OXFORD, Miss. – Due to rain in Oxford, Miss., the second game of the three-game series between the No. 3 Gator softball squad and the Ole Miss Rebels has been pushed back to 8 p.m. (ET) Saturday evening. The series finale is still scheduled for the original 2 p.m. (ET) first pitch Sunday. Any changes or updates to the schedule will be reflected on the Gator softball schedule page on GatorZone.com.
Florida opened the series at Ole Miss Friday with a 4-1 victory as junior Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) and sophomore Jessica Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.) each drove in two runs, while freshman Taylore Fuller (Trenton, Fla.) was 2-for-3 at the plate for the Gators.
Florida (33-3, 8-2) made it eight straight wins over the Rebels (19-19, 1-9 SEC) with its 37th all-time victory over Ole Miss, 16th in Oxford, to open the three-game conference set.
Junior ace Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) led the way in the circle for the Orange and Blue with her 13th complete game of the season. Rogers fanned five, gave up one run and two hits to improve to 19-2 overall on the year. Carly Hummel (8-11) shouldered the loss for the Rebels after giving up UF’s seven hits and four earned runs while also going the distance. Hummel finished the evening with six Ks and dished out one free pass.
Mississippi State Rallies to Down Auburn
Starkville, Miss. - After losing game two in a seventh-inning rally by Auburn, the Mississippi State Bulldogs returned the favor by rallying for three runs to claim a 4-3 victory in the series finale over the Tigers' softball team Saturday afternoon.
Auburn dropped to 23-14 overall and 4-8 in the Southeastern Conference. Mississippi State improved to 21-12 overall and 2-7 in the SEC.
"This was a disappointing loss," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "We looked like we were going to close it out, but they got the big home run and took momentum. We've got to regroup and learn from this and moved forward."
Marcy Harper took the loss to fall to 12-6. Harper allowed four runs, all earned, on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts in a complete-game effort.
Allison Owen earned the win to improve to 11-5. Owen went the distance, allowing three runs, one earned, on four hits with no walks and nine strikeouts.
Auburn took advantage of a Mississippi State error to get on the scoreboard in the top of the second inning. Baylee Stephens was hit by a pitch with one out. After a strikeout, Tiffany Howard put down a bunt single that was fielded by catcher Sam Lenahan. Howard reached safely, but as she was pumping to fake a throw to second base the ball slipped out of Lenahan's hand and sailed into right field.
Stephens scored easily on the play while Howard advanced to third. Morgan Estell followed with a single to center, scoring Howard to give the Tigers a 2-0 edge.
The Bulldogs threatened in the bottom of the third when Loryn Nichols led off with a single and then stole second to move into scoring position with no outs. Harper, however, battled to retire the next three batters on two infield pop-ups and one strikeout to leave the runner stranded.
Mississippi State put the leadoff batter on in the bottom of the fifth when Swayze Hollenhead was hit by a pitch. Kayla Winkfield was put in to run for Hollenhead. Harper picked up the first out when Julia Echols attempted to bunt and fouled out to Caitlin Schultze behind the plate. Winkfield moved into scoring position when she stole second base without a throw. Harper then got Nichols swinging on strike three for the second out.
Harper followed the strikeout with a four-pitch walk to Lenahan which put runners at second and first. After falling behind in the count 3-1 to Jessica Cooley, Harper battle back to 3-2. Cooley fouled three consecutive pitches before hitting a fly ball to shallow center that was caught by Howard to end the inning.
After scoring twice in the second inning, the Tigers were kept in check by Owen as she retired 11 consecutive hitters. Branndi Melero broke up the string with a one-out double up the middle in the top of the sixth. Caitlin Jordan followed with a line drive single through the left side which plated Melero to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead. That would be all the Tigers would get, however, as pinch-runner Kristyn Richards was thrown out attempting to steal and Schultze was punched out on strike three.
