GREENVILLE, S.C. - Behind homers from Ambree Muller and Lauren Collier, Furman (9-11) took the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader from South Carolina (15-6) 8-6 at Pepsi Stadium.
Collier hit the difference maker with two outs in the sixth, a three-run shot to left center to hand the Paladins an 8-5 lead. That scored Sieara Bishop and Natalie Clemmons, who reached with one down on a hit and a hit by pitch, respectively. South Carolina tried to tie the game in the seventh, getting an RBI groundout from freshman left fielder Alaynie Page, but with a runner at third, Paladin left fielder Muller made a diving catch to rob a hit from the Gamecocks that would have drawn them to within one, instead ending the game.
Furman took its first lead in the bottom of the fourth. Bishop doubled home Nikki Legg with no one out. After a pop out, Muller came up and poked one the other way that just cleared the left-field wall, giving the Paladins the 5-4 lead. South Carolina tied it in the top of the sixth on sophomore centerfielder Kristen Struett's RBI double, plating junior pinch runner Brooke Barnhill.
South Carolina got a 2-0 lead in the second, as senior shortstop Samie Garcia got a two-RBI single, scoring redshirt senior first baseman Kelley Dillon and sophomore right fielder Chelsea Hawkins. Furman scored runs in the second and third to knot the game at 2-2. Stephanie Spain had an RBI single in the second, scoring Stephanie Field, while Field drove in the run in the third with her hit to center, scoring Clemmons.
The Gamecocks retook the lead in the fourth on freshman pinch hitter Ansley Ard's single, scoring junior third baseman Codee Yeske and Garcia, the latter after a throw from the Paladin second basemen got away in the infield. But Furman answered in the bottom of the frame.
Shelby Parker (2-2) got the victory for Furman, giving up two earned runs on a hit and a walk in a 1.2 innings. Meaghan Houston picked up her fourth save of the year, giving up a walk while fanning one in the seventh. Gamecock freshman Katie Marks (5-3) took the loss, allowing six earned runs on six hits while fanning three in 3.2 innings.
Hawkins went 3-for-4 with a run scored, while Garcia went 2-for-4 with a run and two RBI. Dillon scored twice in a 1-for-3 day. Bishop led the Paladins with a 3-for-4 day, scoring twice and driving in a run. Field went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI.
Hathorn's Homer Lifts South Carolina to win in Game Two
GREENVILLE, S.C. - A sixth-inning solo blast from junior second baseman Dana Hathorn lifted South Carolina (16-6) to a 6-5 win at Furman (9-12) in the second game on Wednesday afternoon at Pepsi Stadium.
Hathorn drove the 1-0 pitch over the wall in left with one down, giving South Carolina its final advantage. Other Gamecock hitters with big days included freshman designated player Ansley Ard going 3-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI and senior catcher Shelby Gonzales' 2-for-2 outing with a two-run homer.
Furman took the 2-0 lead in the first when Natalie Clemmons launched one out to left, also driving home Sieara Bishop after she started the game with a walk. The Gamecocks tied it in the second on redshirt sophomore first baseman Julie Sarratt's RBI single and junior pinch runner Brooke Barnhill's run when she scored on a passed ball.
The Gamecocks held a 5-2 lead after three, with Ard driving in one with her single, plating junior right fielder Chelsea Hawkins. Gonzales came up next and hit the first pitch from reliever Shelby Parker out to left center, making it 5-2. The Paladins tied it in the fourth, the first scoring on a Gamecock error and the next two on junior Sarah Eidt's two-RBI double.
Gamecock redshirt senior pitcher Audrey Broyles (5-2) came in after the Eidt double and silenced the Paladin bats, giving up two hits and a walk while fanning five in four innings out of the bullpen. Lauren Collier (3-5) took the loss for Furman, giving up one earned run on three hits and a walk in three innings of relief. Collier struck out three.
Clemmons went 2-for-4 for Furman, driving in two runs.
South Carolina opens Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field this weekend, hosting No. 4/6 Alabama. Friday night's first pitch is set for 7 p.m. EDT.
