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    SEC In The WCWS: Saturday

    WCWS saturday SOFTBALL RESULTS
    LSU 1, South Florida 0
    Oregon 3, Tennessee 1
    LSU 6, Arizona State 0

    LSU Softball Sprints Past No. 19 South Florida
     
    OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The LSU softball mantra for the 2012 season has been “Whatever IT Takes,” and the Tigers did just that on alert base running from A.J. Andrews to score the game’s only run on a sacrifice popup to secure a 1-0 elimination victory over No. 19 South Florida Saturday to open day three of the Women’s College World Series in-front of 8,504 fans at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.  
     
    In the process, LSU (40-24) notched its 40th victory of the season and reached that impressive benchmark for the 14th time in 16 seasons since softball was reinstated in 1997. The 8,504 fans were a Session Four record at the WCWS.
     
    The Tigers advance to face No. 3 national seed Arizona State in another elimination tilt Saturday at 6 p.m. CT televised on ESPN and ESPN3.com. Beth Mowins, Jessica Mendoza, Michele Smith and Holly Rowe will serve as the broadcast team.
     
    “First, I want to congratulate South Florida on an unbelievable season,” head coach Beth Torina said. “That's a program that we pull for when we're not playing against them, and they deserve every bit of success that they had.  They do things the right way, and they definitely gave us a tough game today.  Any one thing for either team was going to be the deal breaker in it. So luckily, we got the break and it fell our way. Our kids battled.  I thought Brittany Mack pitched a great game and kept us in it.”  
     
    Andrews was hit-by-pitch to start the sixth inning. Two batters later, she advanced to third base on a dropped fly ball by USF centerfielder Janine Richardson. Juliana Santos kept the rally alive and was plunked by a 0-2 pitch to fill the bases.
     
    On a 1-0 offering, Allison Falcon popped up to shortstop Kourtney Salvarola. Since Salvarola was playing drawn in with the bases loaded, Andrews tagged from the third base bag and scampered home. Salvarola’s throw was offline, high towards the first base line. That enabled Andrews to slide around the tag attempt head-first safely into home plate.
     
    “I've been in softball for a long time, seen a lot of things,” Torina said. “I don't remember if I've ever seen that before, but it was a pretty amazing, gutsy play by A.J. -- not me.
     
    “I was not told to go. She [Coach Torina] said ‘Tag,’ but I guess that doesn't mean go,” Andrews said. “But really, I think, because she was facing backwards, so my instinct is just to try it. It was a really close game. I knew that it would come down to something really close, like a close play. I just wanted to be safe, and I just thought about how I could get safe.”
     
    Brittany Mack fired a two-hit shutout and notched eight strikeouts versus four walks to move to 16-12 on the season. It also was Mack’s 15th career shutout which vaulted into a seventh-place tie on LSU’s all-time list with Brandi Landry (1997-98) and Cody Trahan (2007-10).
     
    Mack stranded multiple South Florida (50-14) base runners during the first and fifth innings to preserve the shutout. The senior right-hander left runners at second and third base during the fifth inning with a strikeout of USF’s Jessica Mouse.
    “I felt great throughout the entire game, I just had a strong point with my off speed curve breaking a lot,” Mack said. “It's something that moves so much, they just really had no idea. Obviously, my defense is always there for me.  Even though we may make some kind of error, I know we're going to get out of it no matter what.”
     
    Mack also made a spectacular defensive play in the third inning. After a leadoff walk to Ashli Goff, she stole second base. An errant throw by catcher Morgan Russell allowed Goff to scoot over to third base.
     
    Goff sprinted towards home after an overthrow by centerfielder Simone Heyward that ricocheted off the LSU dugout. Mack, backing up the play, picked up the ball, and fired a strike to Russell to gun down Goff at the dish.
     
    Actually, just like a drill that we do [at practice] where we purposely overthrow the bases and back them up,” Torina said. “Then, we get you out at home.  You can give me the credit, but you can give Brittany the throw.”

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    #12 OREGON ENDS #5 TENNESSEE SOFTBALL’S SEASON AT THE WCWS, 3-1

    OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – A 2012 campaign that witnessed the Lady Vol softball program win its fourth Southeastern Conference Eastern Division title, win 50 games for the seventh time and secure a fifth trip to the Women’s College World Series concluded earlier than hoped on Saturday in front of 8,504 at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium as #12 Oregon (45-17) scored twice in the first inning on the way to ending #5 Tennessee’s (52-14) season, 3-1.

