Georgia returns to the friendly confines of Jack Turner Stadium Friday, March 1 when it hosts the Bulldog Invitational. The Bulldogs will welcome teams from Indiana State, North Dakota State and Radford. Georgia’s first games of the weekend is Friday, when it plays North Dakota State at 3 p.m., and Radford at 5 p.m.
Corpus Christi, Texas - The Auburn softball split its two games on the final day of the Grand Islander Classic, defeating Southern University 7-1 and losing to New Mexico 2-1.
Auburn fell to 12-4 with the split. Southern fell to 0-13 with the loss, while New Mexico improved to 8-8.
"This was disappointing," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "We missed some opportunities against New Mexico. We've got a long way to go. We'll have to learn from this and move forward with a solid week of practice."
In the second game of the day, New Mexico scratched out two runs and held off an Auburn rally in the sixth inning to prevail 2-1.
Marcy Harper took the loss in relief to fall to 4-2. Harper relieved Hilary Mavromat to open the third and pitched the final four innings allowing one run, earned, on three hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Mavromat started and pitched two innings allowing one run, unearned, on two hits.
Lauren Soles earned the complete-game win to improve to 3-2. Soles allowed one run, earned, on three hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.
New Mexico jumped out to the early lead in the bottom of the second inning. Leadoff batter Cassandra Kalapsa was hit by a pitch and beat the throw to second on an infield single by Courtney Geith. After a strikeout, Jordyn Bledsoe hit a fielder's choice that Mavromat fielded, but threw wildly to third for an error, which allowed Kalapsa to score for a 1-0 Lobos lead.
The Tigers mounted a scoring threat in the top of the fifth. Caitlin Jordan singled with one out and was lifted for pinch-runner Kristyn Richards. McKenzie Kilpatrick followed with a walk to put runners at second and first. Soles, however, was able to fan pinch-hitter Austyn West and end the inning when Tiffany Howard grounded out to third base.
The Lobos made it a 2-0 game in the bottom of the fifth inning. After Harper retired the first two batters, Chelsea Anaya took a 3-2 pitch over the fence in center for a solo home run, giving New Mexico a two-run cushion. It was Anaya's second home run of the season.
Auburn got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth. Morgan Estell reached on a bunt single and took second on a ground out by Branndi Melero. Brooke Lathan then laced a single to left that scored Estell to make it a 2-1 game. Lathan took second on the relay throw and moved to third on a passed ball with two outs. The Lobos ended the rally, however, when Caitlin Schultze grounded out back to Soles for the third out.
In the top of the seventh, Soles retired the Tigers in order to secure the 2-1 victory.
MSU Earns Split in Record-Breaking Fashion
SOUTHAVEN, Miss. - Using the plate as her canvas and the softball as her paintbrush, Mississippi State softball's Alison Owen painted a brilliant masterpiece Saturday afternoon at Greenbrook Park, breaking the single-game school record with 15 strikeouts in a 4-0 complete-game shutout against Wichita State. In their opening game at the Blues City Classic, the Bulldogs fell in a 4-3 nail-biter to Belmont. With the split, Starkville's Team moved to 7-4 on the young 2013 season.
"It was so important to bounce back from a tough loss in game one and earn the win in game two," Head Coach Vann Stuedeman said. "The biggest thing from today were all the Bulldog fans that came out. It was five and six deep and they were all cheering for the Maroon and White. That meant the world."
Stuedeman coached her 229th career shutout in game two, marking the third time in the first 11 games her pitching staff blanked its opponents on the scoreboard. The Bulldogs had five total shutouts in 57 games last season.
GAME ONE RECAP
Senior Stephanie Becker tied a career high with a season-best 10 strikeouts, but it wasn't enough, as the Bulldogs fell by a score of 4-3 to Belmont in MSU's first game at the Blues City Classic.
Becker took the no decision in the start, fanning 10 Bruins' batters and walking none in 4.2 innings of work. From the first to the third inning, the lefty struck out six-consecutive batters, becoming the second Bulldog pitcher in the last decade to accomplish the feat. Fellow senior southpaw Kylie Vry was the hard-luck loser in relief, falling to 1-2 in 2013 after giving up an unearned run in one inning inside the circle. Belmont righty Taylor Moon improved to 2-0 on the season, while the Bruins moved to 6-3 on the season.
