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    SEC Softball Friday Recap

    FRIday softball RESULTS
    Kentucky 3, Cal 2
    Arkansas 5,  Colorado State 4
    Tennessee 14, Idaho State 2
    Auburn 9, Furman 1
    Florida 13,  Creighton 3
    Elon 5, Georgia 2
    Tennessee 10, Utah State 0
    Auburn 11, ETSU 3
    Alabama 7, Illinois 2
    UAB 5, Ole Miss 3
    Texas A&M 8, Long Beach State 0
    Georgia 6, Ohio State 1
    LSU 8,  North Carolina 0
    Arkansas 3,  Southern Utah 2
    South Carolina 15, Stetson 7
    Texas A&M at UCLA - Cancelled
    Kentucky 12,  W. Michigan 1
    Florida 1, Oregon 0
    Troy at Mississippi State
    Alabama 8,  Northern Iowa 1
    LSU 1,  Purdue 0
    Washington 10,  Ole Miss 2

    Cumbess All-Around Effort Helps UK Upset No. 3 Cal

    TEMPE, Ariz. – University of Kentucky junior pitcher Lauren Cumbess threw nine strong innings, allowing only two runs, while also belting two hits at the plate, including driving in the game-winning RBI, to open up UK’s 2013 season in style with a 3-2 nine-inning win over No. 3 California in the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., on Friday afternoon. The game was played on the campus of Arizona State inside Farrington Stadium.

    Cumbess was spectacular both in the circle and at the plate, leading the Wildcats to the upset victory. The junior started the game in the circle, throwing nine innings, giving up only two runs – both earned – on six hits with six strikeouts and only four walks. At the plate, Cumbess went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, including the game-winning single in the top of the ninth inning.

    After senior Alice O’Brien started the top of the ninth on second base due to international tiebreak rules, freshman Nikki Sagermann placed a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance O’Brien to third. Cumbess followed with a single to leftfield to score O’Brien and give UK the lead 3-2.

    Cumbess had to work out of a jam in the bottom of the ninth to conserve the victory. After LaRisa Jones started the inning on second base, Cumbess got centerfielder Jasmin Mejia to pop up for the first out and then Vanessa Alvarez struck out looking for the second out. Cheyenne Cordes would single through to left field to put runners on the corners, but Cumbess would get Ashley Decker to strike out looking to end the game and give UK the win.

    The victory over a ranked foe is the 32nd over a top-25 team for UK under head coach Rachel Lawson and the 11th over a top-five team. This is the second time that Kentucky has defeated a ranked Cal team. UK’s previous lone win against Cal came on May 28 in the 2011 Lexington Super Regional when Cal was ranked fifth nationally. Cal still leads the all-time series against the two teams 3-2.

    All five players at the top of UK’s order earned hits in the game, while Cumbess was the lone player to earn a multi-hit game for UK. Kara Dill, O’Brien, Sagermann and Ginny Carroll each went 1-for-3 in the game with Dill scoring a run and O’Brien scoring two runs. Carroll earned her first RBI of the season in the fourth inning.

    Cal’s star pitcher Jolene Henderson, who was named the 2011 and 2012 Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, also threw nine innings, allowing three runs – two earned runs – on six hits with seven strikeouts. Cordes led the way offensively with a 2-for-3 outing, while Mejia went 1-for-3 with two RBIs.

    Cal got on the board first in the game in the bottom of the second inning, getting a two-RBI single down the right-field line by  Mejia. The inning started when Breana Kostreba was hit by a pitch later advancing to second on the sacrifice bunt by Victoria Jones. Jordan Wallace then singled to centerfield, advancing Kostreba to third. After Wallace advanced to second, Mejia perfectly placed a single down the line to score two and give Cal the 2-0 lead. Cumbess would walk the next batter before getting Cordes to strike out looking to end the inning.

    Kentucky answered in the top of the fourth inning, getting a run on an infield single from Carroll. The inning started with Dill singling to the second baseman, before O’Brien singled to right field, advancing to second on the throw to third. With runners on second and third and no outs, freshman Nikki Sagermann struck out looking followed by a sharp groundout by Lauren Cumbess. Carroll then hit a sharp ball to the second baseman, scoring Dill. Carroll would earn the single, but O’Brien would be called out at the plate trying to score.

    UK tied the game in the top of the sixth inning, getting a clutch two-out hit from Cumbess. After freshman Maisie Steed and Dill grounded out to start the frame, but O’Brien would get the rally started by drawing a walk. Sagermann would then collect her first career hit with a single to centerfield, advancing O’Brien to second. After Kara Howard pinch ran for Sagermann, Cumbess would knock a single up the middle, scoring O’Brien and tying the game at 2-2. Carroll would strikeout to end the inning.

    Cumbess would then throw a scoreless bottom of the sixth and both pitchers pitched scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth innings to set up the dramatic UK win in the ninth.

    The Wildcats will return to action later today when it faces Western Michigan (1-1) at 7:30 p.m. ET at the Tempe Sports Complex. WMU lost its season opener Thursday to Oregon State 8-0 before earning a win earlier Friday against Cal-Poly 3-2 in eight innings. UK and WMU last met in the 2010 Kajikawa Classic with the Wildcats posting a 5-1 victory.