The Bulldogs cut into the deficit in the bottom of the sixth. Briana Bell laced a one-out double to the wall in left to start the rally. After a wild pitch moved Bell to third, Heidi Shape hit a bloop single into shallow right to bring her home and make it a 3-1 game.
Jessica Offutt was put in to run for Shape and stole second on the very next pitch. Harper picked up the second out when Erin Nesbit fouled out down the right field line. Offutt took third on the play, but would not advance as Harper ended the inning on a fly out to Stephens in left.
Mississippi State rallied In the bottom of the seventh. Echols led off with an infield single up the middle which brought the tying run to the plate. Harper retired the next batter, Nichols, on a short pop-up to Maris Medina at third base. On the first pitch of the at-bat, Lenahan tied the game with a two-run home run. It was Lenahan's eighth homer of the season and it cleared the wall in right field.
The Tigers dodged a bullet on the next batter when Cooley attempted to stretch a single to right into a double. Cooley was easily thrown out by Melero for the second out of the inning. Foulks, who homered twice Friday, came to the plate and worked the count full before taking ball four to represent the winning run at first base. Ashley Phillips was then put in to run for Foulks at first. Bell then ended the game when her high fly ball to center dropped in front of a diving Howard and rolled, which allowed Phillips to score the game winning run.
Arkansas finishes series sweep of No. 22 Georgia
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Devon Wallace’s walk-off grand slam gave The University of Arkansas softball team a 5-2 win in game one and Arkansas defeated the No. 22 Georgia Bulldogs, 8-1, in game two on Saturday at Bogle Park.
This is first time the Arkansas softball team has swept a ranked team since March, 2000. The Razorbacks swept the No. 19 South Carolina Gamecocks in two games, 13 years ago. Head coach Mike Larabee was proud of his team for accomplishing the feat.
“This feels awesome,” Larabee said. “We had a great crowd and I am proud of our entire team. The entire team got on board and had a great, athletic, attitude.
Devon Wallace was the star of the Saturday doubleheader as she went 2-for-five with two homeruns and five RBI in the two games. The sophomore also walked three times and scored two runs. She ended game one with a walk-off grand slam and then began game two with a solo-shot. This was all after going 3-for-3 in yesterday’s game.
“Devon was amazing again,” Larabee said. “She is an elite hitter. I love the way she came back this week and worked hard. She was at the indoor facility on her own all week. She worked some things out and had a phenomenal weekend.”
Not to be outdone was senior pitcher, Chelsea Cohen. She started both games on Saturday and allowed three runs on eight hits in her nine innings pitched. Cohen notched two wins against Georgia on the weekend. The Bulldogs came into the series ranked first in the SEC in hitting. Also pitching well was her classmate, Hope McLemore. She went five scoreless innings and only gave up two hits, while striking out five. This was McLemore’s fourth win of the season.
“Chelsea and Hope were excellent,” Larabee said. “They were phenomenal this weekend. Our defense was also great, we had two errors in three games. I thought we played a high level of defense.”
Game one of the doubleheader began with Cohen picking up where she left off against the No. 1 hitting team in the SEC. She retired the first six batters she faced in the game, striking out one.
However, the Razorback lineup was also sent down, in order, in their first two innings. Georgia pitcher Morgan Montemayor also notched one strikeout in the first two frames.
Niaja Griffin registered the first hit of the game, as she stumbled a ball past Sierra Bronkey at second. Griffin then stole second and scored when Paige Wilson shot a double down the rightfield line. Two batters later Wilson scored when Clarisa Navarro lost the ball in the sun. The unearned run gave Georgia a 2-0 lead after the top of the third.
Bronkey answered in the bottom of the inning and led off the frame with a double down the rightfield line. Amanda Summerford then pinch ran and was bunted over to third, beautifully, by Jayme Gee. Claire Clark then walked and then Devon Wallace was intentionally walked to load the bases for Stephanie Canfield. She grounded into a fielder’s choice, but Summerford was thrown out at home. Navarro worked a six-pitch at bat and grounded a ball to third, Anna Swafford misplayed it and Arkansas garnered an unearned run of its own. The score stood at 2-1, Georgia, after three.