Earleywine Wins No. 300 at Mizzou in Sweep of Evansville
COLUMBIA, Mo. – No. 8 Mizzou turned away Evansville twice to earn seventh-year head coach Ehren Earleywine his 300th victory as the Tigers’ leader on Wednesday at University Field. Seniors Chelsea Thomas (Pleastantville, Iowa) and Nicole Hudson (Webb City, Mo.) pitched complete games (7.0), with Thomas (5-1) striking out 10 and surrendering just two hits in the 3-1 win in game one of the doubleheader. Hudson (4-0) followed with her third complete game performance of the season, striking out six Purple Ace batters in Mizzou’s 4-3 victory in the second game.
Second inning action of game one saw Thomas surpass 1,000 career strikeouts with her third punchout of the contest.
The wins improved Mizzou’s overall record to 12-2, while Evansville dropped to 6-11 overall.
The Tigers built a 3-0 lead in the opening contest, thanks in part to a two-run home run from Hudson. The big swing in the bottom of the third inning brought in senior catcher Jenna Marston (St. Louis, Mo.), who had previously doubled to center field. The long ball was Hudson’s seventh of 2013, matching her 2012 total.
Mizzou had struck immediately with freshman 2B Emily Crane (Troy, Mo.) recording a single to leadoff the game, eventually being knocked in on a sacrifice fly by Hudson.
Thomas had dealt a one-hitter to the Purple Aces into the seventh inning before Evansville’s Kayla Fortner correctly found a pitch to send out of the park to set the score at 3-1 with one out. Thomas struck out the next batter for her 10th strikeout and induced a groundout to close the game.
Evansville’s Sarah Patterson (4-4) took the loss, allowing four hits, three runs (all earned) and issuing one walk.
Sophomore 1B Kelsea Roth (Yorba Linda, Calif.) opened the scoring in the second game, blasting her seventh home run of the season to left center. The solo long shot helped her match her 2012 home run total.
Evansville crept out to 3-1 lead after Roth’s four-bagger left the park, including two runs in the top of the sixth inning. With the Tigers needing runs in the bottom of the inning, the pitcher Hudson drew a leadoff walk before conceding to pinch runner Brianna Corwin (Kansas City, Mo.). A single by junior utility player Mackenzie Sykes (Blue Springs, Mo.) and following single by Roth scored Corwin to set the score at 3-2 to Evansville.
Smart base-running from Sykes evened the score at 3-3, with the Tiger turning a stolen third base into a dash home after the throw from UE’s catcher was off the mark. Sophomore 3B Angela Randazzo (Poway, Calif.) gave Mizzou the lead with a pinch hit single to left field that scored redshirt freshman Carlie Rose (Nixa, Mo.), who had pinch run for Roth.
Hudson fielded a groundout and struck out two batters in the top of the seventh to seal the victory. Evansville’s Sarah Baldwin (1-3) took the loss after allowing three earned runs to emerge from three hits she allowed in the sixth inning.
Mizzou next hits the road for its first Southeastern Conference road trip, visiting Ole Miss for a three-game series from Friday, March 15 - Sunday, March 17 at the Ole Miss Softball Complex. Mizzou and the Rebels begin with a 6 p.m. contest on Friday before a 2 p.m. start on Saturday. The series will close with a 1 p.m. start on Sunday.
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 Drops Pitchers Duel to UT-Martin
MARTIN, Tenn. – Ole Miss allowed just three hits at UT-Martin on Wednesday afternoon, but could not bring any runs home and lost 1-0 to the Skyhawks at Bettye Giles Field.
Junior pitcher Carly Hummel threw a complete game against UT-Martin, allowing three hits while striking out six and walking two. Hummel (7-6) carried a perfect game through the opening 3.2 innings.
Brittany Broome, Lauren Lindsey, Natalie Nimmo and Melina Preciado each recorded one hit for the Rebels in what was a pitching duel throughout.
Ole Miss’ best scoring opportunities came in the fifth and seventh innings. The Rebels put base runners on the corners in the top of the fifth and had runners on first and second in the seventh, but could not bring anyone home.
