing UCF, 7-1, and FGCU, 6-2, to stay alive in the NCAA tournament. The Orange and Blue racked up six home runs and 20 hits on the day - including14 to tie a season high against the Eagles - to advance to Sunday's contests vs. the USF Bulls.
Florida and USF will first take to the field at 1 p.m. The Gators will need two wins Sunday to be one of 16 teams in the country to advance to Super Regionals. Should UF take game one from USF, the 'if necessary' contest is slated for 3:30 p.m. from Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. One win Sunday for the Bulls would punch a ticket to Super Regionals for the team from Tampa.
Junior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.), senior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) and freshman Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) led UF at the plate Saturday, Horton with a perfect 4-for-4 performance, including two bombs against the Eagles in the nightcap. Moultrie, who was 4-for-4 versus FGCU, finished the day 5-for-7 (.714) with five-consecutive hits carried over from game one to her perfect performance in game two. Haeger dropped a team-best three bombs, including two against UCF, for four RBI and three runs scored to help lead UF's efforts.
Junior third baseman Sam Holle (Tampa, Fla.) knocked her first dinger of the season in the nightcap to contribute to Florida's season-best four overall against the Eagles. For Holle, the homer was the fifth of her career.
Florida ended both the UCF (39-19) and FGCU (38-24) postseason runs to improve to 48-12 overall on the year and 23-17 all-time in NCAA Regional action.
The Gators jumped out to a 2-0 lead over UCF early, thanks to a two-run Haeger bomb, her first of the day, and followed to scatter runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to rout the Knights, 7-1, behind Haeger's 2-for-3, two homer show. Sophomore hurler Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) picked up the win in the circle for the Orange and Blue to improve to 28-7 overall on the year, working five shutout innings, allowing just four hits and one walk, while fanning five.
Haeger came on in relief for the final 2.0, allowing UCF's lone run on a Hayley Barrow one-run single to left field. The righty earned the start in game two to pick up her 15th win of the season (15-5), while Rogers earned her fourth save of 2012 with two innings of one-hit, shutout relief. Haeger fanned one and allowed five hits and two Eagle runs through the first five innings before Rogers got the call in to close out the final two stanzas.
In a more tightly contested match-up against FGCU, four Gators had two or more hits on the night, led by Moultrie's 4-for-4, Horton's 3-for-4, while Haeger and freshman Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) were both 2-for-4. Freshmen Jess Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.) and Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) added hits to the show, while Holle contributed her long ball to lead off the fourth.
The Eagles battled, though, plating a run in the fifth on a Jessica Barnes sac fly and a leadoff homer from Emily Lanier - her second of the weekend against UF - in the sixth to start a rally. With the UF advantage narrowed to 3-2 in the sixth, the Gators exchanged Haeger for Rogers, who teamed up with Horton for a caught stealing, then forced a groundout and fly out to retire the side.
Florida backed up its hurlers in the seventh, tacking on three runs on three hits, thanks to Horton's two-run blast back-to-back with Haeger's third long ball of the day to provide cushion heading to the seventh, where Rogers finished out her work for UF's second victory of the day.