    Auburn Sweeps First Day Of Plainsman Invite

    Auburn, Ala. --  The Auburn softball team posted a pair of wins in the first day of the Plainsman Invitational, defeating Furman 9-1 and East Tennessee State 11-3. The Tigers play once Saturday, taking on Kent State at 12:30 p.m.
    “I thought we did a good job offensively and defensively today,” Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. “We were hitting and driving in runs all the way through the lineup. It was good to see Morgan Estell back out there after her injury last season. I thought Morgan and our seniors did a good job today.”
    In game two, freshman Emily Carosone drove in four runs while sophomore Branndi Melero drove in three as the Tigers beat ETSU 11-3.
    Lexi Davis (1-0) started and earned the win, allowing three runs, one earned, on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts in four innings of work. Elliana Cabrera (0-1) started and took the loss, allowing five runs, all earned, on nine hits with one walk and one strikeout.
    East Tennessee State took the early lead, plating two runs in the top of the first. Nicole Fox reached on a one-out error and came around to score on a single to right by Haley Thompson. After a strikeout, Jackie Baird laced a single through the left side to score Katie Wolff (single) to make it a 2-0 game.
    The Tigers rallied to take the lead in the bottom of the first. Auburn took advantage of an ETSU error to plate its first run of the game. Morgan Estell led off with a single and moved to second on a ground out. Brooke Lathan then hit a line drive to left that Jennie Duncan misplayed, allowing the ball to hit off her glove and roll to the wall. Estell scored easily to make it a 2-1 game while Lathan advanced to third. Caitlin Jordan followed with a single up the middle to plate Lathan and tie the game 2-2.
    With Kristyn Richards running for Jordan, Hilary Mavromat drew a walk and was lifted for pinch runner Jordan Rocker. Emily Carosone then broke the tie with Auburn’s first home run of the season, which cleared the wall in left-center to give the Tigers a 5-2 lead. Kelsey Bogaards followed with a double to left-center and, with two outs, came in to score after a throwing error by third baseman Jackie Baird on a bunt single by Tiffany Howard which gave Auburn a 6-2 lead.
    ETSU cut into the deficit in the top of the third. Baird, who reached on a fielder’s choice, came in to score from second on a high chopping infield single by Casey Horner. Whitley Hensley (HBP) took second on the play while Baird’s run made it a 6-3 game.  With two on and two outs, Davis ended the inning with a called third strike on Samantha Carpenter.
    The Tigers increased their lead in the bottom of fourth. Tiffany Howard singled to open the inning and took third on a single by Estell, who took second on the throw. Branndi Melero followed with a single up the middle to score both runners and push the Auburn lead to 8-3.
    Hilary Mavromat relieved Davis to open the fifth and set the Bucs down in order for the first time in the game.
    The Tigers increased their lead in the bottom of the sixth when Estell, who led off with a double, scored on a single by Melero that bounced off a diving Baird at third base. Estell’s run made it 9-3 with Melero advancing to third on the play. Lathan made it a 10-3 game with a single through the left side to plate Melero. Following the RBI single the Tigers loaded the bases when Jordan was hit by a pitch and Mavromat drew a walk. The game ended on the mercy rule when Carosone was hit by a pitch forcing Lathan home for an 11-3 final score.

    In game one, freshman pitcher Marcy Harper allowed one run (earned) on two hits while five different Tigers drove in at least one run as Auburn beat Furman 9-1 in five innings.
    Harper (1-0) walked two and struck out five in her first career start. Shelby Parker (0-1) started and took the loss, allowing eight runs, five earned, on 11 hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

    In the bottom of the first, the Tigers took advantage of a Furman error to plate the first run of the game. Morgan Estell walked and moved to second on an infield single by Branndi Melero. With one out, the pair advanced on a double steal. As Estell raced for third, the throw from catcher Hannah Pace sailed high into left field allowing Estell to score for a 1-0 Auburn lead.
    With two outs in the inning, Brooke Lathan laced a triple in the gap to right-center to plate Melero and push the Auburn lead to 2-0. Emily Carosone followed with a single to left to score Lathan and make it a 3-0 lead. An infield single up the middle off the bat of Caitlin Schultze plated Carosone to give the Tigers a 4-0 edge.
    After allowing one batter to reach in the top of the first, Harper retired seven straight before allowing a leadoff double to left to open the fourth. A walk to Lauren Collier put runners on second and first with no outs, but Harper retired three consecutive batters to end the inning without a run scoring.
    Melero padded the Auburn lead with a two-out, two-run double to right-center in the bottom of the fourth. It scored Tiffany Howard (fielder’s choice) and Estell (intentional walk) to push the Auburn lead to 6-0.
    Furman broke up the shutout bid in the top of the fifth inning. Natalie Clemmons was hit by a pitch to open the fifth and came around to score on a double to center by Taylor Jenkins to cut the Auburn lead to 6-1. Harper, though, rebounded to retire the next three Furman hitters to end the rally.
    Furman’s third error of the day led to Auburn’s run seventh run of the day. After consecutive singles by Lathan and Carosone, Schultze hit a ground ball that shortstop Sieara Bishop fielded but threw wildly to first. The error allowed Lathan to score from second to give Auburn a 7-1 lead. With Carosone at third and Schultze at second, Tiffany Howard chopped a ground ball out to shortstop that plated Carosone to push the Auburn lead to 8-1.
    The game ended on Furman’s fourth error of the game, second of the inning. Schultze came in to score on a fielding error by Bishop which gave the Tigers a 9-1 victory on the mercy rule.



