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ATHENS, Ga. – Paige Wilson led the No. 23/24 University of Georgia softball team to a pair of wins over the Radford Highlanders on the final day of the Fifth Annual Bulldog Invitational at Jack Turner Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Sunday, March 3. Georgia won the first game 10-2 before handing the Highlanders a 12-0 loss, both of which were in five innings. Wilson hit a two-run walk off home run in the first game before hitting her second grand slam of the weekend in game two. The wins move Georgia to 12-7 on the year.
Anna Swafford continued to swing a hot back in game one, leading off with a double off the left centerfield wall. Geri Ann Glasco followed with a walk to put two runners on for Tina Iosefa who sent the first pitch she saw deep over the right field wall for her first career home run. The home run gave Georgia an early 2-0 lead
The Bulldogs tacked on four runs in the bottom of the third to extend its lead to 7-0. With a runner on, Kaylee Puailoa belted a two-run home run to right field to put the Bulldogs up 5-0. After a pair of singles by Katie Browne and Niaja Griffin, Christine Olney hit a bases clearing double to left center to make it a 7-0 game.
The Highlanders got two runs back in the top of the fourth on a two-run single by Emily Naegele. A walk and a fielder’s choice put runners on for Naegele, who drove the pitch between the fielders in left to cut Georgia’s lead to 7-2.
In the bottom of the fifth, Samantha LaZear reached on a one-out error that brought Swafford to the plate. Swafford then tripled to score LaZear and make it an 8-2 game. Wilson hit the game-winning, two-run home run came during the next at bat, securing Georgia’s 10-2, five-inning win.
Glasco threw a complete game, allowing two runs on three hits and was one strikeout shy of her season best with eight. The win improved Glasco to 7-1 on the season.
Georgia got off to a strong start in the second game, scoring nine runs in the first inning. Swafford led off the game with a solo home run to left field to put the Bulldogs up 1-0. Wilson then doubled to left and scored one batter later when Glasco doubled to left to extend Georgia’s lead to 2-0. With the bases loaded after an Iosefa walk and a Tess Sito bunt single, Puailoa drew a bases-loaded walk to make it a 3-0 game. A fielding error and an Olney single allowed Iosefa and Sito to score to make it a 5-0 game. With the bases loaded, Wilson launched her second grand slam of the weekend over the right field wall to extend Georgia’s lead to 9-0
Georgia added two runs in the bottom of the second to take an 11-0 lead. Sito singled to reach and was doubled home by Katie Browne. Browne scored the final run of the inning on a Griffin single to right field.
After a scoreless third inning, the Bulldogs added one run on three hits in the bottom of the fourth. Glasco led off with an infield single and moved to second when Puailoa singled back to the circle. With runners at first and second, Browne doubled to right to send Glasco home and give Georgia its 12th run of the game.
Chelsea Wilkinson threw a complete-game no hitter in her first win of the season that moved her to 1-1 on the year. She also struck out six batters and was just four over facing the minimum.
Georgia returns to action next weekend, March 8-10, when it heads to Rock Hill, S.C., to take part in the Winthrop Invitational, hosted by Winthrop University. During the three-day tournament, the Bulldogs will face North Carolina A&T, Western Illinois, Delaware State, Kent State and Winthrop. The first game of the tournament is scheduled for Friday, March 8 at 2 p.m., against Delaware State.
Florida Staff Combines for No-Hitter
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – No. 4 UF (22-1) concluded its weekend on the softball diamond with an 11-0, combined perfect game victory over Presbyterian Sunday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Pitchers Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.), Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) and Alyssa Bache (Clearwater, Fla.) collaborated to retire all 15 Blue Hose batters in the run-rule win, as Rogers retired the first nine, Haeger sat down three in the fourth, and Bache handled the three fifth-inning batters.
Florida defeated Drake twice and was victorious over Mount St. Mary’s, FAMU and Presbyterian in the three-day home tournament. The Orange and Blue improved to 22-1 overall this season using six wins in the last week of play – five tourney victories and UF’s 3-1 midweek win over USF last Wednesday.
