Today In SEC Softball: March 16 > SEC > NEWS
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    Today In SEC Softball: March 16

    Softball RESULTS
    Tennessee 3, Florida 1
    Alabama 5, South Carolina 3
    Georgia 2, Auburn 0
    Missouri 6, Ole Miss 1
    Texas A&M 7, Arkansas 3
    LSU 4, Kentucky 3


    ELLEN RENFROE FANS 14; NO. 6/7 UT BEATS NO. 3/3 FLORIDA, 3-1 (8)
    GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Ellen Renfroe was electric in the circle, striking out a season-high 14 batters, and Cheyanne Tarango and Kat Dotson had key RBI hits in extra innings as No. 6/7 Tennessee took a 3-1, eight-inning win over No. 3/3 Florida on Saturday at Pressly Stadium. 
    Tennessee (23-5, 3-2 SEC) scored two runs in the eighth to even its season series against Florida (26-3, 3-2 SEC) at one game apiece. With two outs the game tied at 1-1, Tarango hit an RBI double to center to bring in the winning run. Dotson followed with an RBI double to left center to give Tennessee the two-run advantage. 
    Ellen Renfroe (8-1) fanned a season-high 14 batters. She was tenacious in the circle, limiting a loaded Florida lineup to three hits and allowing just one run. 
    Tarango was 3-for-4 on the day with the RBI double. Lauren Gibson was 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs. Dotson was 1-for-3 with the RBI double and one walk. Melissa Brown hit an RBI single in the first inning. 
    Lauren Haeger (7-1) took the loss for Florida after allowing six hits and three runs over 7.2 innings of work. Alyssa Bache threw one scoreless third of an inning. 
    The Lady Vols jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning thanks to some great two-out hitting. With two outs and Gibson on first, Tarango knocked a single up the middle on a full count. Dotson drew a walk on five pitches t load the bases and Brown delivered with an RBI single up the middle. 
    Ellen Renfroe rang up six of the first seven batters she faced on strikeouts to prevent UF from getting any early momentum. 
    The Gators got on the board in the fourth when Haeger led off the inning with a solo homer to right center on a 3-1 pitch. Renfroe bounced back with two strikeouts and a groundout to finish the inning strong. 
    Tennessee left one runner on in the fifth and Florida left the bases loaded in the seventh. 
    In the top of the eighth, Gibson hit a one-out bloop single to right center on the first pitch she saw. Two batters later, Tarango plated her with a hard-hit double to right center. Hammond pinch ran for Tarango and Dotson drove her in with an RBI double to left center. 


    Alabama Clinches Series with 5-3 win at South Carolina
    COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Alabama softball team clinched its first Southeastern Conference series of the season as the Crimson Tide downed the Gamecocks of South Carolina, 5-3, Saturday at the Carolina Softball Stadium. With the win, the Tide improves to 25-3 overall and 3-2 in SEC play.
    Despite only collecting four hits, Alabama was able to plate five runs, none bigger than the three in the sixth inning off the bat of junior Jackie Traina. Traina also added an insurance run in the seventh and came in to quiet the South Carolina (16-8, 0-2 SEC) bats with a two-inning save.
    Traina struck out two and did not allow a hit in her two innings of relief. Sophomore Leslie Jury (9-1) earned the victory after allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out two in five innings. 
    Two batters into the ballgame the Tide got on the scoreboard. After senior Kayla Braud started the game by reaching on an error and then stealing second, freshman Haylie McCleney ripped a double to center to give Alabama the early 1-0 lead. 
    After South Carolina took the lead on a two-run homer in the fifth, Alabama quickly responded with a three-run sixth. Traina provided the big blow for the Tide, hitting a three-run shot over the wall in left to give Alabama a 4-3 lead. Back-to-back walks to McCleney and junior Kaila Hunt started the frame, before Traina blasted her sixth home run of the season. 
    Traina came through with some insurance in the seventh inning to give herself a 5-3 cushion in the circle. The junior hit a sac-fly to left that plated Braud from third. 


    Georgia Hands Auburn a 2-0 Loss
    AUBURN, Ala. – Kaylee Puailoa went 3-for-3 with a pair of home runs as the No. 25 University of Georgia softball handed the Auburn Tigers a 2-0 loss on Saturday, March 16 in front of a sun-drenched crowd at Jane B. Moore Field in Auburn, Ala. The win gives Georgia its 20th win of the season to improve it to 20-7 and 2-0 in Southeastern Conference action. Auburn drops to 20-9 on the season and 1-4 in the SEC.
    Morgan Montemayor pitched a gem, allowing just four hits in the complete game shutout. She also struck out six. Marcy Harper suffered the loss to fall to 10-3 on the year, giving up two runs on six hits and one walk. She also struck out seven.
    Auburn got a pair of base runners in the bottom of the first, but a strikeout and a pop out ended the scoring threat.
    After four scoreless innings and a combined four hits, the Bulldogs scored the first run of the game in the top of the fifth. Puailoa led off the inning with towering home run to straight away center field to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead. Tess Sito followed with a triple off the wall in right center, but was thrown out at home as Christine Olney hit into a double play.
    Auburn got a pair of base runners in the top of the sixth on a single to right, but Montemayor settled in to get the final batter to fly out to Olney in left.
    Georgia added an insurance run and increased its lead to 2-0 in the top of the seventh when Puailoa lifted the ball over the centerfield wall for the second time. The hit was the third hit of the game for Puailoa. Olney followed with a double off the top of the wall in right center before Katie Browne was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second with one away. The Bulldogs were unable to tack on another run, as the final two outs were recorded.