Cohen worked a scoreless fourth inning and was helped out by some incredible defense. Bronkey made a nice backhanded stop in the hole and threw out Katie Browne for out number one. Cohen then struck out Christine Olney and Gee made a diving catch in foul territory to retire the side.
Ashely Martindale and Bronkey notched back-to-back, two-out, singles in the bottom of the fourth. However, the Hogs were unable to plate the runners and the score stood at 2-1.
Swafford started the top of the fifth with a single. She came around to score two batters later when Wilson singled up the middle with one out. Wilson’s second hit of the game gave Georgia a 3-1 lead. Canfield then sprinted down a ball in foul territory for out number two. Cohen worked out of the jam when she got Tina Iosefa to pop out to the shortstop, Navarro.
Cohen retired the next four batters that she faced in the game before Swafford lined a single to centerfield. Two pitches later Gee caught her stealing for out number two. Cohen then worked a 1-2 count on Griffin and got her to fly out and end the top of the seventh.
Arkansas tried to rally as Bronkey led off the bottom of the seventh and reached on an error. This was the third time that she had reached base in the game. Gee then fought off an 0-2 pitch and lined a single into centerfield. Clark followed the single with a single of her own and that loaded the bases for Wallace. The 2012 SEC freshman of the year took worked a 2-2 count. She then smashed a walk-off grandslam into the rightfield grass. Wallace’s first grand slam of her career gave Arkansas a 5-2 win.
Game two also featured Cohen in the circle and she came out to an ovation from the crowd. She struck out Swafford to start game two. After a single from Wilson, Geri Ann Glasco grounded into a double play to end the top of the first.
Wallace started the bottom half of the first by hitting a solo-homerun into the same rightfield grass. Her 12th long ball of the season gave Arkansas a 1-0 lead. Wallace had now homered in three straight games. Two batters later, Navarro walked and then stole second base. She reached third on an Amanda Geile single and then scored when Chloe Oprzedek grounded into a fielder’s choice. This gave the Razorbacks a 2-0 lead after one.
Georgia answered in the second as Kaylee Puailoa notched a one-out double and then advanced to third on an error. She scored two batters later when Olney beat out an infield single with two outs. Cohen got Browne to fly out to Wallace at first, in foul territory, to keep the damage at a minimum. This ended Cohen’s day in the circle as she gave way to McLemore.
Bronkey garnered her third hit of the day, a double, to start the bottom of the second. Clark singled with one out and then Wallace was intentionally walked to load the bases for Canfield. She roped a double off of the centerfield wall that scored two, however, Wallace was thrown out at home. Navarro followed the double with a single up the middle. The hit scored Canfield from second and gave Arkansas a 5-1 lead. After Navarro stole second, Geile rocketed a two-run homer into leftfield. Her second two-run homerun of the year gave the Razorbacks a six run lead.
McLemore started the third inning and retired three of the four batters that she faced, She struck out the reigning NCAA Division I player of the week, Glasco, to end the top half of the inning. The senior also worked a scoreless fourth, retiring the Bulldogs in order.
The senior captain continued to cruise into the fifth as she put down Georgia, in order. McLemore had now retired nine of the ten batters that she faced.
After getting Swafford to fly out, Wilson reached on a bunt single. McLemore worked back and got the next two batters out, including a strikeout of Iosefa to end the top of the sixth.
Summerford walked to start the bottom of the sixth and then two batters later Canfield singled to put two runners on for Geile. She singled down the rightfield line for her third RBI of the game. Arkansas led 8-1, heading into the seventh.
McLemore dealt a scoreless seventh inning and sealed the series sweep for the Razorbacks over the No. 22 Bulldogs. Arkansas won game two of the doubleheader, 8-1.