The Tigers made it 8-0 in the bottom of the fourth. Kristyn Richards drew a leadoff walk and came around to score on a single to right by Lathan. Richards went first to third on the single. As the relay throw went to third, Lathan went to second but was out on the play, Richards raced home during the play at second to score the Tigers' eighth run of the game.
ATHENS, Ga. - The No. 8/9 University of Georgia softball team handed the Winthrop Eagles a 5-3 loss on Sunday, Feb. 10, the final day of the Red and Black Showcase at Jack Turner Stadium. With the win, Georgia improves to 3-2 on the year, while Winthrop drops to 2-2. The Bulldogs finished with six hits, including a pair of doubles by Kaylee Puailoa and Geri Ann Glasco.
Glasco earned the win to move to 2-0 on the year with her second complete game performance. Glasco allowed three runs on five hits hits and struck out eight for the win. Sutton Watson suffered the loss for the Eagles, giving up five runs, two of which were earned, on six hits. She also struck out two batters.
Puailoa recorded Georgia's first hit of the day with a double deep to left center. She came around to score on a RBI-single to left center to give Georgia a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second.
The Bulldogs tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the third. Samantha LaZear laid down a bunt single, stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt to put a runner at third for Paige Wilson. A Winthrop error put Wilson at first and scored LaZear to make it a 2-0 game. Wilson crossed the plate on a double off the bat of Glasco, extending the Bulldog lead to 3-0.
Puailoa singled to right field to lead off the Georgia fourth. A pair of sac bunts moved Tiesha Reed, who came on to run for Puailoa, to third with two outs. Reed made it a 4-0 game when she scored on a passed ball.
Winthrop got on the board in the top of sixth on a three-run homerun by Kathryn Eberlin. McKenzi Corn led off with a double down the left field line that was followed by a walk to Chelsey Schoenfeldt. Eberlin followed with a homerun off the scoreboard in left field that made it a 4-3 game. Glasco settled in to retire next three batters, including a pair of strikeouts.
Wilson led off the bottom of the sixth with a triple off the wall in left center. With one away, Puailoa drove in Wilson on a sacrifice fly to left that allowed Georgia to extend its lead to 5-3.
Georgia returns to Athens next weekend when it hosts the 10th-Annual Georgia Softball Classic, which features Northwestern, Middle Tennessee State and Campbell. The first game will get underway Friday, Feb. 15, with Georgia playing Campbell at 3 p.m., and Northwestern at 5:30 p.m.
Kentucky Takes Care of Stanford
TEMPE, Ariz. – After taking down No. 3-ranked California in its season opener two days ago, the University of Kentucky softball team continued its winning ways against ranked foes in day three of the Kajikawa Classic by taking down No. 20/21 Stanford 3-1 behind an excellent pitching effort from freshman hurler Kelsey Nunley. UK lost its first game of the day to Portland State. Both games were played at the Tempe Sports Complex in Tempe, Ariz.
Nunley was fantastic against Stanford, going all seven innings, allowing only four hits. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., allowed only one earned run in the contest, striking out eight, which was one off her career high of nine against Western Michigan on Friday.
Nunley is off to a great start in her first season with Kentucky. The true freshman is 3-0 on the year in four appearances, including two starts and two complete games. Nunley holds a 2.83 ERA in the circle, throwing 17.1 innings, allowing 19 hits, seven runs – all earned – while striking out 19. In her two starts, Nunley has gone 12 innings, giving up only eight hits and two earned runs while striking out 17.
Kentucky (4-2) got a strong offensive showing in the win by senior leadoff hitter Kara Dill, who went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. The co-captain set the table for several other Wildcats as senior outfielder Alice O’Brien went 2-for-3 with an RBI single and a run scored. Junior Emily Jolly came off the bench to go 2-for-2 for her first multi-hit game of the year, while freshman Nikki Sagermann went 1-for-3 with an RBI and Cumbess 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly. Infielder Krystal Smith was the only other Wildcat to post a hit in the game, going 1-for-2.
Sagermann leads the Wildcats in batting average after the first weekend of play, hitting .429 with a double and two RBI. Seniors Kara Dill and Alice O’Brien along with juniors Ginny Carroll and Lauren Cumbess are off to strong offensive starts. Dill is hitting .368 with seven hits, one double, five runs scored and an RBI, while O’Brien is hitting .400 with seven runs scored, two doubles and three RBI. Carroll leads the team in RBI with six while holding a .417 average, while Cumbess is hitting .368 with seven hits, one double and five RBI.