    OXFORD, Miss. – No. 8 Mizzou used a powerful fifth inning to surge past Ole Miss, 6-1, at the Ole Miss Softball Complex on Saturday, scoring four runs in the frame off three doubles. The afternoon contest was highlighted by two-hit outings for freshman 2B Emily Crane (Troy, Mo.), senior catcher Jenna Marston (St. Louis, Mo.) and sophomore 1B Kelsea Roth (Yorba Linda, Calif.).
    The Tigers improved to 14-2 overall and 3-1 in Southeastern Conference action with the victory. The Rebels fell to 18-14 (1-4 SEC) with the loss.
    Two-time All-American pitcher Chelsea Thomas (Pleastantville, Iowa) worked 6.0 innings for the win (6-1), allowing one run, striking out four Rebels and scattering five hits. Fellow senior Nicole Hudson (Webb City, Mo.) finished the game with 1.0 inning of pitching, including a strikeout.
    A pair of doubles initially put Mizzou on the board in the third inning, with the first coming from Marston out to left field. Hudson found her pitch and sent it to the same location for her own double, scoring Marston to tie the game at 1-1.
    In fifth inning action, sophomore SS Corrin Genovese (East Amherst, N.Y.) started off Mizzou with a one-out single through the left side. Crane recorded her second double of the game bring in Genovese and set the score at 2-1. The freshman led off the contest with a double but was stranded in the first inning.
    Marston followed Crane’s double with her second two-base hit, bringing around Crane for a 3-1 Tiger lead. Hudson then grounded out to second base to advance Marston over to third base. After sophomore 3B Angela Randazzo (Poway, Calif.) reached first base on a walk, a double steal brought home Marston when the Ole Miss throw went after the safely sliding Randazzo. Roth added the last run of the inning with her double, scoring Randazzo for a 5-1 Mizzou advantage.
    Senior Rachel Hay (Kansas City, Mo.) helped sophomore CF Kayla Kingsley (Oklahoma City, Okla.) score from third base to put Mizzou up 6-1 in the sixth inning. The high-chopping groundout from Hay allowed Kingsley to scamper home.
    Ole Miss edged out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning thanks to a leadoff double from Rebel center fielder RT Cantillo. Ole Miss sacrificed and singled Cantillo around to score, taking its slim advantage into the third inning.


    Ainsley Gets First SEC Win as Aggies Beat Arkansas, 7-3

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas – A five-run first inning lifted the fifth-ranked Texas A&M softball team to a 7-3 victory over Arkansas, Saturday in front of 1,338 fans at the Aggie Softball Complex in the second game of the three-game Southeastern Conference series between the two teams. 

    The Aggies (25-2, 3-1 SEC) took game one from the Razorbacks (19-9, 0-2 SEC) scoring the 2-1 walk-off run on an error by Arkansas. A&M is guaranteed the series win over Arkansas and will go for the series sweep in the final game, tomorrow at noon CDT.

    After struggling to score runs in game one, the Aggies didn’t wait to put numbers on the board in game two, plating five runs in the top of the first. Two-out, RBI doubles were the poison of choice in the half-inning as senior Mel Dumezich, freshman Cali Lanphear and junior Jenna Stark used back-to-back-to-back hits to send one runner home each. With a 3-0 lead and two outs, junior Amber Garza hammered a pitch over the wall in left-centerfield, pushing Stark home with the long ball as A&M took a 5-0 first-inning lead. Garza was 2-for-3 on the day with a home run and a triple. 

    Arkansas narrowed the score to 5-2 in the top of the third, using a base hit and a home run over centerfield to plate two runs.

    The Aggies stretched back to a five-run lead in the bottom of the fourth when a two-out Meagan May single lined to centerfield sent runners home from second and third. Junior Taran Tyler got on base first with a one-out single hit just over the head of the third baseman. 

    A throwing error by Arkansas pitcher Kimmy Beasley allowed sophomore Brittany Clopton to get on base and sent Tyler to third. Clopton stole second to put the pair in scoring position as May stepped up to the plate. Both runs were unearned. 

    Arkansas stranded three runners in the fifth and sixth innings combined in an attempt to rally. In the top of the seventh, Razorback centerfielder Stephanie Canfield doubled to right-center field and plated a run on the play. The run wasn’t enough, however, and A&M took the 7-3 victory to guarantee a series win.