    ST. GEORGE, UTAH – The No. 6/5 Tennessee softball team enjoyed a pair double-digit wins over Idaho State and Utah State on Friday in the Red Desert Classic at Canyons Complex.

    The Lady Vols (3-0) hammered their way past Idaho State (0-1), 14-2, in five frames, thanks in part to a pair of grand slams by Kat Dotson and Raven Chavanne. Ellen Renfroe tossed a no-hitter to lead UT to a 10-0, five-frame win over Utah State (0-1) in the afternoon.

    “I thought we played really well, considering the weather conditions. This morning one of the umpires told me the wind chill was 35 degrees, and that’s really hard for kids to play in that type of weather. But the tournament was going to go on either way. For our pitchers to hold the ball and make it be able to spin and stuff in that weather – I’m really proud of them. I thought our team came out with the mindset: ‘Ready, ready, attack!’ They’ve done that every game. I’m just really proud of them playing on the road and in this kind of weather.”

    He was also glad to see Dotson and Chavanne finding success with their power hitting this early in the season.

    “It was really neat to see Kat Dotson and Raven Chavanne hit grand-slam home runs,” he said. “Both have been hitting the long ball a lot better this year, kind of reminiscent of what they did in 2010. That just brings a lot more to our offense when they’re able to hit the long ball.”

    GAME 2: No. 6/5 Tennessee 10, Utah State 0 (5 innings)

    ST. GEORGE, Utah -- Tory Lewis drove in three runs and Ellen Renfroe tossed a five-inning no-hitter in their season debuts to lead No. 6/5 Tennessee to a 10-0, five-inning win over Utah State on Friday at the Red Desert Classic.

    The Lady Vols (3-0), who defeated Idaho State, 14-2, in their first game on Friday at the Canyons Complex, certainly continued their offensive momentum in their third game of the season.

    In the circle, Ellen Renfroe was electric, tossing a no-hitter and fanning five batters in five strong innings of work. It was the second no-hitter of the All-American junior's career. The first was an 8-0, six-inning win over Furman on March 27, 2012.

    Lewis led the way for UT with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate with three RBIs and one run scored. Lauren Gibson had a hit, a walk and three runs scored. Hannah Akamine recorded a hit, two RBIs, and a walk. Melissa Davin reached base on three walks and scored twice.

    Mandy Harmon (0-1) took the loss for Utah State after allowing eight runs (four earned) over two innings. Shelbi Tyteca allowed two earned runs in two relief frames.

    Tennessee jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first inning. With the bases loaded, Cheyanne Tarango was hit by a pitch, bringing in Kat Dotson for the first run of the game. Hannah Akamine followed with a bases-loaded single up the middle, plating Melissa Davin. After Tory Lewis reached on a fielder's choice, Lauren Gibson scored on a throwing error by the third baseman to extend UT's lead to 3-0. Whitney Hammond reached on a fielding error at short and that brought in Tarango. Raven Chavanne and Dotson drew back-to-back, bases-loaded walks to round out the first-inning score at 6-0, UT.

    In the second inning, Lewis knocked a two-RBI single up the middle with one out and the bases loaded.

    The Lady Vols added two more runs in the home third. With the bases loaded and one out, Akamine hit a sac fly to right foul territory for an RBI. Lewis followed with an RBI single to right center.


    Aggie Softball Wins 8-0 Shutout in Season Opener

    LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The 17th-ranked Texas A&M softball team (1-0) defeated Long Beach State (1-1,) 8-0, in a run-rule shutout on opening day, Friday at UCLA’s Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament.

    The Aggies chased two pitchers with three home runs and a pair of bases-loaded walks against Long Beach State in the first game of the season.

    Senior pitcher Mel Dumezich (1-0) struck out seven batters on the way to her first victory of the season, handing LBSU their first loss. Junior Nicole Morgan started the scoring frenzy in the in the bottom of the third with a two-run home run over left-center field.

    Dumezich added a second home run in the next at-bat to give the Aggies a 3-0 lead.

    A leadoff bomb by junior Cassie Tysarczyk in the bottom of the fourth flew far over center field and brought the lead to 4-0. With the bases loaded, Morgan earned her third RBI of the game with a walk that upped the ante to 5-0. Dumezich also added an RBI walk to lead 6-0 after the fourth.

    Five innings was all the team needed, as back-to-back RBI singles by senior Meagan May and Morgan ended the game in an 8-0 run-rule. Morgan had four RBI on the day, while Dumezich was 1-for-1 with a home run, two walks and two RBI. Junior Emily Albus was 3-for-four with two singles, a walk and two runs scored.

    LBSU’s Erin Jones-Wesley (1-1) took her first loss of the season after allowing four runs on five hits in three innings. Dumezich spent all five innings in the circle, fanning seven and allowing no runs on two hits and no walks.


