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    Thursday Night Softball Central

    Softball RESULTS
    LSU 10, BYU 6
    Georgia 5, Colorado State 4
    Oklahoma 5, Georgia 0
    Florida 8, Loyola Marymount 2
    Florida 2, Oklahoma State 0
    Mizzou 13, Maryland 1
    Tennessee 7, Long Beach State 0
    Mizzou 2, San Diego State 1
    Tennessee at Cal State Fullerton

    Simmons' Slam Propels LSU Over BYU

    PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - With the score tied at 6-6 during the top of the seventh inning, Sandra Simmons belted a grand slam to clear the bases and vault the No. 11 LSU softball team to a 10-6 victory over BYU Thursday to open the Mary Nutter Classic held at the Big Leagues Dream Complex.
     
    LSU (11-1) has won 11 of its first 12 games to equal the program's best start since the 2007 squad opened the season with an identical 11-1 record. The victory over BYU (4-7) also was the LSU's fourth win over a NCAA Regional and 40-win program from a season ago.
     
    "The coolest part about today's game is that we were able to answer back every time after BYU scored," head coach Beth Torina said. "That was really exciting for us to be able to do that. It hasn't been a typical thing for our team to outslug someone. The fact that we gave up six runs is rare for our pitching staff, but we were able to score 10 runs. It shows that we are capable of winning in different ways. It makes me excited about this team."
     
    Simmons turned in a 2-for-2 performance and reached on all four of her plate appearances. The four RBIs also were a career-high for the California native.
     
    Jacee Blades opened the top of the frame with a leadoff infield single to deep shortstop. After an Allison Falcon ground out moved Blades into scoring position, Bianka Bell smacked a single to right field to put runners on the corners.
     
    Tammy Wray kept the momentum going and drew a walk to fill the bases. Following a BYU pitching change, Simmons unleashed a towering shot to straight-away centerfield which broke the tie and gave LSU a 10-6 edge.
     
    The long ball was LSU's third of the contest and 13th homer of the season which allowed the Tigers to match their season total from the 2012 campaign.     
     
    "I just had a clear mind at the plate," Simmons said. "I knew I was seeing their pitcher well the entire game. I thought she was going to come with something to try and get ahead right away. I was able to jump on it. We've definitely shown we can win in different ways. It's very exciting for me to be back home in California and represent LSU in front of my family for the first time. It's still all about doing anything I can to help our team get the win."  
     
    Rachele Fico slammed the door shut and struck out the side after giving up an infield single to begin the bottom of the seventh inning. For Fico, she improved to 7-0 on the season. Her four strikeouts enabled her to close within four Ks of eclipsing Dani Hofer (2006-09) for fourth place on LSU's all-time list.
     
    "You have to give all the credit to our hitters today," Fico said. "They won the game for us. I personally need to do a better job when I come in for those relief situations. After Sandra's grand slam, we rode the momentum. I was able to settle down after that. I have to trust in myself a little more, that's what Coach (Torina) told me to do in between the sixth and seventh innings. It was a key for me to not try and do too much and let my mechanics do the work."
     
    LSU fired out to a 2-0 advantage in the first inning. A.J. Andrews kicked things off with a leadoff single to right field. Two batters later, Allison Falcon cranked a two-run shot to left field for the game's first runs.
     
    The Tigers dented the scoreboard in the first inning for the eighth time on the season and have outscored their opponents by a 21-0 margin. 
     
    BYU responded with a run during the home half of the frame. The Cougars took advantage of an LSU error attempting to turn an inning-ending double play at third base. The ball ricocheted off the glove of Bell covering the bag, and J.C. Clayton scooted home to make the score 2-1.

    The two teams traded runs in the third inning. LSU made the most of another Andrews leadoff single, and she crossed the plate on a Bell RBI single through the middle.
     
    BYU scored its tally on a Katie Manuma RBI single to right centerfield. With runners on second and third base, Meghan Patterson escaped the jam with a strikeout and a ground out to keep the score 3-2 in favor of LSU after three innings of play.
     
    LSU broke through for three more runs during the fourth and fifth innings to extend its lead to 6-2. All three runs were provided with two outs courtesy of a Katie Guillory RBI single, and Tammy Wray's team-leading third dinger of the season, a two-run blast to right centerfield.
     
    BYU charged back with a four-run frame in the sixth inning to even the ledger at 6-6. Megan Arnold connected for a two-run home run of her own which chased LSU starter Meghan Patterson from the game. Gordy Bravo provided the equalizer with a two-out, two-run double off Fico. However, Fico bounced back and kept the game tied by getting a fly out.
     
    Patterson received the no-decision and recorded five strikeouts against zero walks in her five-plus innings of action. The junior right-hander was touched up for five runs, four earned, on nine hits. 
     