The feat Sunday for UF’s pitching trio marked the first combined perfect game in Gator history. UF has just five other perfect games, the most recent being Stephanie Brombacher’s Feb. 12, 2011, perfect game versus NC State.
Florida head coach Tim Walton also highlighted the weekend, notching win No. 400 as UF’s head coach following Saturday’s 20-2 record-tying win over FAMU. Walton, the already the winningest coach in Gator softball history, is now 401-94 (.810) overall at Florida and 524-158 (.768) in his head coaching career.
All three Florida hurlers earned wins in the circle throughout weekend tourney play, Rogers (10-1) with the win Sunday against Presbyterian after tossing her fourth career complete-game one-hitter in Saturday’s contest against Drake, while Bache and Haeger each chalked up wins, Bache (5-0) with a career-best 12-strikeout performance against Mount St. Mary’s Friday and Haeger (7-0) with victories against both Drake and FAMU.
UF used 13 bombs to contribute to 27 extra-base hits in the last week of play to help aid Florida’s winning efforts.
In addition to her contributions in the circle on the defensive end, Haeger also led UF’s efforts at the plate through the past six games, going 10-for-21 (.476) last week with two doubles, four home runs and15 RBI. Against Presbyterian, Haeger put on a 3-for-4 performance, including a base hit, double and home run, to account for a team-leading four RBI on the afternoon.
Rogers fanned five against Presbyterian, while Bache had one K in the fifth for the six strikeouts in the contest.
Florida scattered three runs in the first, four in the second, one in the third and three in the fourth to power its way to a 22nd victory this season Sunday over the Blue Hose. UF faced four different Presbyterian hurlers, but starter Kensley Loudermelk took the loss to move to 6-3 on the season.
A junior Briana Little (Middleburg, Fla.) sac fly plated the Gators’ first run of the game in the bottom of the first, allowing freshman Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) to cross the dish after the leadoff speedster put down a bunt single to start the game. A bases-loaded walk for freshman Taylor Schwarz (Palm Beach, Fla.) added one to the tally and sophomore Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) followed with a hard-hit RBI single to center for UF’s third run in the opening frame.
Haeger struck with a one-out, two-run blast, her team-leading sixth homer of the season, in the bottom of the second to take the Gators ahead, 5-0, while Little and senior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) followed by making great contact with the ball in the frame, each knocking sky-high hits to the outfield that counted as triples – Little first, followed by Horton’s, which scored little from third for the 6-0 UF lead. Horton then scampered home on a junior Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) groundout to extend UF’s lead 7-0 after two innings of play at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
Haeger followed her second-inning homer with a RBI double in the third frame, which gave the Gators an eight-run lead to work with on the defensive end. The righty then entered the circle for UF and retired the Blue Hose in order in the top of the fourth via a foul out and two groundouts.
Florida then used a Schwarz sac fly, a Stewart two-out infield RBI single and Haeger’s third RBI hit of the day to center to extend the UF advantage, 11-0, after the home half of the fourth inning.
The Gators went with Bache in the circle in the fifth to close out the game for the Orange and Blue and the righty used a strikeout and two fly outs to retire Presbyterian and keep the slate clean for the perfect performance.
Florida will hit the road again this week during the Gators’ spring break for a mid-week non-conference clash with SEC Western Division rival Alabama Wednesday before traveling to Auburn to open conference play March 8-11 on the road at Jane B. Moore field.
For more information on both the Alabama and Auburn match-ups, visit GatorZone.com throughout the next week.
All Gator softball games this season will be live locally on WYGC-FM 105 (104.9) The Game, with audio streaming available on GatorZone.com. For all other broadcast and television information, visit the UF schedule page.
For live updates, box scores, stats, pictures and recaps throughout the season, be sure to visit UF on GatorZone, follow the Gators on Twitter and visit the team on Facebook for all the latest on Gator softball.
LSU Drops Decision to No. 15 Louisville
ORLANDO, Fla. - The No. 11 LSU softball team was handed a 6-2 setback by No. 15 Louisville on the final day of the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic Sunday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Allison Falcon went 2-for-3 at the plate and claimed her team-leading eighth multi-hit performance of the season for the Tigers (17-4).