    Ole Miss Drops Games To UAB, Washington
    Rebels fall to No. 16 Washington 10-2 (5)

    HONOLULU – The Ole Miss softball team dropped a pair of games Friday afternoon to UAB and No. 16 Washington at the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium in Honolulu.

    The Rebels (1-3) fell to UAB 5-3 to open the day, and then lost to the Huskies 10-2 in five innings.

    “We’re in a very good tournament and we came out this morning against a very good UAB team and we were tied going into the seventh and we were battling,” Ole Miss softball head coach Windy Thees said. “We just hung a pitch and a team like UAB – a top-35 team – will hurt you with it.

    “Then facing No. 16 Washington, a really good squad, and we just got in trouble. Walks always have a way of scoring and we just walked too many.”

    A bright spot for the Rebels Friday afternoon was the play of sophomore third baseman Allison Brown. Brown roped a double against the Huskies (2-1) and finished the day against UAB and Washington with a pair of doubles and a home run, on 3-6 hitting, batting in two runs and scoring a run.

    “Brown has really gotten off to a great start for us,” Thees said. “She’s really calm at the plate, a couple doubles and a home run. She’s our leader right now, she’s our catalyst and we need to feed off of that.”

    Freshman right fielder Bri Payne hit her first home run of her collegiate career against, a solo shot over the right field wall against Washington, and freshman shortstop Haley Culley and junior first baseman Londen Ladner each recorded singles against the Huskies.

    Friday’s games marked the end of pool play at the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic, with single elimination beginning Saturday. Ole Miss will face Saint Mary’s on Saturday at 3 p.m. CT. The winner of that game will face the tournament’s No. 1 seed, which has not yet been determined. The Rebels defeated Saint Mary’s in their season opener, 10-2.

    Rebels Fall 5-3 To UAB

    Tied entering the seventh inning, the Ole Miss Rebels gave up a two-run home run in the top-half of the inning, and fell to UAB 5-3 at the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium in Honolulu.

    The Rebels recorded their first home run of the season, a bomb to left-center field by Brown, and took a 3-2 lead into the fifth. UAB tied the score in the top of the fifth inning, and the Blazers then hit the eventual game-winning two-run home run in the top of the seventh.

    Brown led Ole Miss at the plate with a 2-4 performance, including one run, two RBI and one home run. Culley, junior second baseman Marina Parra and sophomore Lauren Lindsey each recorded one hit for the Rebels, with Lindsey’s coming as a pinch hitter. Junior centerfielder RT Cantillo was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the third inning to bat in the Rebels’ third run of the game.

    Gamecocks Take 15-7 Win in Five in 2013 Season Opener at Stetson

    COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (1-0) exploded for 15 runs in the 2013 season opener, blasting past Stetson (0-2) 15-7 in five innings on Friday night at Patricia Wilson Field.

    Sophomore designated player Kristen Struett led the barrage, going 2-for-3 with a walk-off grand slam, three runs scored and six RBI. Senior shortstop Samie Garcia and freshman left fielder Alaynie Page both went 3-for-3 with a double and a walk, both reaching all four times at the plate. Page also drove in two runs while scoring three times. Junior right fielder Chelsea Hawkins went 2-for-4 with three RBI, while redshirt sophomore first baseman Julie Sarratt added an RBI double on a 2-for-3 night.

    The Hatters’ Chelsea Whalley drove in five of Stetson’s runs with a triple and a grand slam and ranked as the only Stetson player to collect two hits. Courtney Brandt and Demi Meza joined Whalley in scoring twice.

    The Gamecocks posted four runs in the first, with Hawkins driving in the first run on her single to right center. Struett followed with her hit to left, driving home junior centerfielder Ashlyn Masters and Hawkins. When the Hatter pitcher Brandt tried to get Struett at second, the throw went to the center-field wall, allowing Struett to score as well. The lead moved to 5-0 in the second when junior pinch runner Brooke Barnhill beat the throw home from the Hatter shortstop on junior second baseman Dana Hathorn’s fielder’s choice.

    Stetson closed the gap in the top of the fourth to 5-3 on Meza’s solo homer, Whalley’s RBI triple, which scored Brandt after her double, and Jordan Cleghorn’s squeeze bunt. But South Carolina responded with four more in the fourth, with Hawkins plating two on a single to left center. She later scored on a double steal, and Struett scored when Sarratt doubled to the right-center field gap.

    The Hatters made it a two-run game again in the fifth when Whalley stepped up with two down and the bases loaded and hit the 2-2 pitch just over the left-field wall for the grand slam.

    South Carolina came back to end the game two innings early, as Page drove in redshirt senior third baseman Kelley Dillon and Garcia with a double to right center. Hathorn and Masters reached on a hit by pitch and a four-pitch walk, respectively, loading the bases. Hatter reliever Meredith Owen got one out on an infield fly, but Struett followed by punching the 1-0 pitch over the 209 ft. sign in center to close out the game.

    Redshirt senior Audrey Broyles (1-0) picked up the win, giving up three earned runs on four hits and a walk in 3.1 innings of work, fanning two. Brandt (0-1) took the loss, allowing five runs, four earned, on five hits and four walks.