The victory over Stanford (4-2), who is ranked 20th by ESPN.com/USA Softball and 21st by USA Today/National Fastpitch Coach Association, was Kentucky’s 33rd win over a top-25 opponent under head coach Rachel Lawson. It was UK’s second of the young season after the Wildcats took down No. 3 Cal in the season opener 3-2. The win was also the first ever by Kentucky against Stanford in softball. Entering Sunday’s contest, the Cardinal were 4-0 against the Wildcats.
UK jumped on top of Stanford with a run in the first inning and never looked back. The inning started when Dill doubled down the left-field line. After Maisie Steed struck out for the first out of the inning, O’Brien hit a liner to right field for a single, scoring Dill.
Stanford would place its first batter of the game on base with an infield single, but would not collect another hit until the fifth outing due to impressive pitching from Nunley.
UK would get its second run in the third inning with Dill once again getting things started with a leadoff hit. Dill would advance to second with one out after a nice sacrifice bunt by Steed and would later advance to third on the second hit of the game from O’Brien. Cumbess would collect an RBI on the next at bat, hitting a fly ball down the right-field line for a sacrifice fly and a 2-0 UK lead.
UK’s third and final run was scored in the top of the fifth inning when O’Brien collected a leadoff walk, advancing to second on a wild pitch. After Cumbess struck out for the first out, Sagermann reentered the game as the designated player and hit a single that got past the diving shortstop, scoring O’Brien and giving UK the 3-0 advantage.
Stanford got its lone run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kayla Bonstrom started the inning with a single and was removed for a pinch runner in Tylyn Wells, who was out at second when Cassandra Roulund grounded into a fielder’s choice. Jessica Plaza then hit a shot to deep left field with UK outfielder Kara Howard robbing a home run over a short fence in left. However, Howard would knock the temporary fencing over and fall down on the play. The home plate umpire granted Roulund second base due to the ground rules. Schaberg then singled up the middle to score Roulund and cut UK’s lead to 3-1.
The Cardinal got no closer as Nunley stranded two Stanford runners on base in the sixth and after a leadoff walk in the bottom of the seventh, Nunley got two pop ups and a fly out to center to end the game.
UK started the day with a 5-3 loss to Portland State (2-3). The Vikings jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the game and never looked back to defeat the Wildcats. After a leadoff walk to start the game, Becca Bliss placed a perfect sacrifice bunt to the pitcher Ellen Weaver, who threw wildly to first, allowing runners to reach third and second. Lauren Bliss then delivered the big blow with a two-run ground rule double to right field. After a groundout advanced Bliss to third, Crysta Conn hit a liner just off Sagermann’s glove to score PSU’s third run and secure the 3-0 lead. Weaver got out of the jam with a strikeout and a pop up.
The Wildcats answered with two runs in the bottom of the first. Steed started the rally with a one-out walk, followed by a double from O’Brien, scoring Steed, and advancing herself to third on the throw home. O’Brien then crossed the plate when Cumbess lined a single up the middle, make it a 3-2 game.
The Vikings got two insurance runs in the fifth inning. Bliss started the inning with a walk, advancing to second when Lauren Bliss singled. Aubrey Nitschelm then hit into an infield fly before Conn singled to load the bases. Candice Orozco then hit a ground rule double to score two runs and give PSU a 5-2 lead.
Kentucky got a run in the ninth inning off an RBI single by Sagermann, scoring Cumbess, who reached base with a double.
UK will stay out west for its next tournament, playing in the 23rd Campbell/Cartier Classic in San Diego, Calif. The tournament is being hosted by San Diego State. UK will play five games over three days of the event, facing off against Cal Poly, San Diego State, No. 16 Washington, UC Riverside and No. 2 Oklahoma.
Kentucky will play host to the SEC Tournament this season for the first time in school history. The event, which is considered one of the most prestigious softball tournaments in the nation, will be May 8-11 in Lexington. The championship game will be featured on ESPN2, while all other games will be shown on ESPNU. Ticket information for the tournament will be released next week on UKathletics.com.
For the latest on UK softball, follow “@UKSoftball” on Twitter or like Kentucky Softball on Facebook.
LSU Falls to UNC at Home
BATON ROUGE - The No. 10 LSU softball team was handed its first setback of the 2013 season, a 3-1 decision by No. 22 North Carolina on the final day of the Tiger Classic Sunday at Tiger Park.
LSU (4-1) was six outs away from posting an unblemished opening weekend after the Tigers snatched a 1-0 edge during the fourth inning.
"It just seems like we couldn't get a break all day," head coach Beth Torina said. "Everything that happened seemed to not go our way. We will learn from it. We definitely made some mistakes in our infield in the sixth inning. I think we have to improve on that. We have to be aggressive at the right times and conservative at the right times. I think it is just a balance of (knowing) what we can get and when to go for certain plays."
