FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. –The University of Arkansas softball team earned a comeback victory over the No. 13 LSU Tigers, 4-3, on Saturday at Bogle Park.
Freshman Stephanie Canfield delivered a two-out, game-winning, single in the bottom of the seventh to give Arkansas a comeback, 4-3, victory. The win broke a 12-game losing streak for the Razorbacks against the Tigers. Sophomore Devon Wallace scored the game-winning run for the Hogs.
“They might start calling us the ‘cardiacbacks’,” head coach Mike Larabee said. “Two weekends in a row we have had dramatic comebacks. I was feeling confident with Canfield coming to the plate, the kid hates to lose.”
Arkansas (26-14) received a brilliant performance from sophomore Kimmy Beasley in the win. She went seven innings and only surrendered one earned run on two hits. She also notched a career-high 12 strikeouts in the contest. The two hits for LSU tied a season low.
“Kimmy Beasley can beat any team in the country,” Larabee said. “She needs to stay consistent, she beat Alabama and California last year, now she has to stay consistent. She has all the tools and there are not a lot of left-handed pitchers in the SEC right now.”
At the plate it was Jayme Gee who paced the Hogs. She went 2-for-3 with a double and a solo-homerun. Arkansas also completed a comeback win last weekend against No. 22 Georgia in game two. The team went on to sweep the Bulldogs, winning game three, 8-1.
“Just like last week this is a huge momentum swing for us,” Larabee said. “Last week we talked about being a consistent program. To be a consistent program, you have to win the series. Now we have something big to play for tomorrow, winning the series.”
The Tigers struck for two runs in the top half of the first. Jacee Blades reached on an error and then scored when Bianka Bell tallied a one-out single. Bell came around to score after a three-base error on the play. After a walk to Allison Falcon, Beasley battled back to strikeout Sandra Simmons. In the next at-bat, Falcon was caught stealing by the Razorback catcher, Gee.
Beasley battled back in the second and retired three of the four batters she faced, striking out Rikki Alcaraz, Kellsi Kloss and Simone Heyward. The sophomore had registered five strikeouts through two innings.
LSU added another run in the top of the third when Bell drove a two-out homerun over the rightfield wall. Her ninth homerun of the season gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
Gee answered in the bottom of the third and skied a solo-homerun into the rightfield grass. The junior’s seventh homerun of the season cut the lead to two runs after three innings of play.
Arkasnas’ pitcher, Beasley, cut down the Tigers in the top of the fourth. She retired the side in order, while striking out two. She blew a fastball by Tammy Wray to end the top of the fourth and give her eight strikeouts on the day.
Chloe Oprzedek led off the bottom of the fourth and was hit by a pitch. Two batters later, Clarisa Navarro shot a double off of the rightfield wall to put runners on second and third for Sierra Bronkey. She hit a fly ball to leftfield that was caught, but scored Oprzedek from third. This cut the lead to 3-2, after four.
Clarie Clark singled with one out in the fifth and Wallace followed the single with a walk. This was Wallace’s 101st walk of her career, she is now two behind Sandra Smith’s career record of 103. Two batters later Oprzedek worked a 3-2 count, but popped out and both runners were stranded.
Beasley retired her next five batters, striking out Alcaraz and Wray to start the seventh. The two strikeouts gave Beasley a career-high 11 on the day. She improved her career high to 12 on the next batter and struck out Kloss to end the top of the seventh, putting a lot of momentum into the Arkansas dugout.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh Gee lined a double into the rightfield wall. Ashley Martindale then came in to pinch run and two batters later Wallace was intentionally walked. This put two runners on with two outs for Canfield. She bounced a ball over Simmons’ head at first base. The singled scored Martindale from second and Wallace was hustling from first to try and win the game. The throw came in from the rightfielder, Heyward, and the ball arrived to the plate at the same time as Wallace. The LSU catcher, Lauren Houston, bobbled the ball and Wallace slid, head-first, into home, giving Arkansas the 4-3 comeback victory.
NO. 5 UT DEFEATS GEORGIA, 9-2, FOR RALPH WEEKLY’S 1,100th CAREER WIN
ATHENS, Ga. - Lauren Gibson hit a home run and drove in four runs to back Ellen Renfroe's seven strong innings in the circle as No. 5 Tennessee took a 9-2 win over Georgia on Saturday at Jack Turner Stadium. The win marked the 1,100th coaching victory for UT co-head coach Ralph Weekly.