At the plate, juniors Sam Lenahan (1-for-2, walk) and Heidi Shape (1-for-4) both hit solo home runs. Sophomore Ashley Phillips reached base safely for the 10th-consecutive game with a base hit in the first inning, eventually scoring on an RBI sacrifice fly by junior Logan Foulks.
It was the sac fly by Foulks in the top of the first that put MSU on the scoreboard first. Lenahan followed Foulks as the cleanup hitter and crushed a 3-2 pitch well over the wall in centerfield for a 2-0 lead in favor of the Maroon and White.
Belmont cut the deficit in half in the top of the third with a triple by Kimberly Johnson and an RBI single by Kat Hollingsworth. The lead didn't last long, however, as Shape roped a line drive round-tripper over the fence in center to push the lead back to two at 3-1.
The Bruins tied it in the bottom of the fifth frame against MSU freshman reliever Jacey Punches with two runs off three hits. With one down in the inning, Johnson reached base again via an infield single to shortstop. Pinch runner Kayla Brown scored on a triple down the left-field line by Hollingsworth, who immediately scored on an RBI single up the middle by Kirbie Ferrell.
Deadlocked in a three-all tie going into the bottom of the sixth inning, an unusual chain of events led to the winning run for the home team. Vry entered the game to begin the inning, and struck out five-hole hitter Heather Turner to begin the inning. However, Turner reached first on the uncaught third strike when MSU first baseman Shelby Fisher dropped the throw from Foulks behind the dish. Turner promptly stole second before Ashley Hammer struck out swinging. Just like Turner, Hammer reached first after the strikeout, this time on a passed ball. Heads up base running by Turner allowed her to race across the plate for the winning run.
GAME TWO RECAP
Owen moved to 4-1 on the year with a record-breaking performance vs. WSU, striking out a career-best and school-record 15 strikeouts. The right-hander finally issued her first walk in her debut season in Starkville (one walk in 33.1 innings pitched), while giving up just two hits in her second-straight complete-game shutout as a starter. This past Sunday vs. Lipscomb, Owen tied the previous school record with 14 strikeouts, and now has fanned 29 batters in her last 13 innings of work. Wichita State starter Katie Armagost dropped to 1-6 on the season.
"Alison was Vanntastic today," Stuedeman explained. "She continued to work her spin and had great command all game long."
Phillips continued her hot hitting, reaching base safely for the 11th-straight game with a 2-for-4 performance. Lenahan, who is hitting .533 over her last six games (8-of-15), went 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. Junior Jessica Offutt (1-for-3, RBI), senior Jessica Cooley (1-for-3, RBI) and redshirt sophomore Briana Bell (1-for-1, RBI) also tallied hits.
State scored its first run of the game off an RBI double to the gap in left by Lenahan, scoring Phillips. The Bulldogs tacked on one more in the third with a bases loaded suicide squeeze bunt by Cooley, plating a safe-sliding Shape.
Leading 2-0 one inning later, Offutt cranked a standup double to straightaway center, allowing sophomore Julia Echols to tap the dish. Bell's pinch-hit RBI single pushed pinch-runner Loryn Nichols across the plate for the fourth and final run. The RBI by Bell was her first since May 8, 2011.
Stuedeman's squad closes out the event Sunday with a doubleheader at 9 a.m. against Southeast Missouri State (2-3) and SIU-Edwardsville (4-3). For live in-game updates of MSU's games in the Blues City Classic, follow the program on Twitter at @MStateSB. For pictures from the Classic, like the team on Facebook at Facebook.com/MStateSB and visit the team's Instagram account at MStateSB. For pregame and postgame video, check out MSU's official YouTube channel at YouTube.com/HailState.
Arkansas Sweeps Two Games
FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team defeated the Murray State Racers and the Saint Louis Billikens by scores of 8-0 in six innings in both games at Bogle Park Saturday in the Arkansas Invitational.
Pitching led the way in both games as Arkansas pitchers combined for 12 scoreless innings pitched. Razorback pitchers allowed six hits while striking out 10. Hope McLemore led the Razorbacks to a win in game one. She went six scoreless innings, allowed four hits and struck out six. The six strikeouts tied a season-high. Head coach Mike Larabee thought the pitching was superb in both games on Saturday.