It was the second matchup of the season between Ole Miss (18-12) and UT-Martin. The Rebels defeated the Skyhawks 9-8 in eight innings at the Red & Blue Classic on Feb. 23. Ole Miss came back from a five-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning in that game, thanks in part to a grand slam from junior first baseman Londen Ladner. After UT-Martin scored one run in the eighth inning, Ole Miss came back to win the game with two runs in the bottom of the eighth.
Despite the loss, the 2013 Rebels have tied the program’s third best start in program history through the opening 30 games. Ole Miss’ 18-12 start ties the start of the 2010 and 1999 teams. The best 30-game start to a season came in 2005 when the Rebels were 21-9.
UT-Martin scored the game’s lone run Wednesday in the bottom of the fourth. After reaching on a walk with two outs, Skyhawks center fielder Leah Taylor stole second base. UT-Martin third baseman Kenzi Tate then had a hard hit double deep to left field to break up Hummel’s no-hit bid and bring Taylor home.
Ole Miss will now begin a three-game series against Southeastern Conference newcomer Missouri on Friday. The Rebels and No. 8 Missouri Tigers will get together at 6 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. All times are Central.
For all Ole Miss softball news and information, go to OleMissSports.com, and follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissSoftball and on Facebook at Ole Miss Softball.
Auburn's Harper Improves to 10-2
Murfreesboro, Tenn. - Kelsey Bogaards drove in a pair of runs while Marcy Harper earned her 10th win of the season as the Auburn softball team defeated Middle Tennessee 6-2 Wednesday afternoon in a game that featured sustained winds of 18 mph with gusts up to 25 mph.
Auburn improved to 20-7 with the win. Middle Tennessee dropped to 1-20. The Tigers return home to host the Georgia Bulldogs in a weekend series beginning Friday at 6 p.m. CT.
"We got some big hits from the top and bottom half of our lineup today," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "I thought for the most part we handled the wind well, it was certainly playing havoc with the pop-ups and fly balls. I thought Marcy did a good job in the circle. Now we have to go back to work and get ready for a really good Georgia team this weekend."
Marcy Harper improved to 10-2 with the complete-game effort. Harper allowed two runs, both earned, on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Jordyn Fisherback started and took the loss to fall to 1-10. Fisherback allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts in seven innings of work. Shelby Stinnett allowed three runs, one earned, on three walks without recording an out in the sixth inning.
The Blue Raiders mounted the first scoring threat when Samantha Nieves opened the bottom half of the second with a double to center. After a sacrifice bunt moved Nieves to third, LaRi Mitchell put down a bunt that second baseman Brooke Lathan fielded and fired to Caitlin Schultze at home who put the tag on Nieves before she crossed the plate.
Middle Tennessee returned the favor in the top of the third as the Tigers put two on with one out. Baylee Stephens drew a one-out walk and took second on a single by Morgan Estell. After a strikeout, Branndi Melero singled to center and Stephens was waived home, but centerfielder Nina Dever fired a strike to catcher Laure Dukes who tagged Stephens for the third out.
The Tigers took advantage of a Middle Tennessee error to plate the first run of the day. Emily Carosone opened the fourth with a double to left. Caitlin Schultze put down a sacrifice bunt that third baseman Kristi Marquez fielded, but threw wildly to first. Carosone scored on the play while Schultze advanced to second.
Lathan followed Schultze with a single through the left side, moving Schultze to third. Lathan took second on the throw. MTSU picked up the first out when Caitlin Jordan hit a chopper to Nieves at shortstop. Nieves fired home in time to get Schultze at the plate.
Jade Rhodes was put in to run for Jordan and quickly stole second. Kelsey Bogaards then hit a ground ball to Nieves at short who fired home in time for the out on Lathan. On the play, Bogaards broke for second. Dukes fired to second base, allowing Rhodes to score to give Auburn a 2-0 lead. Bogaards was tagged out in a rundown, however, to end the inning.
Auburn added to its lead in the top of the fifth. Estell tripled to left with one out and came in to score on a sacrifice fly by Tiffany Howard, making it a 3-0 game.