    "Meghan definitely missed some pitches location wise and was a little bit up in the zone," Torina said. "She made more mistakes than she's made in a while. At the same time, BYU is a quality offense. They are known for their offense and will make you pay when mistakes are made. I'm still confident in her, and I expect her to throw a nice performance the next time she takes the circle."'
     
    LSU returns to action to take on Ohio State and UNLV on day two of the Mary Nutter Classic. Friday's first pitches are set for 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. CT from the Big Leagues Dreams Complex in Palm Springs. 
     
    Every LSU softball game will have live stats available inside the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net/live. Fans also can follow every pitch of LSU softball via live in-game updates on LSU softball's social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball and @lsusoftball on Twitter.
     
    LSU's next home game will be Wednesday, March 13 versus Nicholls State with a 6 p.m. first pitch. Tickets can be purchased online at www.LSUtix.net or on-site starting at $5 for adult general admission and $3 for youth ages 3-12. Season tickets also are on-sale for $75 and additional ticket information is available at www.LSUtix.net.



    Georgia Splits With Colorado State and Oklahoma

    CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – The University of Georgia split a pair of games on the first day of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Challenge in Cathedral City, Calif., on Thursday, Feb. 21. The Bulldogs took a 5-4 win over Colorado State in game one before falling 5-0 to No. 1/2 Oklahoma in the second game of the day. The Bulldogs are now 7-3 on the year.
     
    Game One – Georgia 5, Colorado State 4 
    A three-run home run by Geri Ann Glasco led the Bulldogs to a 5-4, come-from-behind victory over the Colorado State Rams in the first game of the day.
     
    Colorado State got on the board in the first, scoring two runs to take a 2-1 lead. The Bulldogs answered in the top of the second, scoring a run on a RBI single off the bat of Tess Sito to make it a 2-1 game.
     
    The Rams added a pair of runs in the bottom of the third on a two-run single to extend its lead to 4-1. The Bulldogs kept fighting and got a run back in the top of the fourth to cut the lead to 4-2. Tina Iosefa singled to second and moved to third on a throwing error. With nobody out and runners at second and third, Bryanna Blanco singled to first, driving in Iosefa from third.
     
    Georgia kept the Rams at bay in the bottom of the fourth. Samantha LaZear and Paige Wilson led off the fifth with a pair of bunt singles to put runners at first and second with no outs for Glasco. After a long at bat, Glasco set a pitch high and deep over the centerfield fence for a three-run home run that gave the Bulldogs a 5-4 lead. The home run was Glasco’s fifth of the year and fourth in four games. The hit proved to be the difference as neither team was able to score in the last two innings.
     
    Glasco earned the win to move to 4-0 on the year, allowing four runs on nine hits in a complete game performance.
     
    Game Two – Oklahoma 5, Georgia 0 
    In the second game of the day, the Bulldogs fell 5-0 to the Oklahoma Sooners.
     
    Oklahoma took an early 4-0 lead on the Bulldogs and never looked back. The Sooners scored their first run in the first inning off a RBI-single by Jessica Shults. Oklahoma added three runs in the bottom of the second to extend their lead to 4-0.
     
    Samantha LaZear picked up Georgia’s first hit of the game when she beat out the throw from third for an infield single. The Bulldogs looked to get something started in the fourth when Glasco led off with a walk, before a double play cleared the bases and the Bulldogs were retired.
     
    Oklahoma added a run in the fifth on a Destinee Martinez RBI-single that scored Shelby Pendley.
     
    Morgan Montemayor suffered the loss to drop to 3-2 on the year. She allowed allowing four runs on five hits in three innings of work. Chelsea Wilkinson also saw time in the circle, giving up one run on three hits and a pair of walks. The freshman also struck out two.
     
    The Bulldogs return to action on Friday, Feb. 22 at 1:30 p.m. ET when they take on Cal Poly. Georgia will face No. 17/20 Stanford at 3:30 p.m. ET.



    No. 5 Gators Take Two On Thursday

    PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – Florida softball used two wins over Loyola Marymount and Oklahoma State Thursday at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs to improve its record this season to an undefeated 14-0. The Gators first downed LMU, 8-2, at the Big League Dreams Sports Complex’s ‘Wrigley Field’ before topping OSU, 2-0, in the second and final contest of the day for the Orange and Blue.
     
    Gator hurlers Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) and Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) each earned wins for UF in the circle, Rogers against Loyola Marymount and Haeger against the Cowgirls in game two. Rogers moved to 6-0 on the season with a four strikeout, complete-game effort against the Lions (3-3), while Haeger (5-0) used a four-hit shutout and eight strikeouts to add her fifth victory of the season in the circle against Oklahoma State.
     