“We had some fantastic pitching today,” Larabee said. “I believe that pitching and defense is 75 percent of the game. We are going to continue to have pitchers do their job and have the defense make plays behind them. We also did not have an error today.”
The offense was also productive in both games as Stephanie Canfield finished game one 4-for-4 with a double, a homerun, four RBI and a run scored. She followed the excellent game one and went 1-for-1 with a walk and an RBI in game two. Also having a nice game one at the plate was Jayme Gee, she went 2-for-2 with a walk, two doubles, an RBI and a run scored. Gee also threw out three runners from behind the plate at catcher.
“Canfield is an amazing athlete,” Larabee said. “Not only behind the plate but defensively. She has been a catalyst for us, especially with teams putting Devon on base.”
The star of game two was surely Devon Wallace. The sophomore led off the game with a homerun and went 2-for-3 with a homerun, a double, a walk, two RBI and two runs scored. Also contributing to the Razorback offense in the latter game was Clarisa Navarro. The junior from La Hoya, Texas finished game two going 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Nicole Schroeder also delivered two hits including a homerun in game two. Larabee was again confident in the plate discipline of Wallace, who has an SEC-leading 13 walks this season.
“It has been unbelievable,” Larabee said. “Especially just being a sophomore. A lot of times you see players start to chase pitches out of the zone but Devon has stayed disciplined. If you want to put her on base, we have other people that can hit her home.”
Game one started with McLemore coming out on fire. She struck out two of the first three batters she faced. However, she ran into trouble in the second inning as she walked the first two batters and then allowed a single to leftfield from Sarah Anderson. This loaded the bases with one out for Mallory Richardson, who worked a 2-2 count before flying out to Andrea Sullivan for the second out of the inning. McLemore then got Shelbey Miller to ground out and got out of the jam unharmed.
Devon Wallace started the bottom half of the third inning with a walk, her second of the game. She reached third after Canfield notched her second hit of the day, a single. Navarro then walked to load the bases for the Razorbacks. However, the Hogs were not able to plate any runs in the inning and left their sixth runner on base of the game.
The Razorbacks again put a runner in scoring position in the fourth as Gee lined a double into the right field gap. Alyssa Bass then came into the game to pinch run and scored when Chloe Oprzedek doubled down the right field line. The doubles to right field continued as Canfield slapped a double into the rightfield wall, scoring Oprzedek and giving the Hogs a 2-to-0 lead.
McLemore used the offensive momentum to retire eight of the last nine batters that she faced. McLemore has now allowed five earned runs in her 26 innings pitched this season.
The offense gave her some support in the bottom of the fifth as Amanda Summerford drew a walk and then scored on Gee’s second double in as many innings. Gee then scored on another Oprzedek double as the two hitters hit back-to-back doubles in two straight innings. Gee’s second run gave the Hogs a 4-to-0 lead. After Wallace walked for the third time of the game it put runners on first and second for Canfield. She continued her dominate day at the plate, soaring her fourth hit of the game over the rightfield fence and giving the Razorbacks a 7-to-0 lead.
Arkansas ended the game in the sixth as Lauren Montgomery scored after a pinch hit single. Claire Clark had the game winning double as she rocketed a ball down the rightfield line. Arkansas picked up its 10th win of the season over Murray State, 8-0, in six innings.
Game two started with fireworks as Devon Wallace hit a solo-homerun into the leftfield grass to give Arkansas a 1-0 lead early.
Arkansas added four runs in the second when Nicole Schroeder reached base on an error and then scored on a Gee hit. This was Gee’s second RBI of the day. The junior would score later in the inning when Wallace shot a double into the leftfield gap. Canfield followed Wallace with a single that scored Oprzedek and made the lead 4-0, Razorbacks. Navarro added one more with a single of her own, scoring Wallace and giving the Razorbacks their fourth run of the inning.
Game two pitcher Kelly Young retired the first six batters of the game that she faced, striking out two, but ran into trouble in the third inning. Elizabeth Everingham led off the inning with a double, after two walks and two outs were recorded in the inning, Young faced Laura Bohning with the bases loaded and got her chase a 1-2 pitch. She flew out to Navarro at shortstop to end the top half of the third.