    With the loss the Big Orange senior class of Ashley Andrews, Holly Baker, Shelby Burchell and Ashley Andrews completed their careers at Rocky Top as part of 190 career wins and two WCWS appearances.

    UT’s offense managed just four hits off UO starting pitcher Jessica Moore (33-14), led by senior catcher Ashley Andrews who went 1-for-2 at the plate with her eighth stolen base and a run scored while also gunning out a Duck base runner attempting to steal.  Sophomore center fielder Tory Lewis contributed Tennessee’s lone RBI as part of a 1-for-2 effort, while junior right fielder Kat Dotson (1-for-2, 15th steal of the year) and sophomore left fielder Melissa Davin (1-for-3) added the Big Orange offense’s other base knocks.

    In the circle sophomore Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American Ellen Renfroe took the loss in falling to 27-5 on the season, allowing two runs on three hits with a walk and a single strikeout over 2.0 innings.  In a relief appearance junior Ivy Renfroe permitted one tally on a trio of hits with three K’s over 5.0 frames.

    “Well, first of all, I'd like to thank the host, the NCAA and ESPN, for a tremendous tournament once again,” Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said.  “We lost two very close ballgames.  Our kids gave it everything we had.  We just couldn't hit in the clutch.  We're hitting the ball pretty good in BP and hitting the ball pretty good yesterday, and that happens at times.  It's really not anybody's fault.  There was no lack of effort out there, and we just got beat both times.  I have to give credit to Oregon.  They had a great game plan, and their pitcher did well.  We hit a lot of ground balls.”

    It took only two pitches for #12 Oregon to get on the scoreboard as lead-off batter and right fielder Samantha Pappas drove her 10th HR of the season out of the stadium just over the glove of leaping center fielder Tory Lewis.  Quickly up 1-0, second baseman Kaylan Howard continued the early outburst by lacing a double into the left center field gap.  Following a strikeout of shortstop Kelsey Chambers for the initial retirement of the frame, first baseman Kailee Cuico ripped one down the line in left as Howard scored to make it 2-0.  On the play Davin raced over quickly to cut off the ball, pivoted and cut down Cuico at second for out number two.  Christie Nieto lifted a fly ball to left that Davin tracked down near the line to conclude the inning.

    With the Lady Vols attempting to answer back immediately in the bottom half of the first, Dotson beat out an infield single to second.  With the speedster on third following her 15th stolen base of the campaign and a UT groundout, sophomore All-American shortstop Madison Shipman managed a two-out walk and theft, placing a pair in scoring position.  Unfortunately, a routine bouncer to short on a 3-2 count was corralled by Oregon’s Chambers and the play made to first as Tennessee left a pair stranded on the base paths.

    As happened so often this season, the Big Orange offense manufactured a run on the scoreboard with two down in an inning.  Andrews got things started in the bottom of the second with a single through the right side of the infield, hustling down the line to avoid a 9-3 putout from the right fielder.  With the senior catcher on second after UT’s third steal over the initial two frames, Lewis slapped a single into right center as Andrews sped around from second, cutting Oregon’s lead in half at 2-1.

    Ivy Renfroe entered in relief for her sister Ellen beginning the top of the third and quickly set the Duck offense down in order.  The 6-0 right-hander personally caught a liner back to the circle from Pappas and induced consecutive groundouts from Howard and Chambers as part of the one-two-three frame.

    Nieto became Oregon’s first base runner off the elder Renfroe via what turned into a damaging, one-out hit-by-pitch in the top of the fourth.  That set the stage for a RBI double off the wall in left center by catcher Alexa Peterson as Nieto scored all the way from first to make it 3-1 Ducks.  Chambers popped a ball up towards the third-base dugout as Andrews raced over to make a terrific grab near the backstop.  Ivy’s first strikeout of the contest ended the inning, but not before UO had extended its advantage back to a pair of tallies.