    Senior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) led UF at the plate Thursday, going 2-for-5 (.400) with a run, RBI, double and two walks, while nine other Gator bats connected for a hit. Freshman catcher Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) was 1-for-2 (.500) with a double and a walk against Loyola Marymount.
     
    In the early game against the LMU Lions, the Gators rolled, putting up three runs each in the second and third innings before pushing two final runs across for extra insurance in the bottom of the sixth.
     
    LMU jumped out of the gates aggressive against the Gators, scoring in the top of the first on a two-out Olivia Alvarez RBI single to right field. 
     
    The Gators found their rhythm in the second though, and back-to-back bombs by sophomores Briana Little (Middleburg, Fla.) and Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) – her first career blast as a Gator – fueled UF’s offensive efforts to put Florida up 3-1. A bases-loaded RBI walk from Horton, followed by a two-RBI single up the middle from sophomore Jessica Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.) in the third extended the Florida lead to 6-1. 
     
    Megan Harman and Sterling Shuster started the sixth hot for the Lions, Harman with a leadoff single, followed by Shuster’s RBI double to put up LMU’s second and final run of the afternoon.
     
    The Gators added their final two runs in the bottom of the sixth, first on a Haeger bases-loaded RBI walk, followed by a freshman Taylor Schwarz (Palm Beach, Fla.) fielder’s choice that plated classmate Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) before Lion pitcher Molly Medeiros retired the side. 
     
    Florida faced four different LMU pitchers Thursday as Medeiros (2.1 IP) shouldered the loss (1-1), but was backed up in the circle by pitching staff members Dana Waldusky (3.0 IP), Erica Grady and Stephanie Crist (0.2 IP). 
     
    Game two between Oklahoma State (2-3) and Florida was a classic pitcher’s duel: Haeger versus Cowgirl ace Kat Espinosa. Both pitchers had nearly identical stats, Haeger with four hits, no runs, two walks and eight strikeouts and Espinosa with three hits, no runs, two walks and seven strikeouts. 
     
    UF and OSU both connected for hits early – the Gators on a Horton double in the first inning and OSU on a Tamara Brown blooper to left center in the second, but neither team could capitalize. OSU struck again in the third on a Gessenia DeLaCruz leadoff hit, while UF sophomore Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) led things off with a single in the fourth for the Gators, but OSU stranded one in the third, Florida two in the fourth to continue the shootout.
     
    In the fifth, things got interesting – after Espinosa retired leadoff Medina, OSU opted to trade their starter for Simone Freeman in the circle to switch up the look the third time through the lineup. The change didn’t faze Stewart, who connected for a one-out triple to the right-center fence. A strikeout and fly out retired the Gators, both teams still even with no runs.
     
    Shannon Kaufman and Tarah Ettinger both hit one-out singles to left center in the top of the sixth, but Haeger added her sixth strikeout of the day and forced a groundout for the final out to prevent the Cowgirls from getting on the board.
     
    The Gators made their move in the home half of the frame with bases loaded after a Castro walk, junior Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) hit and a freshman Taylore Fuller (Trenton, Fla.) hit-by-pitch. Espinosa inherited the juiced bags after OSU opted to re-enter their starting pitcher. An Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) attempted squeeze with one out on the board first forced an OSU defensive miscue that allowed the Gators to capitalize. After eliminating Castro at home, an overthrow down to first from the Oklahoma State catcher in attempt to get Gammel allowed Tofft to work her way to third and then home, while Fuller took third and Gammel scampered to second, resulting in a 1-0 Gator lead. 
     
    Next up, Schwarz poked a RBI single through the left side to give UF its second run of the day before Espinosa forced a Stewart fly out. Haeger added her seventh and eighth strikes in the top of the seventh to give UF its 14th straight win of the season.
     
    Freeman (1-3) was tagged with the loss as her two base runners gave UF the winning advantage.
     
    The Gators will be back at it again Friday in the second day of Mary Nutter competition at the Big League Dreams Sports Complex against Syracuse and No. 7 Missouri.



    Weekly Earns Win No. 800 as Tennessee Blanks Long Beach State

    CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. -- Kat Dotson drove in a pair of runs, Ellen Renfroe struck out six in four scoreless innings of work and co-head coach Karen Weekly earned career victory No. 800 as No. 4/4 Tennessee softball team took a 7-0 win over Long Beach State on Thursday in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. 
     
    Tennessee (11-0) controlled the game from the start with three runs in the top of the third. The win over Long Beach State (4-5) also marked UT's sixth shutout of the season. Dotson was 2-for-2 with two RBIs, two runs, two walks and one stolen base. Raven Chavanne finished 2-for-3 with a run scored a two walks. Madison Shipman was 2-for-5 with one RBI and one run scored. 
     