The freshman, Young then put down three of the next four batters she faced and gave way to the senior, Chelsea Cohen. Young closed her day with five scoreless innings pitched. She gave up one hit and struck out two, notching her third win of the year. Cohen immediately came in and made an impact as she struck out two of the first three batters she faced.
Navarro started the bottom half of inning number five with a single for the Razorbacks. She showed a great hustle and advanced two bases on a sacrifice bunt from Summerford and then scored on a Jennifer Rambo groundout. Schroder followed the run with a solo-homerun to right field, making the score 7-0, Arkansas after five.
The Razorbacks ended the game in the bottom of the sixth when Navarro blooped a single into leftfield, scoring Oprzedek. The Razorbacks won game two, 8-0 in six innings.
Next up, the Razorbacks will continue the Arkansas Invitational, tomorrow, Feb. 24. Arkansas will square off with ULM at 11:30 a.m., this time in tournament play. The winner will advance to take on the winner of Murray State and Saint Louis in the Arkansas Invitational Championship game at 4:30 p.m., a consolation game will take place before the championship.
Alabama Remains Undefeated With Two Wins
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The top-ranked Alabama softball team earned two more wins at the Easton Bama Bash Presented by Drash Saturday afternoon at Rhoads Stadium. The Crimson Tide downed Iowa, 4-1, and then defeated Western Illinois, 6-0. With the pair of victories, Alabama improves to 15-0 on the year.
Alabama opened day two of the Bama Bash with a 4-1 victory over Iowa on Saturday. Junior All-American Jackie Traina struck out 10 and freshman Haylie McCleney collected three hits to lead the Tide to the victory.
Traina improved to 8-0 on the season after allowing one run on four hits in the complete game effort. McCleney added a run and two RBI while also stealing a base.
Alabama opened the scoring in its first at-bats. Traina helped her own cause by ripping a single to right that scored Braud. UA tacked on two more in the second when McCleney drove in senior Keima Davis on a double to left-center. Junior Kaila Hunt then plated the freshman on a single up the middle.
The Tide added some insurance in the sixth when McCleney hit a sac-fly to shallow left that Davis was able to race home to beat the throw.
Alabama got another shutout performance from sophomore Leslie Jury that led to a 6-0 win over Western Illinois.
Jury struck out nine and allowed just three hits to improve to 5-0 on the season. Freshman Haylie McCleney added two more hits while sophomore Jadyn Spencer had two hits, including a two-run home run.
Alabama jumped on the board early with a single run in the first. Spencer singled up the middle to score McCleney. The run was the 24th on the year for the freshman.
The Tide expanded its lead to 3-0 when Spencer uncorked her first home run of the season, a blast well over the wall in left that scored Braud in the third inning. Alabama added two more in the inning when junior Jordan Patterson hit an RBI single and sophomore Danielle Richard was then able to score on an error by the centerfielder.
Alabama capped off its scoring on the day when freshman Andrea Hawkins singled up the middle to score Richard from second.
Alabama will close out Bama Bash play with a single contest on Sunday. The Crimson Tide will wrap up the weekend against Winthrop at 1:30 p.m.
Texas A&M Improves to 16-0
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The ninth-ranked Texas A&M softball team (16-0) downed Purdue (6-8), 6-1, before squeezing out a 6-4 victory over UTSA (7-7) on the second day of the Texas A&M Invitational.
Senior Mel Dumezich moved to 9-0 on the year and earned her second save of the season, while going 4-for-6 from the plate for the Aggies. The Whiting, Ind., native also scored two runs and earned three RBI.
The Aggies wasted no time putting runs on the board as leadoff hitter Emily Albus scored on a triple to right field by junior Cassie Tysarczyk in the bottom of the first. Albus reached on an infield single and ended the play on third after a fielding error. Tysarczyk also scored in the first, crossing home when senior Mel Dumezich singled up the middle for the 2-0 lead.
Purdue narrowed the lead in the top of the third when a pair of singles scored one run.
Ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the inning, A&M pushed to a more comfortable 5-1 lead. Junior Nicole Morgan drew a walk before Dumezich hit a two-out double to put the pair in scoring position. Junior Amber Garza followed suit in the next at-bat, doubling down the right-field line to pick up two RBI as she sent Morgan and Dumezich home. An RBI single by freshman Cali Lanphear plated Garza for the 5-1 run.