    The Gamecocks got the leadoff runner on base in all five innings and scored in four. The 15 runs scored by the Gamecocks is the most by a Gamecock team in a season opener in the NCAA era.


    Georgia Bulldogs Go 1-1 In Home Opener

    ATHENS, Ga. --- The No. 8/9 University of Georgia softball team split a double-header against the Elon Phoenix and The Ohio State Buckeyes to start the season 1-1 on Friday, Feb. 8 at the Red and Black Showcase at Jack Turner Stadium.

    The Bulldogs (1-1) lost the first game to Elon (1-1), 5-2, before rallying to beat the Buckeyes (1-1) 6-1 in the second contest.


    A&M-UCLA Game Cancelled for Rain

    LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The game between the No. 17 Texas A&M softball team and No. 19 UCLA set for tonight at 9 p.m. CST has been cancelled due to rain.

    The game will not be made up, but the teams will face off in the scheduled contest Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The Aggies (1-0), who started the season with an 8-0 victory over Long Beach State, will resume play in the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. vs. Cal State Bakersfield.

    Nunley’s Gem, Offensive Explosion Leads to 12-1 UK win

    TEMPE, Ariz. – University of Kentucky true freshman pitcher Kelsey Nunley threw five strong innings in the circle, while at the plate UK scored 12 runs on eight hits to earn a 12-1 five-inning win over Western Michigan at the Tempe Sports Complex in Tempe, Ariz., on Friday. The win is the second of the day for the Wildcats, who dispatched No. 3 Cal 3-2 Friday morning.

    Nunley was the leader for the Wildcats, throwing five innings of one-run ball, allowing only four hits, while striking out nine and only walking two in her first career start. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., fielded her position well with two assists and after the second inning only allowed two base runners to reach second base.

    At the plate, seven Wildcats collected hits, including junior Ginny Carroll, who went 2-for-2 with a double and three RBI. Freshman Christian Stokes went 1-for-2 in the game with two RBI – the first of her young career – while junior Emily Gaines came off the bench and delivered a clutch pinch-hit ground rule double for two RBI. Seniors Kara Dill and Alice O’Brien each earned a hit in the game, while O’Brien crossed home three times.

    UK freshmen Maisie Steed and Sylver Samuel showed the versatility of UK’s freshman class with Steed launching a solo homer well over the right-field wall. It was UK’s first homer of the year. Samuel scored her run with speed after singling and advancing to second on a throwing error and eventually scoring when Dill hit a slow infield single.

    Kentucky (2-0) started the scoring in the bottom of the first inning. After Dill grounded out to start the game, Steed and O’Brien drew walks and later moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Junior Lauren Cumbess flied out softly to left field and Nikki Sagermann walked to set up the bases loaded for Carroll, who delivered a single to right field to score two and give UK a 2-0 lead. UK went up 3-0 when Carroll stole second, drawing a throw from the catcher, which allowed Sagermann to show her heady base-running skills to score from third.

    Western Michigan (1-2) got its lone run in the bottom of the second inning. Caity Pixley started the inning with a single, advancing to third on the double by Loren Nagy. After a groundout, Marleen Rodriguez singled through the right side of the infield, scoring a run and leaving runners on first and third with one out. Nunley buckled down, however, getting out of the jam when she struck out the next two batters.

    UK got the run back in the bottom of the frame after Samuel singled and advanced into scoring position on a throwing error by the third baseman. Dill then hit a slow roller in the infield, reaching first safely with a single. The speedy Samuel, who was sprinting from second the entire way, got the go sign from third base coach and associate head coach Kristine Himes and came home to score UK’s fourth run.

    More of the same for UK offensively in the third inning when O’Brien and Cumbess started things with a walk with Sarah Frazer pinch running for Cumbess at first. Sagermann grounded into a fielder’s choice to put runners on the corners with one out, while Darington Richardson replaced Sagermann at first as a pinch runner, eventually stealing second to put two runners in scoring position. After Carroll walked, Joiner drew a walk and an RBI to put UK up 5-1 and was replaced at first by pinch runner Kara Howard. Gaines then blew the game wide open with a two-run ground rule double that one-hopped the left field fence to give UK the 7-1 lead. Samuel’s sacrifice fly scored Howard and gave UK a 8-1 nod.

    Steed started the fourth inning for UK off with a blast to right field, easily clearing the fence for UK’s first roundtripper of the season. O’Brien followed with a double to left field and after Sagermann walked, Carroll doubled to right field, scoring O’Brien. Joined was the second out with a sharp ground out, but UK would start a two-out rally when Stokes singled to score Carroll and Sagermann and make it 12-1.

    Although giving up a two-out double, Nunley worked an easy fifth inning to seal the UK victory.

    Razorbacks 2-0 to start the season

    FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team defeated the Colorado State Rams, 5-4, in nine innings, and the Southern Utah University Thurnderbirds, 3-2, at the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah.
    Both games came down to the final at bat for the Razorbacks and they left day one in St. George with two nail-biting wins. Arkansas won game one on a throwing error committed by 2012 Mountain West pitcher of the year Kacie McCarthy of Colorado State. Sophomore Devon Wallace scored the winning run after freshman Stephanie Canfield sacrificed her to third base on a bunt. Canfield finished the day with five hits in her first two games as a Razorback. She also had a long throw to gun down a Thunderbird runner in game two and preserve a tie. Head coach Mike Larabee was impressed with his freshman centerfielder.