Louisville (16-3) received 5.1 frames of stellar three-hit relief from Rachael Le Coq. She moved to 7-1 on the season. Offensively, Maggie Ruckenbrod provided two hits and three RBIs for the Cardinals.
LSU's Rachele Fico was handed her third loss over her last four outings and dropped to 10-3 for the season. The senior right-hander recorded 10 strikeouts, but allowed six runs on 11 hits.
"We're in a decent spot a month into the season, but we still need to clean some things up," head coach Beth Torina said. "Going forward, it will be nice not to play five games against five different opponents during a weekend. These first four weekends have definitely been a grind for us, but we know what to expect heading into SEC play."
The Tigers fired out to a 2-0 advantage in the second inning. During the frame, five different players drew walks which included Bianka Bell, Rikki Alcaraz, Tammy Wray, Kellsi Kloss and A.J. Andrews. Kloss' free pass pushed home the game's first run, while LSU made it 2-0 on a wild pitch which enabled Alcaraz to scamper home.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Le Coq was inserted into the game and got Jacee Blades to strike out to keep the score at 2-0.
Louisville evened the tally at 2-2 during the third inning. With two outs and runners on first and second base, Alicja Wolny lifted a fly ball to right field. Blades lost the ball on the sun, and the ball ricocheted off her glove which allowed Wolny to collect a RBI double. Ruckenbrod followed with a RBI single for the equalizer.
The Cardinals surged ahead by a 3-2 margin and made the most of a Katie Keller to start the fifth inning. She moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt, scooted over to third base on Wolny's infield single and crossed the plate with the go-ahead run on Ruckenbrod's RBI ground out.
Louisville received a pair of two-out RBI singles from Jennifer Esteben and Keller in the sixth inning followed by a Ruckenbrod solo homer during the seventh inning for the final margin of 6-2.
"I didn't' think we pitched well during the entire weekend," Torina said. "We have to get back to work in the bullpen and do the things we're capable of doing. Our offense has to be more consistent. They were fantastic a couple of times and a few times they didn't swing the bats very well."
LSU steps into SEC action next weekend and finishes its 13-game road trip with a weekend series at Mississippi State. Game times are set for Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
All three games of the series will have a live audio webcast available for Geaux Zone subscribers at LSUsports.net/live. Every LSU softball game will have live stats available at www.LSUsports.net/livestats. 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.
Arkansas' Larabee Wins 200th Game
FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team defeated the Jacksonville State Gamecocks, 3-2, Sunday at Bogle Park.
Arkansas head coach Mike Larabee won his 200th game of his career on Sunday. This was his 86th win at the University of Arkansas and Larabee was all smiles after winning number 200.
“I had no idea where I was as far as wins for a career,” Larabee said. “That was a big surprise and I definitely won’t forget the 200th win. It was a great day at Bogle Park.”
Devon Wallace hit a go-ahead homerun in the top of the seventh to give Arkansas a 3-2 lead. She finished the Woo Pig Classic going 7-for-11 with three homeruns, three doubles, eight walks, seven RBI and six runs scored. Larabee thought that the sophomore made her case for SEC player of the week.
“Unbelievable weekend,” Larabee said. “We are starting to expect that from her every weekend. It would be great for her to SEC player of the week.”
Coming out of relief in the fifth inning was another sophomore, Kimmy Beasley. She retired nine of the ten batters that she faced in three innings. She struck out seven while only allowing one hit. The 2012 SEC All-Freshman team performer received the win on Sunday.
“Just a dominate performance,” Larabee said. “Both pitchers did really well, but Kimmy was dominate, blowing the ball by them. I am proud of both of our pitchers today.”
The Razorbacks were the visiting team after earning a two seed in round-robin play. The team went down in order in the first and then Jacksonville State put two runs on the board in the bottom half of the inning off of Chelsea Cohen. Jessica Guy walked and then two batters later, Kalee Tabor skied a homerun into leftfield. This gave the Gamecocks a 2-0 lead.