Weekly is the 14th head coach in NCAA history to achieve 1,100 career wins. He ranks eighth among active softball coaches in career victories.
Tennessee (33-6, 8-3) took the lead with two runs in the top of the second and scored more runs in the third, fourth, sixth and seventh. Georgia (27-12, 6-5) scored in the fourth and the seventh.
Gibson went 3-for-5 with one homer, four RBIs and two runs. Raven Chavanne went 2-for-4 with two runs. Kat Dotson had one double and one RBI. Melissa Brown and Rainey Gaffin each drove in one run. Tory Lewis scored two runs.
Ellen Renfroe (10-1) struck out five and allowed just two earned runs over seven frames to earn her seventh complete game of the year.
Geri Ann Glasco (16-4) took the loss after allowing four runs (two earned) over five innings. Tess Sito threw the final two frames and allowed five earned runs.
The Lady Vols took the lead in the second inning. Cheyanne Tarango led things off with double to center field and Jennifer Burroughs entered to pinch run. With one out and runners on the corners, Burroughs scored from third on a throwing error by the catcher. Two batters later, Gaffin ripped a single through the left side to bring in Melissa Davin from third base.
With one out in the top of the third, Melissa Brown reached on a fielding error at first base and Gibson scored from third base.
UT's lead grew to 4-0 in the top of the fourth. With two outs and Lewis on third, Gibson reached on a fielding error at short to bring in the run.
The Bulldogs got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Paige Wilson hit a leadoff homer off the scoreboard in left field.
Tennessee would add two more runs with one out in the top of the sixth when Gibson smacked a two-RBI homer over the wall in center field. UT left two runners on base.
The Lady Vols' lead was extended to 9-1 in the top of the seventh. With two on and one out, Dotson clubbed an RBI double to center field. Gibson followed with a two-RBI single to right field to round out UT's scoring.
The Bulldogs added one more run in the top of the seventh when Tess Sito hit a solo homer to left center.
Nunley’s Pitching, Carroll’s Homer Helps Softball Clinch Series
COLUMBIA, S.C. – True freshman pitcher Kelsey Nunley tossed a gutsy seven innings, allowing four runs and retiring 15 of the last 16 batters she faced, while junior Ginny Carroll launched a three-run, pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning to guide the No. 20 University of Kentucky softball team to a 9-4 series-clinching victory over South Carolina on Saturday at Carolina Softball Stadium.
The win for Kentucky (26-10, 7-4 Southeastern Conference) was its fifth straight in SEC action after sweeping Mississippi State two weekends ago in Lexington. UK has now claimed the series over South Carolina five consecutive seasons dating back to 2009. The series will conclude with a 1 p.m. ET first pitch on Sunday. Live stats and live video from the game will be available online through the links provided below. Fans can also get real-time updates on Twitter by following @UKSoftball.
Sixth-year head coach Rachel Lawson has now won 65 SEC games in her tenure at Kentucky, which is more conference wins than the program had overall (1997-2007) when she accepted the position before the 2008 season. This is the third SEC series win of the season for UK, who has now claimed three or more SEC series in a season five times under Lawson. The five-game SEC win streak is the second longest in school history, marking the fourth time a UK team has won five straight in conference play. This is the third time it has happened under Lawson’s tenure. The longest SEC winning streak in school history is six games by the 2011 team that had back-to-back sweeps over Mississippi State and Florida.
After a rocky first inning, Nunley delivered a strong performance for Kentucky in the circle, throwing a complete game for the second consecutive night to get the win. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., allowed four runs – all earned – on seven hits with four strikeouts. After the first inning, Nunley kept South Carolina scoreless, giving up three hits in the final six innings with four strikeouts, retiring 15 of the last 16 batters she faced to end the game.
The rookie hurler is an impressive 17-4 on the year with a 2.09 ERA. Nunley’s 17 wins moves her into a tie for fourth on UK’s single-season wins list with Morgan Marr, who had 17 in 2001. Nunley is the first UK pitcher to post 17 or more wins in a season since Chanda Bell had 18 in 2010. Bell and Keary Camunas hold the single-season record for wins in a season with 19.