The Aggies' last run of the game came on a Breanna Dozier base hit. With two outs in the frame, Albus reached on a throwing error from third base that gave the speedy junior time to reach third. Pinch hitting for A&M, Dozier stepped in and placed a ball in right-center field. The freshman picked up the first RBI of her career on the unearned run.
Purdue put three runners on base in the top of the seventh, but a groundout ended the game with A&M earning its 15th-straight victory at 6-1.
Dumezich (9-0) threw seven complete innings, allowing no earned runs on seven hits and no walks while striking out seven. Purdue's Lexy Moore (1-4) suffered the loss after giving up five earned runs on nine hits and one walk. The Boilermaker hurler also fanned seven batters.
A&M got out to another 2-0 lead against the Roadrunners in game two, but was forced to battle as UTSA put up a four-run fight.
In the bottom of the third inning, junior Taran Tyler singled to reach base before taking second on a sacrifice bunt by senior Meagan May. A bunt single by Albus put two on the bags as Clopton sent Tyler home on an infield single. A throwing error in the same play gave Albus time to score and put Clopton on second.
UTSA grabbed four hits off of A&M pitcher Lauren Ainsley in the top of the fourth, including a two-RBI double that tied the game, before the Aggies retired the final two batters.
The Aggies were quick to respond, using a four-run effort in the bottom of the inning. Garza led off in the fourth with a single and didn't have to wait long for her second run of the night as Dumezich pounded a home run over left-center in the next at-bat.
Junior Jenna Stark got her first hit of the weekend after Dumezich's long ball, sending a single to centerfield. Her work was rewarded when May went yard over left field, after fouling a series of pitches over the wall, for the 6-2 lead.
The Roadrunners clawed their way back to within two runs of the Aggies in the top of the sixth when they scored a pair of unearned runs on an error and a wild pitch.
Dumezich entered the circle to relieve Ainsley with A&M in a 6-4 lead and retired six straight batters to end the game. The senior tossed three strikeouts through two innings for her second save of the season.
Ainsley (6-0) earned the win after throwing three strikeouts and giving up two earned runs on nine hits through five innings of work. UTSA's Alyssa Vordenbaum (1-3) was handed the loss, pitching 3.1 innings and giving up five earned runs on seven hits.
No. 9 A&M will end tournament play tomorrow with a single game against Southeastern Louisiana (10-4) at 12:15 p.m. Fans will have one last chance to get their Texas A&M Invitational card stamped at that game. Cards with four stamps will be entered into a drawing for several great prizes, including a signed softball and a signed football. Winners will be drawn during the A&M-SELU game tomorrow.
To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.
Mizzou Blanks CS Fullerton
FULLERTON, Calif. – No. 7/7 Mizzou blanked Cal State Fullerton 7-0 in the second game of its doubleheader at Anderson Family Field on Saturday. The Tigers previously dropped a tightly contested first game to the Titans by a score of 5-4. Senior 3B Nicole Hudson (Webb City, Mo.) paced Mizzou in the first game, batting 3-for-3 with one home run and two singles. She then pitched a complete game, two-hit shutout for Mizzou’s win to help the squad improve to 9-1 overall.
The win over the Titans (5-8) was seventh-year head coach Ehren Earleywine's 297th as Mizzou's leader.
In game two action, Missouri struck first with sophomore SS Corrin Genovese (East Amherst, N.Y.) starting third inning action with a single to right field followed by a stolen base. After a groundout, Genovese scored at home on an interference call against the Titans.
The Tigers added another run in the fourth inning with a two-out rally started by a single from redshirt freshman catcher Carlie Rose (Nixa, Mo.). A follow-up single by Kingsley put two on for sophomore 3B Angela Randazzo (Poway, Calif.), who knocked a single into the outfield to bring in Rose.
Mizzou’s big four-run fifth inning was fueled by hits from sophomore OF Kelsi Jones (Carmel, Ind.), Hudson, Rose and Randazzo. Senior 1B Lindsey Muller (Stilwell, Kan.) and Kingsley additionally recorded sacrifice flies.
One final run was added in the top of the seventh by senior IF Princess Krebs (Lithonia, Ga.), who singled to knock in Kingsley to set the final score of 7-0.
