COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 5 Texas A&M softball team completed a series sweep of Arkansas as the Aggies run-ruled the Razorbacks, 9-1 in five innings, Sunday in the series finale between the teams. The Aggies improve to 26-2 (4-1 SEC) on the season, while Arkansas moves to 19-10 (0-3 SEC).
A&M took the series sweep after a 2-1 walk-off win on Friday and a 7-3 victory Saturday, handing the Razorbacks three losses in their first conference weekend.
Morgan started the scoring frenzy for A&M with a two-out bomb over left field in the bottom of the first to tie the game at 1-1. Freshman Cali Lanphear followed suit in the same frame, clearing the fence down the left-field line and plating senior Mel Dumezich, who reached on a walk, on the two-run home run.
Arkansas’ Chelsea Cohen (9-4) suffered the loss after allowing seven earned runs on six hits and a walk through 1.2 innings in the circle.
Softball Holds Off South Carolina for Series Sweep
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Alabama softball team held off a late South Carolina rally to earn a 7-6 victory to earn the series sweep, Sunday afternoon at the new Carolina Softball Stadium. With the victory, the Tide improves to 26-3 overall and 4-2 in Southeastern Conference play.
It took four innings for the Tide bats to get going, scoring all seven runs in a two-inning span, with four in the fourth and three in the fifth. Alabama banged out 12 hits, led by senior Kayla Braud, who batted 3-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored. Sophomore Jadyn Spencer batted 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Junior Jackie Traina (12-2) earned the win, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out three in 5 1/3 innings. Traina also added a solo home run, her second in as many games.
Once again the Tide had to fight its way back into the ballgame. After facing a 2-0 deficit entering the fourth inning, Alabama plated four runs, all with two outs to seize a 4-2 lead.
Braud got the Tide on the board with a two-run single to center that scored Spencer and sophomore Danae Hays. Both started the inning with singles and moved into scoring position on a walk to freshman Leona Lafaele.
The Tide then took the lead when a slow grounder off the bat of freshman Haylie McCleney was thrown away, that enabled Lafaele and Braud to score.
Traina helped her own cause by leading off the fifth inning with a solo shot. The blast, that nearly hit the lights in left-center, gave the Tide a 5-2 lead. The home run was her seventh of the season. UA added two more, to make it 7-2, when sophomore Chaunsey Bell plated Spencer on a single to left and a hard single from Braud scored Bell to cap the Tide runs.
Georgia Gets SEC Sweep with 9-8 Win Over Auburn
AUBURN, Ala. – Freshman Tina Iosefa tied the Georgia freshman home run record with her ninth round-tripper of the season as the No. 25 University of Georgia softball team earned a come-from-behind 9-8 win over the Auburn Tigers on Sunday, March 17 at Moore Field in Auburn, Ala. With the win, the Bulldogs get the sweep of the Tigers, extend its winning streak to 11 games and move to 21-7 on the year and 3-0 in Southeastern Conference action. Auburn drops to 20-10 on the year and 1-5 in league action. Iosefa tied Kristyn Sandberg’s freshman home run record that was set in 2009.
Geri Ann Glasco earned the win to improve to 12-1 on the season. She allowed four runs on five hits and three walks while picking up six strikeouts in six innings in the circle. Morgan Montemayor also saw time in the circle for Georgia, allowing four runs on four hits. Marcy Harper suffered the loss to fall to 10-4 on the season. She allowed five runs on seven hits in 3.2 innings of work. Lexi Davis threw 3.1 innings for the Tigers, giving up four runs on five hits.
Trailing 3-2 for much of the game, the Bulldogs put up five runs with two outs in the top of the fifth to take a 7-3 lead. With two away, Iosefa belted a three-run home run over the left field wall that scored Samantha LaZear and Anna Swafford and gave Georgia a 5-3 advantage, its first lead since the first. Kaylee Puailoa then took the first pitch she saw over the centerfield wall for the second-straight home run that made it a 6-3 game. Tess Sito then hit the third consecutive home run with a line drive over the right field wall that extended Georgia’s lead to 7-3. The trio of home runs marked the second time this season that the Bulldogs have gone deep in three-straight at bats.