Schroder cut the lead in half as she led off the second inning with a solo-homerun to dead centerfield. She hit the bomb after working a 3-2 count.
Cohen continued to struggle in the second as she struck out her fourth batter of the game to start the bottom half but then walked Amanda Martinez. Ella Denes followed the walk with an infield single to bring up Krystal Ruth with one out and two runners on. Cohen battled back to retire the last two batters of the inning.
She continued the momentum from the second and cruised through the lineup in the third. Cohen was helped out by second baseman Sierra Bronkey on a nice backhand play for out number one. The senior captain then struck out Tabor and got Savannah Sloan to pop out to end the inning.
Cohen struck out the side in the fourth to give her eight strikeouts on the day. This would be Cohen’s last inning as she went four innings, giving up two runs on two hits, while striking out eight.
Arkansas gave its pitcher some help in the fifth as Oprzedek led off the inning with an inside the park homerun. The ball deflected off of the top of the centerfield wall and got away from the centerfielder, Denes. By the time she ran down the ball Oprzedek had hustled her way home, evening the game at two runs apiece.
Kimmy Beasley came in to work the fifth and she breezed through the next six batters that she faced, striking out four. The sophomore picked up the win after retiring nine of the ten batters that she faced in the game.
Wallace started the seventh inning with a solo homerun over the leftfield fence to give Arkansas a 3-2 lead. The 2012 SEC freshman of the year capped the Woo Pig Classic with her third homerun of the weekend. The bomb gave Arkansas its 16th win of the season.
Next up for the Hogs will be a home series with Utah Valley University. Game one of the series will be Friday, March 8 at 6 p.m.
South Carolina Finishes Perfect Weekend
STATESBORO, Ga. - South Carolina (12-3) put the finishing touches on a perfect weekend in the Eagle Classic, defeating defending Southern Conference champs and tourney host Georgia Southern (9-10) 7-2 in Sunday afternoon's finale at Eagle Field.
The Gamecocks amassed six hits, one for six different players. Sophomore centerfielder Kristen Struett had a three-run homer, while freshman Alaynie Page scored three times and stole two bases. Junior second baseman Dana Hathorn drove in two runs, while Page and junior right fielder Chelsea Hawkins plated one each.
Page helped South Carolina take a 1-0 lead in the first. The freshman drew a one-out walk, stole second and moved to third when the throw went into center field before scoring later on Hawkins's RBI single. Four more runs crossed the plate in the fifth for the Gamecocks thanks to an Eagle error. A dropped pop up allowed Page to reach with two down after freshman Lauren Masters got aboard with a one-out pinch hit. Hathorn drove in Masters with an RBI single, and Struett followed with a shot to left, her third homer of the year.
TThe Eagles tried to mount a comeback in the sixth, getting solo home runs from Lexi Allen and Kourtny Thomas to start the inning. But Gamecock redshirt senior pitcher Audrey Broyles (4-1) induced two groundouts around a foul out to get out of the inning.
South Carolina added insurance in the seventh when Page singled home shortstop Samie Garcia after the senior got a one-out hit, stretching her hitting streak to 15 games, and stole second. Page made it 7-2 when she scored on Hathorn's RBI groundout.
Broyles struck out six and didn't walk a batter in the four-hit complete game. Sarah Purvis (5-6) got the loss, allowing five unearned runs on four hits and three walks in five innings. She struck out nine.
The Gamecocks travel for one more non-conference tournament, playing on two different sites during the USF Under Armour Challenge next weekend in Tampa and Clearwater, Fla.
Tennessee Tops CSU
CHARLESTON, S.C. - The No. 7/9 Lady Vols scored early and often, plating five runs in the first and collecting ten hits as a team, while pitcher Ellen Renfroe retires eleven, as Tennessee defeated Charleston Southern, 10-3, Sunday in the Buccaneer Invitational.
In the circle Renfroe got the win, holding CSU to one hit and one run in relief. Four Tennessee hitters posted two-hit games, including Melissa Brown with three RBIs and Cheyanne Tarango with a solo-blast.
Tennessee improves to 19-3 on the season, returning to Rocky Top March 8-10 and facing defending National Champion Alabama in the Lady Vols' conference-opener.