    A slow bouncer off the bat of Davin turned into a lead-off infield single for the Lady Vols christening the bottom of the fourth.  Senior designated player Shelby Burchell stepped to the dish as UT’s top NCAA Tournament hitter in 2012 and promptly blasted a rocket to short.  Unfortunately, the drive was right to Chambers as the Ducks infield managed to turn a 6-4-3 double play and wipe the bases clear of Big Orange.  A swinging strikeout ended the once promising Tennessee frame with no scoreboard damage done and UO still leading by a 3-1 count.

    UT managed some more life in the bottom of the sixth as Dotson was hit by a Jessica Moore pitch starting the inning.  After a fielder’s choice from Gibson cut down the lead runner for the first out, there was some controversy on a play as Shipman hit a chopper to the second baseman.  Oregon’s Howard turned and fired to second for the force, and attempting to turn the twin-killing, Chambers’ throw struck Gibson running between first and second.  Originally ruled safe on the play, a conference of the umpiring crew ruled the throw had been obstructed and called Shipman out via an inning-ending double play.

    Faced with one last chance to extend their season, the Lady Vols couldn’t get an attack going against Moore in the bottom of the seventh as a fly out and consecutive strikeouts concluded Oregon’s 3-1 victory.

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    LSU Softball’s WCWS Run Ends Versus No. 3 Arizona State

    OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The LSU softball team had its third trip to the Women’s College World Series come to a close as No. 3 national seed Arizona State emerged with a 6-0 victory during Saturday’s elimination contest as 9,310 fans gathered at ASA Hall of Stadium.  

    The Tigers (40-25) appeared on college softball’s biggest stage in Oklahoma City for the first time since the 2004 season and finished with their 14th 40-win campaign under first-year coach Beth Torina.

    It marked the final games for decorated seniors Ashley Applegate, Ashley Langoni, Brittany Mack, Heidi Pizer, Juliana Santos and Cassie Trosclair. The Tigers are slated to return 15 letterwinners for 2013.

    “I couldn't be much prouder of my team at this time and what they've accomplished, especially in the last three weeks, being on the road and winning at [Texas] A&M and Missouri,” Torina said. “We set out this year to make people in the country think that we played hard. In every game we went out, we wanted to try and play hard, and I think we accomplished that with flying colors.”

    “I'm really proud of this team,” Torina continued. “I want to thank everybody involved with the College World Series and Oklahoma City, and we really have enjoyed our time. We really appreciate the hospitality that we've received here.”

    Arizona State (53-10) advances to face No. 4 national seed Oklahoma in Sunday’s semifinal round. The Sun Devils received two hits apiece from Alix Johnson and Sam Parlich. The duo also combined for five RBIs en route to a pair of three-run frames during the third and fifth innings, respectively.   

    Johnson put ASU on the scoreboard with a three-run dinger to straight-away centerfield with one out in the third inning. In front of the Johnson homer, Elizabeth Caporuscio and Katelyn Boyd connected for a pair of infield singles. It was the first multi-run long ball allowed by Rachele Fico on the season.  

    Hillary Bach tossed a four-hit shutout on an efficient 83 pitches and has won 22 of her 23 decisions in 2012. She notched two strikeouts versus one walk. Simone Heyward garnered two hits to fuel LSU.     

    Fico finished her NFCA All-American First-Team with a 20-13 record. She was touched for a season-high six earned runs on seven hits. She tallied two strikeouts against two walks.
     
    “They were definitely seeing the ball well,” Fico said. “You never want to go that deep in counts that early in the game. They have a great offensive team. She [Johnson] took advantage of my mistake. I left it up too high, up in the zone and she really squared up on it.”

    The Sun Devils tacked on three runs in the fifth inning. A LSU throwing error by second baseman Allison Falcon platted the fourth tally, and Parlich’s two-run single to left field made it 6-0.

    LSU’s best opportunity to score came during the fourth inning. The Tigers put runners on the corners with two outs, but Falcon grounded out to third base to end the rally.

    “I'm so happy. I'm so proud of everyone, of the team, the coaching staff and the seniors,” shortstop Juliana Santos said. “We did it, and it finally happened. Your career has to end at some point, and why not end it in Oklahoma City? We're on top of the world right now.  We wish it ended a little bit differently, but we couldn't be happier. [I’m] So proud to be a Tiger.”