    “I think Stephanie had an outstanding day,” Larabee said. “She did a great job defensively and came up with some big hits for us. I knew she was going to come in and make some big plays for us.”

    Wallace also came across the plate to end game two after Clarissa Navarro belted a double off of the left field wall. The second game featured excellent defense from the team, not committing an error after having two in game one. Larabee was happy with the first day in Utah.

    “I am feeling pretty good about the team right now,”Larabee said. “Those were two great games. It feels really good to get two wins but we have a lot of things that we need to work on. I don’t think we played close to our potential today. But it is a good thing to come out with two wins on the first day. I thought our pitching and defense were solid today.”

    Chelsea Cohen picked up both wins for the Razorbacks in the circle, allowing three earned runs in 12 innings of work. Hope McLemore started game two, only allowing one run in four innings, while striking out two.

    “I thought they both pitched very well,” Larabee said. “We always talk about our pitchers keeping us in the game and battling. I thought Hope was really well and I thought Chelsea came in, in game two, and got us some big outs.”

    Game one began with Colorado State scoring in the first inning when leadoff batter Ashlie Ortega singled and then scored on an Emily Pohl sacrifice fly later in the inning.

    Arkansas answered in the fourth when Jennifer Rambo reached on a throwing error from the second baseman and then scored on a Jayme Gee single. Ashley Martindale came in to pinch run for Gee and she was able to advance to third on a Chloe Oprzedek single. The speedster, Martindale, then changed the game when she scored on an out made by Canfield. Canfield’s hit was fielded by the shortstop and the shortstop went to third base to get a tag out on Oprzedek. Martindale was able to score seconds before the tag was placed on Oprzedek, giving the Hogs a 2-1 lead.

    That lead would prove to be pivotal as the Rams scored in the top of the fifth on a triple by Ortega. Arkansas was able to put runners on in the next three innings but could not convert a run.

    The 2-2 tie lasted until the eighth inning when CSU’s Cassy Mosser scored. She was on second base due to the international tiebreaker rule, used for this tournament when a game goes into extra innings. After advancing to third on an arid throw by Razorback shortstop Clarissa Navarro, she scored on a single from Alysa Greckel. The Rams scored another run in the eighth to make the score 4-2 with the Razorbacks facing their final half inning.

    Arkansas started the inning placing Amanda Summerford at second as its runner for the tiebreaker rule. Larabee pinch hit Rambo and she was able to line a single to right field. This advanced Summerford to third and the Hogs had two runners on. After two consecutive outs Oprzedek lined a two-out, two-run single to tie the game at four.

    After a one-two-three inning for Cohen, the Razorbacks had Devon Wallace at second to start the bottom of the ninth. Canfield laid down the bunt to advance the runner to third but McCarthy made a wild throw and Wallace scored the game winning run.

    Game two was as tightly contested as game one, but this time Arkansas got on the board first. Navarro singled and scored in the first inning when Schroeder made contact and forced an error by the Thunderbirds.

    Southern Utah tied the game when Mikkel Griffin hit a solo home run over the left field wall in the top of the third. The Razorbacks countered in the bottom of the third when Navarro scored her second run of the game after reaching on a fielder’s choice.

    The game was again tied in the top of the fifth, this time by Katie Olinger, she hit a double to center field and scored on a double by Kelsey Bryant. The game was back even at two runs apiece.

    The score would stay tied as Cohen worked a one-two-three sixth and then got out of a one-out jam in the seventh. She struck out two batters with runners on second and third to prolong the game and give the Hogs a tie score going into its final at bats.

    Wallace led off the seventh inning with a walk. After Canfield was unable to move her to second, Navarro approached the plate. She was able to shoot a ball into the left field gap for a double. Wallace got a great jump from first base and came all the way around to score her second game winning run of the day.


    LSU Softball Shuts Down No. 22 North Carolina, Purdue on Opening Day

    BATON ROUGE – Rachele Fico and Meghan Patterson fired a pair of opening day shutouts as the No. 10 LSU softball team rolled to an 8-0 five-inning victory over No. 22 North Carolina before securing a 1-0 victory against Purdue Friday in-front of 1,303 fans at Tiger Park.

    The duo combined for 11 strikeouts and was touched up for just eight hits to fuel their 12 flawless innings. LSU (2-0), under second-year coach Beth Torina, improved to 14-3 in season openers and has emerged with wins during 26 of its last 28 opening weekend home games.

    “We saw a lot of good things, and I think we saw two quality opponents today,” head coach Beth Torina said. “To do that against those two teams, it’s a really good day. Overall, the entire tone of our offense is better. Some of these young kids have come in and just swing hard. I was really happy with our overall team performance today.”

    The Tigers were clicking on all cylinders out of the gates and exploded for five first-inning runs versus North Carolina.

    A.J. Andrews and Simone Heyward set the table with a hit batter and a walk. On a 1-1 offering, Bianka Bell was poised to make her first career at-bat a memorable one and drove a ball towards the right centerfield gap. However, UNC centerfielder Tisha Mahon made a diving catch. On the play, Andrews alertly tagged and scored from second base on a sacrifice fly for the game’s first run.