Game No. 1 started in a standoff with both squads unable to plate a run until the Titans struck first in the third inning for a 1-0 lead. CSF’s lead did not last long with freshman 2B Emily Crane (Troy, Mo.) launching a three-run blast to push the Tigers ahead, 3-1. Crane batted 4-for-6 over both games against the Titans.
The Titans fought back with another run in the fourth inning before securing the lead in the fifth. Designated player Desiree Ybarra hit a two-run home run to give the Titans the edge, 4-3.
Hudson then powered her sixth long ball of the season out of the ballpark to knot the game at 4-4 in the top of the sixth inning. An error in the bottom of the inning allowed a baserunner that eventually scored to give Cal State Fullerton a 5-4 advantage. Hudson batted 5-for-7 in the doubleheader.
Sophomore 1B Kelsea Roth (Yorba Linda, Calif.) pinch hit with two outs and sophomore OF Kayla Kingsley (Oklahoma City, Okla.) standing at first base. The Tiger slugger was unable to capitalize, striking out to hand the game to the Titans.
The doubleheader started after a 1.5-hour delay due to an umpire scheduling error by the host school.
The Tigers return from the West Coast, but stay on the road with the Missouri Breast Cancer Awareness Tournament (March 1-3) in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Located on the campus of Southeast Missouri (SEMO), Mizzou opens the tournament with the host Redhawks (2 p.m.) and St. Louis (4 p.m.) on Friday, March 1. The Tigers face Missouri State on Saturday, March 2 at 4 p.m. before finishing with UMKC on Sunday, March 3 at Noon.
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.
Ole Miss Picks Up a Pair of Wins
OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss junior first baseman Londen Ladner hit two home runs, including a grand slam that pushed the Rebels to extra innings, and the Ole Miss softball team (8-8) picked up a pair of wins Saturday against UT-Martin and Drake in the Red & Blue Classic.
Ladner led the way for Ole Miss, recording six RBI on three hits and two home runs over the Rebels’ two games. Ole Miss defeated UT-Martin 9-8 in eight innings to start the day, and finished it with a tight 2-1 victory over Drake.
“It’s really important for us that our offense picks up our pitching when our pitching isn’t as strong as it should be,” Ole Miss softball head coach Windy Thees said. “Then in the second game, Carly Hummel did a great job on the mound and kind of picked up our offense.
“I think Londen finally said, ‘Forget this, I’m going to swing hard,’ and stopped thinking about way too many things,” Thees said. “It was awesome. It was really great to see her hit a couple out and really get behind balls and get comfortable.”
The Rebels went with junior pitcher Carly Hummel in game two Saturday against Drake. Hummel, a transfer from Memphis, threw a complete game, allowing one run on three hits while striking out six.
Ladner broke open the scoreless tie in the fourth inning with a two-run home run that brought home Allison Brown.
Drake cut the lead in half in the top of the sixth, but Hummel would allow no more and the Rebels won their fourth game in a row.
“Our kids know what to do, it’s just a matter of putting it all together,” Thees said. “They’re figuring it out, they’re young and they’re talented. Once we do, we’re going to be a tough opponent for a lot of people.”
Ole Miss closes out the Red & Blue Classic on Sunday with a doubleheader against Middle Tennessee State at 1:30 p.m. CT and Mississippi Valley State at 3:45 p.m. CT.
Grand Slam Highlights Ole Miss Comeback Victory Over UT-Martin
OXFORD, Miss. – One day after completing a thrilling comeback victory over McNeese State in extra innings, the Rebels were back to their cardiac ways against Tennessee-Martin with a dramatic 9-8 victory in eight innings.
Trailing 7-3 in the bottom of the seventh, junior first baseman Londen Ladner hit a grand slam in the bottom of the inning to push the game into extra innings.
“I was just thinking, ‘See ball, hit ball,’ ” Ladner said. “That pitcher had my number my first three at bats and I wasn’t going to let her win again. She happened to throw me something I could hit and I connected.”
After the Skyhawks scored one run in the eighth, the Rebels responded with a two-run walk-off double by RT Cantillo in the bottom of the inning to get the win.