Schultze led off the sixth with a walk and was lifted for pinch-runner Kristyn Richards. Lathan reached on a fielding error by Marquez at third, which also allowed Richards to advance to second. Stinnett was then put in for Fisherback. A walk to Jordan loaded the bases with no outs. The third walk of the inning, this time to Bogaards, forced Richards home for a 4-0 Auburn lead.
Fisherback re-entered the game for Stinnett following the walk to Bogaards and picked up the first out when she caught Stephens' soft line drive. Another walk, this time to Estell scored Lathan to give Auburn a 5-0 lead. The Tigers would plate another run when Jordan scored on a dropped fly ball by Nina Davenport in left, which would cap the scoring for the inning.
Middle Tennessee ended the shutout bid with a one-out, two-run home run from Nieves in the bottom of the sixth. It was Nieves' first home run of the season and it came after a double to right by Dukes.
Despite putting the leadoff batter on in the bottom of the seventh, Middle Tennessee was unable to mount a rally as Harper retired the next three MTSU hitters to end the game.
Georgia Dominates Georgia Tech
ATLANTA, Ga. – Christine Olney went 3-for-4 and drove in four runs as the No. 25 University of Georgia softball team handed the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets a 14-1 loss at a rowdy Mewborn Stadium in Atlanta, Ga. The win moves Georgia to 18-7 on the year, as Georgia Tech drops to 13-13. The meeting is the first of two between the teams this season, as the Yellow Jackets make the return trip to Athens on April 3. Each player in Georgia’s starting lineup recorded a hit. The win also marks the seventh time in eight games that Georgia has scored at least 10 runs. It is also the 11th time in 12 games that the Bulldogs have recorded at least 10 hits.
Geri Ann Glasco improved to 10-1 on the year, allowing just one run on five hits in six innings of work. Morgan Montemayor also saw time in the circle, recording the final three outs for the Bulldogs, including two by strikeout. Hope Rush suffered the loss to fall to 6-8 on the year. Rush allowed six runs on eight hits and three walks in six innings of work. Ashley Clifton also saw time for the Yellow Jackets, throwing one inning of relief and giving up eight runs on eight hits and two walks.
Georgia Tech took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. A pair of singles put runners at the corners for the Jackets before a RBI-groundout off the bat of Katie Johnsky drove in the first run of the game.
The Bulldogs answered in the top of the second to tie the game at 1-1. Tina Iosefa led off with a walk before Niaja Griffin came on to pinch run and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Tess Sito. With two away, Olney came through with a RBI-single to right field to score Griffin from second. The hit extended Olney’s hitting streak to eight games and tied the game at one.
A pitcher’s duel ensued over the next three-and-a-half innings before Kaylee Puailoa delivered a one-out double off the wall in right center. Sito was then hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second for Olney, who drove in the second and third runs of the game that gave the Bulldogs 3-1 lead, its first lead of the night.
The Bulldogs broke open the game in the top of the seventh, adding 11 runs to make it a 14-1 game. Anna Swafford and Paige Wilson led off the inning with a pair of singles to put runners at first and second for Glasco who singled to left center to score Swafford and put the Bulldogs up 4-1. Iosefa followed with Georgia’s third double of the game to score Wilson from third, giving Georgia a 5-1 lead. Sito then hit into a fielder’s choice to extend Georgia’s lead to 6-1, as Katie Sowers beat the throw from short. Olney recorded her third hit of the game with a RBI-infield single that resulted in a 7-1 Georgia lead. Browne then drove a pitch to left center that scored Sito and Puailoa and extended Georgia’s lead to 9-1. Swafford followed with a bases-loaded walk that made it a 10-1 game. Wilson drove in two more runs on a single up the middle that brought the score to 12-1. Georgia added the final two runs of the game, extending its lead to 14-1, when Swafford scored as Wilson was caught in a rundown at first before Iosefa belted her sixth home run in six days.
Georgia begins Southeastern Conference action this weekend when it travels to Auburn, Ala., to take on the Auburn Tigers for a three-game series that begins Friday, March 15 at 7 p.m. The teams will then play on Saturday, March 16 and Sunday, March 17. The final two games will begin at 1 p.m.