    A&M hurler Lauren Ainsley (8-1) earned the first SEC win of her career, throwing seven complete innings and allowing three earned runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out seven. Arkansas starter Hope McLemore (3-2) pitched just 0.2 innings, giving up four earned runs on three hits and a walk for the loss. 


    No. 13 Softball Wins Walk-off Style over No. 17 Kentucky, 4-3
    BATON ROUGE – A.J. Andrews and Jacee Blades provided consecutive infield singles to vault the No. 13 LSU softball team to a dramatic 4-3 comeback victory in nine innings over No. 17 Kentucky  Saturday as a season’s best 1,489 fans gathered at Tiger Park.
    With the victory, LSU (22-5, 4-1 SEC) has won eight of its last 10 outings to remain in sole possession of first place in the SEC Western Division standings. The Wildcats (19-6, 2-3 SEC) lost back-to-back games for the first time since opening weekend. 
    Trailing 3-2 after UK’s Ansley Smith knocked her first career home run onto the left field berm with one out during the top of the ninth inning, the Tigers started their rally on a Tammy Wray single to left field. 
    Pinch runner Alex Boulet was inserted into the game. She moved to second base on a Rikki Alcaraz sacrifice bunt and scooted over to third on a wild pitch. Simone Heyward followed with a five-pitch walk and stole second base.
    That set the stage for A.J. Andrews, who returned to the game two innings earlier from injury. She dropped down a squeeze bunt on a 1-0 offering to plate Boulet for the equalizer to make the score 3-3. Three pitches later, Jacee Blades chopped an infield single to the right side which allowed Heyward to cross the plate and give LSU its second walkoff win of the season. 
    “I just can’t say enough about Alex Boulet,” head coach Beth Torina said. “She is someone who has such a special gift to change a ball game every time she is on-base. I think a lot of the credit goes to her for making things happen. Then, for our slappers (A.J. Andrews, Jacee Blades and Simone Heyward) who have been the unsung heroes to be the ones in the limelight today is fitting because they have done so much for this team all season long. I think those guys were really the heroes of the day.”
    “Before I batted, Coach (Beth Torina) told me we have two of the fastest people on the team on,” Blades said. “She said if you’re safe then they (A.J. Andrews and Simone Heyward) are going to be safe. I knew that I just needed to use the ground and not overpower anything. We had only one out, and I tried to put it on the right side of the field because I knew Simone would score.” 
    “I love to play so unless I have something hanging off my body I am going to do everything I can to possibly play and play for my team,” Andrews said. “I think we just came together in the clutch. I think we are a very good team when we work together. We definitely work together when we are under pressure. Pressure isn’t something that folds us. I think it makes us excited to hit the ball.”
    LSU manufactured a run to take 1-0 edge in the third inning. Alcaraz, who registered a 2-for-2 effort, knocked an infield single to deep shortstop to start the frame. She stole second base and scooted over to third base on a Heyward ground out to the right side. Three batters later, Alcaraz raced home for the game’s first run on Allison Falcon’s sacrifice fly and team-leading 19th RBI of the season. 
    The Tigers tacked on another run during the fourth inning. Kellsi Kloss belted a leadoff double off the left field wall. She would score on an Alcaraz triple to left field to extend the LSU advantage to 2-0.  
    LSU starter Meghan Patterson found her rhythm and retired 11 straight Wildcats after she stranded a pair of base runners over the first two innings. 
    However, Kentucky would use a two-out rally of their own in the sixth inning. Maisie Steed collected a four-pitch free pass before Christian Stokes cranked a two-run homer to left centerfield with two outs to knot the score at 2-2. 
    The Wildcats continued to put the pressure on LSU as Lauren Cumbess followed with a double which chased Patterson from the game. The Tigers turned to Rachele Fico out of the bullpen, who got a fly ball out to keep the ledger at 2-2.
    “Meghan did a really good job today,” Torina said. “She missed one pitch, and it cost her significantly. Hopefully, she will grow from this. The more she gets out there, the more she will understand the mistakes she can and can’t make. Hopefully in the near future, she will be able to finish them out and will be carrying us through Saturday.”
    Both teams stranded multiple runners on-base during the seventh inning before the Smith dinger with one out in the ninth inning gave UK a 3-2 lead.  
    Patterson earned a no-decision and tallied five strikeouts versus one walk over her 5.2 innings of work. She allowed two runs on three hits. In relief, Fico notched her fourth SEC victory and improved to 14-3 on the season after she tossed 3.1 frames and added two strikeouts.
    Cumbess went the distance for the Wildcats and gave up four runs, three earned, on seven hits. She picked up five strikeouts against four walks and her record evened up at 3-3 for the season. 
    “Kentucky is going to come at us tomorrow with their best,” Torina said. “I am sure they are going to have some changes and do some things differently. We just have to continue to pound away at them with our offensive plan. We just have to keep fighting through it because it is not going to be an easy ball game tomorrow.”