    Kailey McCasland followed with another hit batter to put runners on the corners. That brought up Allison Falcon, who laced a RBI-double that one-hopped the left field fence to plate Heyward and extend LSU’s edge to 2-0.

    McCasland scooted across the plate on a passed ball, and Tammy Wray deposited a two-run homer on the left field berm to cap the five-run frame.

    “It felt awesome,” Wray said. “I have been working on my confidence big time. All fall long, the whole month before season started until now, that was a big thing for me. I’m not so much focusing on the result as much as I am what is happening at the time. I have been sticking with my plan, and it felt awesome to hit one out.”

    LSU tacked on three more runs during the third inning aided by a Wray RBI groundout and an Andrews two-run single for the final run-rule margin of 8-0.

    Fico, a 2013 All-SEC Preseason-Team and 2012 NFCA All-American First-Team selection, worked around three jams and stranded six of her eight base runners in scoring position. The senior right-hander found her rhythm and struck out four of the last five batters she faced to secure her 23rd career shutout.

    “Our offense came out, and they were so explosive,” Fico said. “They made my life easier, but I think I got a little too complacent and relaxed having that many runs on the board.  When we got into that situation with two runners on base and one out, I was like “OK, I need to bare down here.’  I think we definitely got stronger from there.  If our offense keeps this up, which they are very capable of doing, that is something that I can definitely get used to. I just have to stay focused.  

    Eight of the nine starters for the Tigers recorded a hit which included Katie Guillory, who missed the entire 2012 season due to injury.

    The three RBIs for Wray matched a career-high and her two-run blast was her first long ball in a span of 131 at-bats since the Sacred Heart game at the 2011 NCAA College Station Regional.  

    For Andrews, it marked the first time in her career that she produced a multi-RBI effort.

    Game 2 – LSU 1, Purdue 0
    Patterson started strong and racked up a quartet of Ks as she sat down the six Purdue hitters she faced in order.

    “Tonight going out, I wasn’t really nervous,” Patterson said. “I usually do get a little nervous, but this year Coach (Torina) told me I am going to have to step up. I am not behind (former All-American) Brittany Mack anymore so I am going to have to play my role this season, and I think I did that tonight.”

    The Boilermakers threatened to dent the scoreboard first after stringing together a leadoff walk and a bunt single to open the fifth inning. Wray made back-to-back sparkling plays to get the lead runners at third base, and Patterson coaxed another strikeout to escape the jam.

    In the home half of the frame, Kellsi Kloss cranked the first offering of the sequence onto the left field berm for the game’s only run. She became the first Tiger since Anissa Young accomplished the feat in 2009 to connect for a dinger in her first career game.     

    Patterson kept the momentum from the fifth-inning strikeout and retired the final seven batters she faced in order to wrap up the 1-0 triumph.

    “The fact that she (Patterson) was fantastic today, I think she is going to be very difficult to hit because she can do so many different things,” Torina said. “She has so many weapons. It’s really easy to call a game for her because I have so many options when she is out there. Options wise, she is going to be very tough for people to prepare for and hitters to deal with. I was thrilled with her performance.”

    Top-Ranked Tide Sweeps Opening Day - Alabama downs Illinois and Northern Iowa

    CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The top-ranked Alabama softball team earned two wins on opening day, downing Illinois, 7-2 in the opener and then sinking host Northern Iowa, 8-1, Friday at the UNI-Dome Classic.

    Freshman Haylie McCleney had quite the debut to her collegiate career, reaching base six times in two games, going 4-for-6 with three runs, an RBI and two stolen bases.

    Game One

    The top-ranked Alabama softball team downed Illinois, 7-2, Friday afternoon in its season opening contest at the UNI-Dome Classic. The win moves the Tide’s record to 12-5 in season opening games.

    A six-run third inning proved to be the difference, with senior Keima Davis supplying the brunt of the damage with a grand slam.

    The big inning started with an RBI double down the right field line by Courtney Conley that plated pinch-runner Kallie Case. Junior Jordan Patterson then drew a bases loaded walk before Davis drilled a line-drive shot that snuck just inside the left field foul pole to clear the bases.

    After making a diving grab in shallow center that she turned into a double play, freshman Haylie McCleney scored the first run of the season on a comebacker to the pitcher off the bat of junior Kaila Hunt in the first inning.

    Illinois would score in the second and third innings, to briefly take the lead but the Tide put up the big third to seize the lead and secure the season opener.

    Sophomore Leslie Jury went the distance, allowing two runs – one earned on four hits while striking out six and walking three.

    Conley led the offensive attack for the Tide with a 2-for-3 effort. McCleney reached base three times in four at-bats, with a single, stolen base and two walks.

    Alabama will face host Northern Iowa to wrap up day one in the UNI-Dome Classic. Day two of the tournament will feature contests against Drake and Wisconsin Green-Bay.

    Game Two

    In front of an NCAA regular season single game record crowd of 5,084, the No. 1 ranked Alabama softball team spoiled the festivities for the host team, defeating Northern Iowa, 8-1, Friday night. With the win, the Tide improves to 2-0 at the UNI-Dome Classic.