Auburn got three runs back in the bottom of the fifth that made it a one-run game at 7-6. Emily Carosone led off the inning with a single and came home on a double by Caitlin Schultze. Brooke Lathan then delivered a single that drove in Schultze and made it a 7-5 game. The final run was plated when Lathan took advantage of a fielding error.
The Bulldogs answered with two runs in the sixth to extend its lead to 9-6. Swafford reached on a one-out single, stole second and scored on a RBI-single off the bat of Paige Wilson. With a runner in scoring position after Wilson stole second, Glasco delivered a RBI-single to center that sent home Wilson for Georgia’s ninth run of the game. Auburn made it a 9-7 game on a solo home run off the bat of Branndi Melero in the bottom of the frame. The Tigers looked to add another run but a pair of spectacular defensive plays by Wilson at short and Swafford and left ended any threat of another Auburn run.
Auburn wouldn’t go quietly, leading off the bottom of the seventh with a double and a RBI-single by Caitlin Jordan that made it a 9-8 game with a runner at first and no outs. Glasco induced a ground out and struck the final two batters out to seal Georgia’s sweep of the Tigers, the first sweep at Auburn since 2009.
Swafford got things started for the Bulldogs in the first, taking a 2-2 over the right field wall for a home run that put Georgia up 1-0. The home run marked the third time this season that Swafford has led off the game with a home run. Katie Sowers, who pinch ran for Glasco who reached on a walk, came in to score on a sacrifice fly by Sito that made it a 2-0 game.
Auburn took a 3-2 lead in the home half of the first inning and held on to it until Georgia’s five-run fifth. Caitlin Schultze drove in Morgan Estell, who reached on an error, with a RBI-double to right field that made cut Georgia’s lead to 2-1. The second and third runs of the inning came on a two-run single by Baylee Stephens, putting the Tigers up 3-2. A spectacular play at the plate by Katie Browne prevented a fourth run from scoring and ended the inning.
NO. 8 MIZZOU COMPLETES OLE MISS SERIES SWEEP WITH 12-0 WIN
OXFORD, Miss. – No. 8 Mizzou finished a series sweep of Ole Miss with a five-inning, 12-0 win on Sunday at the Ole Miss Softball Complex, using a combined no-hitter from two-time All-American pitcher Chelsea Thomas (Pleastantville, Iowa) and fellow senior Lindsey Muller (Stilwell, Kan.) to shutout the Rebels. The Tigers were led offensively by sophomore 1B Kelsea Roth (Yorba Linda, Calif.), who blasted her eighth home run of the season, as well as a 2-for-2 performance from freshman 2B Emily Crane (Troy, Mo.).
The Tigers’ win improved their record to 15-2 overall and 4-1 in Southeastern Conference action. The Rebels dropped to 18-15 (1-5 SEC) with the loss.
Thomas pitched 3.0 innings for the win (7-1), allowing zero hits and striking out four Rebels. Muller followed with 2.0 innings of work, also allowing zero hits and recording three strikeouts.
Mizzou started with three-straight, four-run innings. The game began with the second-straight leadoff double from Crane. A fielding error on a sharply hit grounder by sophomore 3B Angela Randazzo (Poway, Calif.) scored both Crane and senior LF Nicole Hudson (Webb City, Mo.), who reached base on a fielder’s choice, giving Mizzou a 2-0 lead. Roth’s home run to center field brought in Randazzo to set the Tigers’ advantage at 4-0.
In second inning action, sophomore RF Kelsi Jones (Carmel, Ind.), sophomore SS Corrin Genovese (East Amherst, N.Y.) and Crane hit singles to load the bases with zero outs. A sacrifice fly from senior CF Jenna Marston (St. Louis, Mo.) and a bouncer hit to second base by Hudson for a fielder’s choice scored Jones and Genovese to put Mizzou up 6-0. Randazzo followed with a double to right center to score Crane. The Tigers’ notched their fourth run of the inning with a sacrifice fly from Muller that brought in Hudson for an 8-0 lead.