Nine Wildcats recorded a hit in the game as UK’s offense exploded for nine runs on 11 hits. No hit was bigger than the three-run homer by Carroll – her second roundtripper of the season – to blow the game open in the top of the seventh inning. Junior infielder Lauren Cumbess had a strong night at the dish, going 2-for-3 with a two-run, game-tying home run in the third inning and a two-out, rally starting double in the seventh inning. Freshman Nikki Sagermann kept her team-leading batting average up with a 2-for-4 night, while sophomore catcher Griffin Joiner went 1-for-3 with an RBI single and a sacrifice fly.
Freshman Maisie Steed collected the other UK RBI in the game, going 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored, while freshmen Christian Stokes and Sylver Samuel, senior Alice O’Brien and junior Emily Jolly each collected hits. Samuel’s single moved her career-long hitting streak to four games.
South Carolina (19-16, 1-10 SEC) started Julie Sarratt in the circle, who went four innings, allowing five runs – four earned – on six hits with three strikeouts. She was relieved in the fifth inning by Katie Marks, who threw the final three innings, allowing four runs on five hits with two strikeouts. USC got multi-hit games from Dana Hathorn, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Chelsea Hawkins was 2-for-3. Sarratt helped her cause in the first inning with a two-RBI single, finishing the game 1-for-3.
For the second straight night the Wildcats scored first in the game, moving their record to 17-2 when they score first this season. After Steed started the game with a deep fly that was caught at the centerfield wall, Stokes hit an infield single to the left side, advancing to second on a wild pitch. Joiner then drove home Stokes with a single up the middle, giving UK the early lead. After a strikeout, Sagermann doubled to shallow right-centerfield and Cumbess walked to load the bases for Gaines, who hit a sharp grounder that the USC shortstop bobbled allowing a run to score. A foul out to third ended the inning with UK up 2-0.
The Gamecocks answered with four runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a 4-2 lead. The inning started with three consecutive singles from Samie Garcia, Alaynie Page and Hathorn to cut the UK lead to 2-1. USC then tied the game when Kristen Sturett hit a grounder to the right side that Cumbess fielded and threw home to get the runner, who was called safe to tie the game. After a popup and a groundout, Sarratt singled to leftfield to score two runners and give the Gamecocks a 4-2 lead.
The Wildcats tied the game in the third inning behind the two-run homer from Cumbess. O’Brien began the rally with a double off the rightfield wall and after a groundout, Cumbess stepped up and hammered a home run to the opposite field to tie the game 4-4. Sarratt got a groundout and a strikeout to end the inning.
Kentucky took the lead back in the fourth inning getting a sacrifice fly from Joiner. A lineout by Samuel started the inning before Steed walked, stealing second base and advancing to third on a wild pitch. After Stokes walked, Joiner hit a laser to rightfield for a sacrifice fly and her 30th RBI of the season.
UK added an insurance run in the sixth inning on back-to-back hits from Samuel and Steed. Samuel started the rally with a one-out bunt single, moving to second on a stolen base before Steed hammered a double to left-centerfield, giving UK the 6-4 lead.
Carroll put the game away in the top of the seventh inning, blasting a three-run, pinch-hit homer over the wall in leftfield. The rally started with a two-out double by Cumbess, who was pinch-ran for by Kara Howard. Jolly then hit an infield single to put two on for Carroll, who launched a full-count pitch to give Kentucky a 9-4 lead.
South Carolina leads the all-time series against Kentucky 35-20, including an 18-10 mark in games played in Columbia, S.C. The Wildcats are 11-6 against the Gamecocks under Lawson, including a 6-2 mark in Columbia. The Gamecocks lead the all-time series in games played in Lexington 10-15 and at neutral sites 2-0. UK has played 55 games against USC all-time, marking the second-longest series in program history. The longest series is 57 all-time games against Georgia.