    Ellen Renfroe improved to 5-0 with the win, notching six strikeouts over four scoreless innings. The win marked her third appearance this season without surrendering a run. Freshman Erin Gabriel struck out three batters over three scoreless innings in relief. 
     
    Arian Erceg (3-2) took the loss for Long Beach State after allowing six runs (four earned) recording one strikeout over 3.0 innings. Amanda Hansen allowed one run over four relief frames. 
     
    UT opened up strong with three straight hits. With two on and no outs, Shipman drilled a single to short to plate Chavanne from third base. In the next at-bat, Dotson stole home on a double steal. Cheyanne Tarango followed with an RBI sac fly to the shortstop in shallow left to push the Lady Vols' lead to 3-0. 
    In the top of the third inning, with runners on the corners, Dotson scored from third base when Tarango reached on a fielding error at second base. 
     
    Tennessee's lead grew to 6-0 in the top of the fourth. Hannah Akamine drew a leadoff walk and Melissa Davin hammered a ground-rule double that bounced over the short fence in right center. With two runners on and no outs, Rainey Gaffin clubbed an RBI double to left center to plate Akamine. Hansen entered for Erceg and Dotson drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home Davin. 
     
    In the top of the fifth, UT added one more run when Dotson spun in an RBI infield single near the second baseman to drive in Melissa Brown. 
     
    Tennessee tallied 11 hits in the game, but left 12 runners on base. Long Beach State put up a good fight, totaling seven hits but left nine runners stranded. 
     
    UT will next play Cal State Fullerton in Thursday’s late game at 8:30 p.m. PT (11:30 p.m. ET). Tune in to UTSports.com for the free live blog and free live audio broadcast. 
     
    The Lady Vols open their 2013 home schedule at Lee Stadium against Lipscomb on Feb. 26. The home opener will feature free reserved bleacher backs for kids 12 and under based on availability. Single-game tickets can be purchased through UTTix.com or through the ticket office at 865-656-1200. 



    Mizzou Moves to 7-0 With Two Wins

    PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – No. 7/7 Mizzou used another offensive showcase and clutch pitching to improve to 7-0 overall in Thursday action at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. A nine-run second inning powered by the second career grand slam from sophomore 1B Kelsea Roth (Yorba Linda, Calif.) helped get the Tigers past Maryland, 13-1, in five innings. Nine strikeouts, including three in the seventh inning, by sophomore Bailey Erwin (Claremore, Okla.) and a two-run ground-rule double by senior catcher Jenna Marston (St. Louis, Mo.) in the fifth inning proved to be the difference in Missouri’s 2-1 win over San Diego State.
     
    Maryland dropped to 3-2 with the setback, while San Diego State fell to 6-5 with the loss. The Tigers’ two opponents made NCAA Regional appearances in 2012.
     
    In the initial game of the event for Mizzou, the Tigers’ put away Maryland with their bats in the second inning. Sophomore 3B Angela Randazzo (Poway, Calif.) started the squad’s big inning with a leadoff triple. Freshman 2B Emily Crane (Troy, Mo.) also notched a hit while Mizzou used walks and steals to build a 5-0 lead with bases loaded and two outs. Roth then cleaned off the bases with her fourth home run of the season. The grand slam improved Roth’s season RBI total to nine. 
     
    After Maryland hit back with a single run in the top of the third, sophomore OF Kayla Kingsley (Oklahoma City, Okla.) singled to start it off for the Tigers. Sacrifice flies from senior catcher Rachel Hay (Kansas City, Mo.) and Randazzo scored two runs, with Crane also scoring on a wild pitch to record three more runs for Missouri. 
     
    Senior IF Princess Krebs (Lithonia, Ga.) blasted a double to left center to score redshirt freshman Taylor Gadbois (Maryville, Mo.) in the fourth inning to set the final score of 13-1.
     
    Erwin’s pitching set the tone for the Tigers in the second game of the day against San Diego State. Mizzou was held in check until Marston’s extra-base hit scored Gadbois and sophomore OF Kelsi Jones (Carmel, Ind.) in the top of the fifth. The Tigers took the lead back after SDSU was able to plate a run in the fourth inning for a 1-0 lead.
     
    Three strikeouts from Erwin (3-0) in SDSU’s last chance at the plate cemented her complete game performance against the Aztecs. Her nine strikeouts set a new career high, with her previous best of eight coming against Eastern Kentucky on Feb. 18, 2012.
     
    The Tigers face No. 5 Florida at 2:30 p.m. CT (12:30 p.m. PT) on Friday, Feb. 22 to finish the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Mizzou then heads to Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, Feb. 23 for a double head (4 p.m. and 6 p.m.).
     
    Fans are encouraged to check MUTigers.com and the softball team’s social media outlets, @MizzouSoftball and Facebook, for updates and information throughout the season.