Czechner's One-Hitter Leads LSU Past Nicholls State
BATON ROUGE - Ashley Czechner tossed a one-hit shutout as the LSU softball team collected its 20th victory of the season, an 8-0 five-inning decision over Nicholls State Wednesday at Tiger Park.
LSU (20-5) scored all of its runs during an eight-run first inning. The Tigers were playing their first game at home since February 17 and won their 26th consecutive decision over Nicholls State (9-14) dating back to the 1997 season.
"What a relief to be home," head coach Beth Torina said. "We have the best fans in the country, and it was great to be back in front of them. It helps us play better, and we're happy to be back at home."
The Colonels had their best opportunity to score in the first inning. Ashley Bertot connected for an infield single to open the game, stole second base and advanced to third base as the ball deflected off the glove of shortstop Bianka Bell.
Two batters later, Ashton Bennett drew a walk to place runners on the corners. Czechner escaped the jam and registered one of her four strikeouts of the game.
LSU went to work right away during the home half of the frame. A.J. Andrews and Jacee Blades set the table with a single and a walk. After Allison Falcon grounded out into a fielder's choice, Bell was plunked to fill the bases.
Kellsi Kloss forced the game's first run with a walk, while Sandra Simmons followed with a two-run double into the left centerfield gap to extend LSU's lead to 3-0.
Tammy Wray and Dylan Supak connected back-to-back RBI singles to make it 5-0. The Tigers continued to put the pressure on as Guillory knocked another single to reload the bases. Two batters later, Blades belted a two-run double to left centerfield. Guillory scored courtesy of a wild pitch to complete the eight-run frame.
"All of our slappers are capable of swinging away," Torina said. "It is just about getting the right opportunity for them, and that was a good opportunity to show what Jacee is capable of doing. They did a really good job in the lineup, one through nine tonight."
"I was excited to swing away," Blades said. "I was able to do that because my team set up the situation for me. If the people weren't on base, I would have had to slap and play the smaller game. Since we were ahead, I was able to swing away. That helps my confidence definitely, and I feel better about that situation."
LSU improved to 12-0 when scoring a first-inning run. The Tigers also have outscored their opponents by a 36-4 margin during the first inning on the season.
That would be more than enough run support for Czechner, who went to retire 10 straight and not allow another Nicholls base runner until the fifth inning. She finished with four strikeouts against one walk and improved to 5-0 on the season.
Bennett was tagged with the loss for the Colonels allowing all eight runs on six hits in two-thirds of an inning. She dropped to 6-6 for the season.
"My primary focus was to throw a lot of strikes, not give up a lot of walks and to just throw my game," Czechner said. "Coming in the second inning with an eight run lead, I felt very comfortable. I was able to throw certain pitches that normally I wouldn't be able to throw. I was able to work them into my counts. The whole team definitely plays better when we have a big lead."
LSU plays host to No. 17 Kentucky for a three-game series at Tiger Park over the weekend. Game times are slated for Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at noon. All three games of the series will be broadcasted by the LSU Sports Radio Network on Country Legends 104.9 FM in Baton Rouge and can be accessed by Geaux Zone subscribers at www.LSUsports.net/live.
Saturday's game will be carried live by Cox Sports Television and Comcast Sports Southeast with Lyn Rollins and retired LSU softball coach Yvette Girouard set to call the action.Friday and Sunday's games will have live video available inside the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live.
Every game of LSU softball will have live stats available at LSUsports.net/livestats. Fans can also follow every pitch via live in-game updates at the program's social media outlets @lsusoftball on Twitter and www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball.
The Tiger Park Ticket Office will open 90 prior to the first pitch. Fans can purchase tickets on-site starting at $5 for adult general admission and $3 for youth ages 3-12.
A full weekend of promotions is on-tap for the Kentucky series. Friday's series opener will mark the program's annual "Gold Game" where all fans in attendance are encouraged to wear gold to support the Tigers.
On Saturday, LSU will celebrate Alumnae Day. The first 500 fans also can pick up a commemorative lapel pin honoring the Tigers run to the 2012 Women's College World Series.
As part of "Geaux Green Day" at the ballpark, the first 750 fans to Sunday's contest will take home color changing stadium cups for St. Patrick's Day.