Cantillo and Brown each went 3-4 against the Skyhawks. Cantillo scored two runs and batted in three runs, while Brown batted in one run and scored one run. Freshman Haley Culley was 2-4 with two runs scored, while Ladner also went 2-4 with a grand slam.
Ole Miss outhit UT-Martin 12-10. It was the second straight game the Rebels won after trailing by four-or-more runs, and after trailing entering the seventh.
UT-Martin put two runs on the board in each of the first two innings to take a 4-0 lead.
The Rebels cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third, with a solo home run from Cantillo, her second of the year, and a sacrifice fly from Lauren Lindsey that brought Brittany Broome home.
UT-Martin stretched its lead to 7-2 with one run in the fourth and two runs in the fifth before the Rebels made their comeback rally.
“It feels great to be a Rebel right now,” Ladner said. “We came out from another deficit and really hit the ball. We worked as a team, our pitching held up and our offense was really able to close a win for us that first game.”
For all Ole Miss softball news and information, including live stats and a recap of each of Ole Miss’ games at the Red & Blue Classic, go to OleMissSports.com. For live stats and box scores of each of the games at the Red & Blue Classic, visit the tournament central page. Follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissSoftball and on Facebook at Ole Miss Softball.
Kentucky Rolls Georgetown
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Junior pitcher Ellen Weaver threw five scoreless innings allowing only one hit, while sophomore catcher Griffin Joiner and junior first baseman Lauren Cumbess each had two RBI, including the second home run of the season by Joiner, as the No. 20/22 University of Kentucky softball team posted a 8-0 victory over Georgetown in six innings on Saturday night in Spartanburg, S.C. The game was played as part of the Coke Zero Spartan Classic on the campus of USC Upstate.
Kentucky (9-3) will continue play in the tournament Sunday when it plays Howard (3-4) and host USC Upstate (9-0). UK will start the day against Howard at 1 p.m. ET before concluding the tournament with USC Upstate at 3 p.m. ET. Live scores from both games will be available online at UKathletics.com.
Weaver was the leader for the Wildcats, throwing her best game of the year. The native of Salem, Va., went five innings, allowing only one hit and no runs, while striking out three. The solid performance moved Weaver to 1-2 this season with a 3.96 ERA, posting 12 strikeouts in 17.2 innings pitched. True freshman Kelsey Nunley threw the sixth inning for UK, allowing one hit with one strikeout.
At the plate, Joiner and Cumbess paced the Wildcats with multi-RBI games. Joiner, who has been swinging a hot bat since moving to the No. 2 spot in the batting order, drilled a homer in the first inning and later singled to finish 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. Cumbess doubled twice to go 2-for-3 with two RBI, while senior shortstop Kara Dill went 2-for-4 with a run scored. True freshman Maisie Steed came off the bench to give UK a spark, going 2-for-2 with an RBI single and a run scored, while fellow freshman Sylver Samuel also had a two-hit night.
The two-hit night for Cumbess extends her season-long hitting streak to six games, while Joiner is on a three-game hitting streak. Cumbess now has seven multi-hit games this season behind a .447 (17-for-38) batting average and a team-high four doubles and 12 RBI. Samuel is second on the team in batting average with a .385 (5-for-13) mark.
UK got on the board in the bottom of the first inning after the solo home run from Joiner, her second roundtripper of the season. After Dill started the inning with a pop up, Joiner ripped a laser over the wall in right field to give UK the 1-0 lead.
The Wildcats started a two-out rally in the third inning, getting four runs on three hits behind one GU error. After two quick outs to start the inning, senior outfielder Alice O’Brien was hit by a pitch before Cumbess crushed a double down the line in right field to score UK’s first run of the inning. Steed then came up with a pinch-hit single to the right side of the infield, scoring Cumbess. After Steed stole second, she would come around to score when Carroll doubled to the wall in right field. Carroll was the final UK run to score in the inning, crossing the plate when junior Krystal Smith reached on an error.
UK scored three runs on four hits in the sixth inning to collect the eight-run lead and seal the victory. Samuel singled to left to start the inning, followed by Dill’s single to put runners on first with no outs. Joiner kept up her hot bat by blasting a liner up the middle, scoring Samuel and Dill after the centerfielder misplayed the ball. Sarah Frazer pinch ran for Joiner and after a foul out by O’Brien, came home to score on the double by Cumbess, ending the game.