Jacee Blades hustled her way to an infield single and advanced to second base on a North Carolina throwing error by the shortstop. Two batters later, Allison Falcon belted a RBI double that one-hopped the left field fence for the game's first run.
"I like where I'm at in the lineup," Falcon said. "We are doing a lot of things within our hitting plans and hitting the pitcher's weaknesses. That is really helping us a lot. Coach Dobson, Coach Leftwich and Coach McDonald get us really prepared. That helps us out big time when we are practicing on what a pitcher might throw us so we can be ready for it when a pitcher throws to us in a pressure situation."
Making her first career start against a Top 25 opponent, Meghan Patterson fired a sparkling first five innings of shutout ball. The junior right-hander retired 15 of the first 17 batters she faced. However, she was handed the tough-luck loss and dropped to 1-1 on the season.
The Tar Heels (3-2) opened the sixth inning with a Tisha Mahon bunt single down the third base line on a bang-bang play at the first base bag. Amy Nece dropped down another bunt reaching on a fielder's choice as Mahon was ruled safe at second base on another close call.
LSU turned to Rachele Fico out of the bullpen, but she walked Erin Satterfield to load the bases. On a 0-2 offering and seventh pitch of the sequence, UNC received the equalizer on Haleigh Dickey's slow-rolling RBI groundout to second base.
Amber Parrish followed with another slow ground ball in front of the pitcher's circle. Fico fielded the ball and elected to go home in attempt to get the lead runner. However, Nece slid under the tag attempt to vault the Tar Heels ahead by a 2-1 margin. Constance Orr added a sacrifice fly to extend UNC's advantage to 3-1.
LSU was poised for a two-out rally during the home half of the frame. Kailey McCasland coaxed a walk followed by Sandra Simmons being hit-by-a-pitch.
On a 2-2 pitch, Tammy Wray lifted a high fly ball on the infield. UNC's Satterfield charged in from her second base post, but the ball bounced in-front of her in fair play. The spin on the bounce of the ball went towards the home plate where UNC's catcher Parrish fielded the ball. She attempted to throw out Wray going from first base to second base. She overthrew her shortstop covering the bag, and the ball went all the way to the centerfield fence which enabled Simmons and Wray to score on the play giving the Tigers a 4-3 lead.
The lead was only temporary. After a conference, the umpires ruled that Parrish was in foul territory when she fielded the ball. Two pitches later, Wray struck out to keep the score in UNC's favor at 3-1.
"Things didn't fall our way today," Fico said. "If there is a time for this to happen, it is going to be early in the season. When we hit conference play, we need to grow from this and learn from this. We know what we need to work on, and we are going to grind in practice to make it better and right."
LSU had another rally foiled on a bizarre play in the seventh inning. Pinch hitter Simone Heyward was plunked and moved to second base after a Blades walk. With two outs and Bianka Bell representing the go-ahead run at the plate, Heyward and Blades attempted a double steal. The throw by Parrish from her catcher's spot deflected hard off the facemask of Bell's batting helmet.
With Bell on the ground, the ball ricocheted back into play. Heyward broke towards home after hesitation but was tagged out at the plate for the game's final out after a charging Satterfield threw back to Parrish at the plate for the game's final out.
"The thing I love about this team is that we are very emotional," Falcon said. "We get very excited. I think we need to maybe help combat when we're getting down when plays like that happen. We need to find a comfortable spot somewhere in the middle between not to be too excited but not to be too low when bad things happen that don't go our way."
LSU hits the road for the first time on the season and faces Ole Miss for a Wednesday non-conference tilt. Wednesday's first pitch is slated for 3:30 p.m., and a free live audio webcast of the game will be available inside the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net/live.
Live stats for every LSU softball game this season will be available on www.LSUsports.net/livestats. Fans also can receive live in-game updates by following LSU softball on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball and @lsusoftball on Twitter.
The Tigers return home to play host to the Purple & Gold Challenge as Memphis, Nicholls State, North Dakota State and Virginia next weekend.
The Tiger Park Ticket Office will open one hour prior to the first game of each day. Fans can purchase tickets on-site starting at $5 for adult general admission and $3 for youth ages 3-12. Season tickets are on-sale for $75 and additional ticket information is available at www.LSUtix.net.
Mississippi State Game Cancelled
Starkville, Miss. - Due to the impending storm and the flash flood watch for Oktibbeha County through the evening, the final three games of the 2013 Bulldog Kickoff Classic that were scheduled for 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday have been canceled.
The 3-1 Bulldog softball team returns to the diamond this Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 6 p.m., as the Maroon and White travel to Lafayette, La. for a non-conference battle against No. 12 Louisiana-Lafayette.
For more information on MSU Softball, follow the program on Twitter at @MStateSB and like them on Facebook.com/MStateSB.