Auburn Blows Out Southern
Auburn, Ala. - The Auburn softball closed out the War Eagle Classic with a 14-0 win over Southern University. The 14 runs marked a season high for the Tigers.
Auburn improved to 16-5 on the season while Southern dropped to 0-19. Auburn will next play a doubleheader at Alabama State on Wednesday, March 6, beginning at 4 p.m. The Tigers will then host the No. 4 Florida Gators in a three-game series March 8-10 at Jane B. Moore Field.
"It was good to get a win after splitting two games yesterday," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "This was our last weekend of non-conference play so it was good to see everyone hitting. It was good to see Morgan (Estell) flash some power with a home run and Branndi (Melero) continues to drive in runs for us."
Lexi Davis improved to 5-2 with a complete-game win. Davis scattered three hits, walked two and struck out four.
Delphia Holmes started and took the loss to fall to 0-7. Holmes allowed six runs, three earned, on six hits with one walk and no strikeouts.
Auburn put up a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Tiffany Howard singled with one out and moved into scoring position when she stole second base. After a passed ball moved Howard to third, Branndi Melero's slow ground out to the pitcher brought her home for a 1-0 Auburn lead. After Emily Carosone was hit by a pitch, Brooke Lathan singled to put runners at second and first. Caitlin Jordan followed with a single to center that plated Carosone to make it 2-0.
The Tigers increased their lead in the top of the second inning. With two outs, Melero laced a single to right field to score Morgan Estell (fielder's choice) to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead. Carosone followed with a ground ball that second baseman Emily Wright booted, allowing Howard (single) to score and make it 4-0. Lathan made it 6-0 with a single to left that plated Melero and Carosone.
Melero's third RBI of the day gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning. Estell led off with a single and advanced to third on an error by Wright at second base, which also allowed Howard to reach on a fielder's choice. Melero then delivered a sacrifice fly to right to score Estell. Carosone followed with a single up the middle to plate Howard and make it 8-0.
Still in the fourth, Lathan made it 10-0 with a two-run home run to right. It was Lathan's second home run of the season. Jordan followed with a fly ball to right that Whitney King allowed to hit off the heel of her glove for the fourth Southern error of the day. Southern's sixth error of the day allowed Jordan to score. Austyn West hit a fly ball that Jasmine Payne dropped in left field, Jordan scored on the play to make it 11-0.
With two outs in the fourth, the Tigers made it a 14-0 game when Estell launched a three-run home run to center. It was Estell's first home run of the season and would cap the scoring for the game.
Mississippi State Downs Syracuse, 4-1
ORLANDO, Fla. – The Syracuse softball team (5-9) was knocked off by Mississippi State (14-4) in a 4-1 loss on the final day of competition in the ESPN Rise Citrus Classic.
Despite the outcome, junior Shirley Daniels went two-for-three with one run, while sophomore pitcher Lindsay Taylor retired nine MSU batters.
It took both teams the first three innings to get the bats going, before junior leadoff hitter, Shirley Daniels singled past the pitcher for the first Orange hit of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Following a successful sac bunt from senior Veronica Grant that advanced Daniels, junior Jasmine Watson reached on an MSU fielding error to score Daniels for a 1-0 lead.
Clinging to a one-run advantage, SU didn't allow another hit from the Bulldogs until Heidi Shape doubled up the middle in the top of the sixth inning. Another single to centerfield brought in MSU pinch runner Kayla Winkfield, tying the score at 1-1.
Despite back-to-back singles from Daniels and Grant, the Orange couldn't bring in either runner to reclaim the lead. The Bulldogs struck again in the top of the seventh inning, hitting another pair of singles followed by a fielding to put runners on second and third. With the bases loaded after Ashley Phillips walked, Briana Bell doubled down the left foul line to drive in two runners. With MSU ahead, 3-1, a sac fly brought in Phillips, stretching the advantage to 4-1.
Freshman Danielle Chitkowski kept Syracuse alive in the bottom of the seventh, advancing to second on a pair of error, but two more strikeouts and a pop out ended the contest.