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 can be found here: http://www.ukathletics.com/secsoftball/tickets.html.
For the latest on UK softball, follow “@UKSoftball” on Twitter or like Kentucky Softball on Facebook.
LSU Shuts Out Arizona
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Rachele Fico turned in a masterful performance and fired a four-hit gem to claim her sixth shutout of the season as the No. 11 LSU softball team continued its winning ways with a 3-0 victory over No. 14 Arizona Saturday on day three of the Mary Nutter Classic held at the Big League Dreams Complex.
LSU (14-1) notched its 14th win during its first 15 games to equal the program's best start since the 2007 team started the season with an identical 14-1 record. It also marked LSU's second win in 10 attempts over Pac-12 power Arizona (10-5).
"Rachele has waited a long time to be the No. 1 pitcher and pitch in these types of big games," Torina said. "She's earned every bit of being the ace of our staff. I had to slow her down at one point because she was so excited about this game. She did a great job of holding them in check for the entire game and is starting to separate herself as one of the nation's elite pitchers."
Fico limited the potent Arizona attack to a season's low four hits and only one extra base knock. The senior right-hander tallied five strikeouts versus two walks and improved to 9-0 on the season.
"The goal was to keep their hitters in control and off balanced," Fico said. "We were working both sides of the plate, changing plains and changing speeds. Arizona is a great program with so much history, and they have earned their reputation of being one of the best. You get a little more intense and a little more hyped for these types of games. I had to make sure I stayed within myself, and I admit I was a little too fired up in the first inning. Tammy Wray was a soothing presence for me, and I told her how she made me feel comfortable on the mound."
LSU jumped out to a 2-0 edge during the first inning. Jacee Blades chopped an infield single down the third base line followed by Allison Falcon's third dinger of the season on a the seventh pitch of the sequence, a line drive over the left field fence.
"Allison did a wonderful job and is such a leader for our team," Torina said. "She set the tone for us on offense and made some great plays on the defensive side for us as well. That's a sign of a true leader to step up in that situation and get the job done."
"I had an uncharacteristically long at-bat," Falcon said. "I don't really do that too often. I was just barely missing and sticking with the hitting plan that Coach Dobson and Coach Leftwich gave us. I found the pitch that I liked the most and swung as hard as I could. It's been working for us really well in the first inning, but we need to maintain that momentum throughout the whole game. There's always room for improvement in that aspect."
The two-run frame was the ninth time that the Tigers have dented the scoreboard in the opening stanza, and LSU has outscored its opponents by a 23-2 margin.
The Tigers tacked on another run and took advantage of a Kellsi Kloss leadoff walk during the second inning. Three batters later and after a Kailey McCasland sacrifice bunt, A.J. Andrews cranked a RBI double into the left centerfield gap to make it 3-0.
After Arizona got a pair of baserunners on during the first inning, Fico wiggled her way out of trouble with a popup and strikeout. The Connecticut native found her groove and sat down 10 consecutive batters.
The Wildcats had their best opportunity to score in the sixth inning. Bridgette Del Ponte and Chelsea Goodacre connected a walk and a single with one out. However, Fico buckled down and received back-to-back spectacular plays on ground balls from Falcon and Tammy Wray at second and third base to keep the Wildcats off the scoreboard.
"The defense played tremendous behind me, there are not enough good things I can say about them," Fico said. "They're so awesome, and they plan so hard behind me. I'm just really lucky to have them and know that they have my back all the time."
LSU squares off with No. 16 UCLA on the final day of the Mary Nutter Classic. Sunday's first pitch is slated for 11 a.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.
Tennessee Bounces Back to Down UCSB
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. Melissa Davin goes three-for-three at the plate and pitcher Ivy Renfroe retires eight as the No. 4/4 Lady Vols defeated UC Santa Barbara 5-0 Saturday in the Mary Nutter Classic.
Raven Chavanne and Madison Shipman each had a pair of hits, while Ivy Renfroe improved to 4-0 on the season with the shutout.
Tennessee (13-2) returns to Rocky Top Tuesday for their home-opener against Lipscomb at 5:00 p.m. ET. Stay tuned for a full recap of the Lady Vols win against the Gauchos.