Mizzou kept the bats going into the third inning with hits from senior IF Princess Krebs (Lithonia, Ga.) and pinch-hitting redshirt freshman Alyssa Cousins (Carrollton, Texas), along with walks earned by Jones, Crane and Hudson. The Tigers finished their third turn at the plate with their final advantage of 12-0 in place.
In the fifth inning, Marston earned the 116th walk of her career to move into sole possession of No. 1 all-time in walks at Mizzou. The base on balls, the seventh of her 2013 campaign, broke her tie with former Mizzou standout Jen Bruck (2005-08). Hudson narrowly trails Marston and Bruck in third all-time with 114 career walks.
Two Lauren Haeger Bombs Lead No. 3 UF Softball to Series Win Over No. 6 Tennessee, 5-3, in Eight
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Two sophomore Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) blasts accounted for Florida softball’s five runs in Sunday’s eight-inning, 5-3 victory over the No. 6/7 Tennessee Lady Vols at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The Gators (27-3, 4-2 SEC) celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with their fifth consecutive three-game series win over UT (23-6, 3-3 SEC), green stirrups, headbands and bows, while the first 500 of UF’s 1,107 fans at the series finale received free green freezer mugs.
All three games between Florida and Tennessee were decided in eight innings this weekend, making four straight eight-inning contests between the Gators and Vols dating back to the 2012 SEC Tournament. Florida topped Tennessee, 6-5, Friday, while the Vols evened the series Saturday with a 3-1 victory
Haeger used a three-run blast in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game 3-3, and connected in the bottom of the eighth with a two-run bomb to walk UF off for the third time this season, the Gators’ second walk-off of the series.
Trailing the Lady Vols 3-0 in the sixth, UF dug deep for its 11th come-from-behind victory of the season as the Orange and Blue improved to 3-2 in extra-innings this year and 6-2 against top-25 opponents.
Haeger came on in relief for junior starting hurler Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) in the seventh and went on to earn the win for Florida Sunday after her own homer in the eighth to improve to 8-1 overall in the circle. Haeger tagged both Lady Vol pitching sisters Ellen and Ivy Renfroe with homers, hitting her sixth-inning dinger off starter E. Renfroe, while connecting against I. Renfroe in the bottom of the eighth for the game winner.
I. Renfroe shouldered the loss in the circle for the Lady Vols, dropping to 9-3 on the season after coming on in relief with the game tied at 3-3 after Haeger’s homer in the sixth.
Rogers worked the first 6.2 innings in the circle for UF, fanning five UT batters and giving up seven hits and just two earned runs with four walks scattered in between. Haeger walked one in 1.1 innings of hitless, scoreless relief for the victory.
The dual threat Haeger batted .300 throughout the span of the weekend series against Tennessee (3-for-10), leading UF with three homers and six RBI. Freshman first baseman Taylor Schwarz (Palm Beach, Fla.) led the Gator squad with a .375 clip (3-for-8), while classmate Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) wasn’t far behind with a .364 average (4-for-11).
Tennessee scattered one run each in the second, third and sixth innings, one a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch in the top of the second. A Lauren Gibson solo home run in the top of the third gave Tennessee a 2-0 lead and Gibson struck again with a RBI single in the top of the sixth to extend the Lady Vols’ lead to 3-0 entering the home half of the sixth.
Florida capitalized with the top of the lineup due up, Stewart leading off with a base hit to left field before two-hole hitter freshman Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.) drew a walk for runners on first and second, no outs. Haeger stepped in and blasted a 1-2 E. Renfroe offering out of the park to knot the game, 3-3.
The Vols put together a mini rally in the top of the seventh with runners on first and second, one out, but Rogers forced a Melissa Brown foul out before Haeger came on for the third out in the seventh, a Lexi Overstreet groundout to third.