    Junior ace Jackie Traina struck out 12 and allowed one run on three hits in her season debut. Freshman Haylie McCleney continued her hot play, batting 3-for-4 with two runs, a stolen base and RBI. Junior Kaila Hunt also went 3-for-4 from the plate, scoring three times and driving in two.

    Back-to-back doubles and an error got things going for the Tide in the third inning. Senior Kayla Braud got her first hit of the season with a two-bagger down the line in left and then McCleney hit a double of her own in left-center.

    McCleney then raced around to score on her double as the leftfielder booted the hop off the turf to give Alabama an early 2-0 lead.

    Alabama scored two more in the top of the fourth. Junior Ryan Iamurri chopped a single over third base to score Hunt then senior Keima Davis singled home Traina on a grounder that found real estate through the right side.

    Hunt moved the Tide lead to 6-0 when she hit a prodigious blast well over the deep fence in left-center to score McCleney. The freshman reached base for the third time in as many at-bats, this time beating out an infield single.

    UA capped off the fifth inning with its third run of the frame. Freshman pinch-runner Andrea Hawkins scored on a throwing error by the third baseman.

    Alabama added its eighth and final run in the seventh inning. In her first at-bat of 2013, sophomore pinch-hitter Danielle Richard grounded an RBI single through the left side to score Traina.

    Gator Softball Downs Creighton, No. 5/6 Oregon Friday in Kajikawa Classic Play to Start Season 2-0

    TEMPE, Ariz. - The No. 14/15 Gator softball team set out on a mission Friday, downing Creighton 13-3 in five innings and upsetting No. 5/6 Oregon 1-0 to start play in the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe 2-0.

    A total team effort on offense and sharp defense paved the way for a successful opening day for Florida, as five Gator freshmen saw their first game action donning the Orange and Blue and all made an instant impact starting with the first hit of the day against Creighton, a leadoff triple from freshman Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.). Stewart led the Gators Friday at the plate with a staggering. 667 batting clip (4-for-6), a triple, homer, walk, three runs and three RBI in the showdown with Creighton and 2-for-3 performance against the Ducks in the nightcap with a double and two stolen bases.

    Squaring off with Creighton at ASU's Farrington Stadium in the first game of the doubleheader Friday afternoon, Florida used nine hits from seven different players, three home runs and a stellar pitching performance from sophomore Arizona native Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) to top Creighton in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Both Stewart and freshman Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.) were 2-for-3, each with a homer as Merritt smashed Florida's first grand slam of the season to contribute to a five-RBI performance against the Jays.

    The Gators scattered one run each in the first and third innings before breaking it open in the fourth and fifth with three and eight runs, respectively, for Florida's first run-rule of the season.

    Haeger earned her first victory of the season working 4.0 innings with eight strikeouts and one earned run, yielding just three CU hits, while sophomore righty Alyssa Bache (Clearwater, Fla.) came on to finish the Jays off in the bottom of the fifth. Bache fanned three Creighton batters and gave up one hit and one earned run in her first appearance of 2013.

    Florida held Creighton (1-2) to just four hits and pitcher Becca Changstrom (1-1) shouldered the loss for the Jays despite retiring eight Gators by strikeout through 4.1 innings.

    Senior outfielder Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.), UF's second-leading home-run hitter last season, dropped her first bomb of the season against Creighton, while classmate Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) connected for a two RBI double in the match-up.

    Gammel then struck again with a key role in UF's win over Oregon, plating the game-winning RBI with a bases-loaded groundout.

    After switching locations from Farrington Stadium to the Tempe Sports Complex for the tilt with No. 5/6 Oregon, the Gators went to work in a tight match-up with the Ducks, the first meeting between the two programs since 2011 Super Regionals.  A classic pitcher's duel, Florida junior ace Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) tossed a five-hit shutout for the victory opposite Oregon's Jessica Moore, who held the Orange and Blue to just three hits on the night. Rogers and Moore combined for 13 strikeouts, Rogers with eight and Moore with five.

    Oregon's Koral Costa struck with the first hit for either squad in the second frame, but with two outs and runners on first and second after a UF defensive miscue, Rogers fanned Jamie Sullivan to avoid a threat.

    The Gators then got a little something going in the third after freshman catcher Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) drew a one-out walk, followed by a Stewart base hit, UF's first of the game, but Oregon's defense caught Munro stealing and Moore forced a Merritt groundout to retire the side.

    A persistent and aggressive Gator offense got it done in the fourth after Horton's patience at the plate paid off with a leadoff walk. Freshman Taylore Fuller (Trenton, Fla.) capitalized on an Oregon error to put runners on first and second for the Gators with no outs. Next up, sophomore Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) reached on a fielder's choice, eliminating Horton at third, while a Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) walk juiced the bags for UF with just one out.

    Pinch hitting for freshman first baseman Taylor Schwarz (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.), Gammel put a one-out ball into play that Oregon third baseman Jamie Sullivan opted to toss to first for the out as Fuller scampered across home for the lone run of the contest.

    Stewart doubled for Florida in the fifth and Tofft connected for a base hit in the sixth for UF's second and third hits of the evening. Costa led Oregon with a 2-for-3 performance and Moore moved to 1-1 on the season the circle as the Gators served the Ducks (2-1) their first loss of the year.