Florida went three up, three down in the seventh to send the game into extras, and Haeger went to work on defense in the top of the eighth in the circle, held Tennessee scoreless and stranded two Lady Vol runners on base.
In great position with the top of the order set to lead things off in the eighth for Florida, Stewart connected for her second leadoff hit of the day (2-for-4), a bloop single to shallow left field, before Haeger stepped in with the game still tied 3-3 and one down following a strikeout, to rock her team-leading 10th long ball to left center for the 5-3 victory.
Haeger finished the afternoon 2-for-2 with five RBI and two walks.
No. 13 LSU Rallies in Sixth Inning to Defeat No. 17 UK 3-2
BATON ROUGE, La. – For the second straight day, the No. 13 LSU softball team rallied during its last at-bat and posted a 3-2 comeback victory to earn a series sweep over No. 17 Kentucky in-front of 1,382 fans Sunday at Tiger Park.
In the process, LSU (23-5, 5-1 SEC) won its fifth straight game and has won nine of its last 11 outings to retain sole possession of first place in the SEC Western Division standings. The Wildcats (19-7, 2-4 SEC) were handed their first three-game losing streak of the season.
“We owed them something after getting swept there last year,” head coach Beth Torina said. “It was exciting. I thought the team showed a lot of heart and a lot of guts to be able to come back. I thought the same kids stepped up again today from yesterday. The slappers (A.J. Andrews, Jacee Blades and Simone Heyward) and speed kids did their job. Rikki Alcaraz had another really good day. It was another great game that we had to fight back at the end to get.”
Down 2-0 heading into the home-half of the sixth inning, Bianka Bell sparked the Tigers with a leadoff double into the right centerfield gap. Rikki Alcaraz followed with a RBI single through the right side to draw LSU within a run at 2-1.
Sandra Simmons coaxed a five-pitch walk, while Simone Heyward was hit-by-a-pitch to load the bases. On the first pitch of the sequence, A.J. Andrews deposited the go-ahead, two-run single to shallow right field to vault the Tigers ahead by a 3-2 margin.
“Bianka is our spark. If she goes, we go. Whether she is swinging the bat well or not is really insignificant to what she does for this team emotionally. I thought A.J. really gutted it out again today. She isn’t feeling 100 percent but was able to gut out the entire game for us. She did some really good things and played well today.”
“It is definitely a big thing to rally,” Andrews said. “We are a team that never gives up. Every time we get up to bat, we never think the game is over whether we are winning or down one or down six.”
Ashley Czechner, making her first career SEC start, worked around a two-out error during the seventh inning to secure the 3-2 triumph. She improved to 6-0 on the season and surrendered two runs on two hits. The junior right-hander also collected two strikeouts versus one walk.
“In general, I think the last inning is always the toughest,” Czechner said “We got those two quick outs. That was really important. After Bianka (Bell) made that throwing error, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Nothing was hurt. I just knew we had to get the next one.”
“Ashley did a really good job,” Torina said. “She got better as the game went on. I was really impressed with her. She kept them off balance and was tough on them today.”
UK’s Kelsey Nunley was tagged with the loss and fell to 12-3 for the season. She was touched up for three runs on six hits and tallied three strikeouts against three walks.
The Wildcats were opportunistic and scored their two runs in the second inning. Ansley Smith battled back from a 0-2 hole and worked her way to an 11-pitch walk. She slide into second base safely and beat the throw by LSU third baseman Tammy Wray on Krystal Smith’s bunt.
Three batters later after the runners moved into scoring position, Maisie Steed chopped a single deep in the hole at second base. She hustled down the line and beat Allison Falcon’s throw to the first base bag. Krystal Smith sprinted home from second base and followed Ansley Smith scoring on the play to give Kentucky a 2-0 edge.
The Tigers were unable to cash in after loading the bases with no outs during the third inning. Andrews smacked a single to centerfield, Blades added a walk and Falcon was plunked. However, Bell ripped a hard ground ball to UK third baseman Krystal Smith, who turned the 5-2-3 double play. Alcaraz also grounded out to end the threat.