Jess Damico Grand Slam Fuels No. 3 Softball’s 4-2 Come-From-Behind Win Against Mississippi State Saturday
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – One swing of the bat in the bottom of the sixth for Jessica Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.) erased a 2-0 deficit for the No. 3 Gator softball squad, as the sophomore knocked her first grand slam donning the Orange and Blue to give Florida a 4-2 series-clinching victory against Mississippi State Saturday in front of 1,584 fans at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
A resilient Gator (38-3, 12-2 SEC) squad battled for its 14th come-from-behind win of the season using Damico’s grand slam – Florida’s 10th of the season – to top a feisty Mississippi State (23-14, 2-9 SEC) team. For Damico, the game-winning hit marked her fourth this season for Florida, giving the Gators their fifth SEC series win of the season.
Sophomore righty Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) earned the nod and win in the circle for UF (6 IP, 1 ER, 4 K, 2 BB) to improve to 10-1. After tossing a no-hitter in Friday’s series-opener, junior Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) came on for her third save of 2013 with an inning of scoreless relief in the seventh, fanning two of the four batters she faced to close things out for the Gators.
UF drew three walks and three hit-by-pitches through game two of the series, including two walks and a hit-by-pitch to juice the bags for Damico’s sixth bomb of the year in the sixth, to help spur the Florida offense Saturday. Sophomore Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) was pegged twice on the afternoon, bringing UF’s season HBP total to 55, four away from the single-season record 59.
Florida tallied four hits to State’s six, as the Gators faced MSU ace Alison Owen (12-6), drawing three walks against the righty that had given up just seven walks on the season, two in conference play. Owen fanned seven and was charged four earned runs for the grand slam.
On a mission, Haeger fanned the first two batters of the game and forced the third to fly out to center to retire the Bulldogs in the top of the first. Haeger struck with her third K in the second inning to hold MSU hitless in the frame, the ninth straight inning the Gators held their opposition hitless.
In the bottom of the second, the Gators had runners on first and second with one out after a hit-by-pitch and a one-out fielding error for the Bulldogs, but Owen retired the side with two Ks to prevent UF from capitalizing with its second and third base runners of the afternoon.
Mississippi State then put up one run each in the third and fourth innings to take a 2-0 lead over Florida to the sixth.
The Bulldogs used a two-hit third to plate the first run of the game on a Logan Foulks RBI double, but UF’s defense quickly ended inning, throwing Foulks out at second after she rounded the bag, considering third. Jessica Offutt starting things off with a hard-hit single to third and Jessica Cooley drew a two-out walk to set up Foulks’ two-out RBI double.
Freshman Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) led off the home half of the third with a slow dribbler to short and beat out the throw for an infield single, UF’s first hit of the day, and junior Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) bunted her over to second before Haeger drew a one-out walk for a little momentum, but Owen again used two straight Ks to keep UF off the board in the stanza.
A Gator defensive miscue on a sac bunt in the top of the fourth allowed the Bulldogs’ second run – Briana Bell – to cross the dish after Bell led off the inning with a base hit to left field.
Next up for UF, a Horton one-out high-flying double to left center, followed by a freshman Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.) sacrifice bunt, put the Gators in position to threaten with a runner at third in the home half of the fourth with two down, but Owens forced a foul out to end the inning and maintain to the 2-0 Bulldog advantage.
After a scoreless fifth for both teams that kept MSU ahead, the Gator defense buckled down in the sixth as Haeger sat down the Bulldogs’ 5, 6 and 7 hitters in order. Haeger forced Heidi Shape to pop up a bunt in foul territory, while Merritt made a Michelle Moultrie-esque diving play in shallow center on Shelby Fisher’s fly out, before Haeger handled a bouncer back to the circle herself for three up, three down to bring up UF’s winning stanza.
Castro was tagged for the second time Saturday to lead things off in the home half of the sixth for Florida, then proceeded to advance to second on a Sam Lenahan passed ball before freshman Taylor Schwarz (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and senior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) drew consecutive walks to please a rowdy Orange and Blue-clad crowd and juice the bags with no outs.
Merritt fouled out for the first out of the inning to bring up the nine-hole hitter Damico, whose 1-1 sky-high hit cleared the left-field fence for the 4-2 Gator lead. Owen limited the damage with two straight outs at the top of the Florida batting order, but Florida never looked back.
Auburn Softball Tops Ole Miss 2-1
Auburn, Ala. – Auburn pitchers Lexi Davis and Marcy Harper combined to hold Ole Miss to one run on four hits as the Tigers defeated the Rebels 2-1 in softball action Saturday night at Jane B. Moore Field.
The victory gave the Tigers a series win and improved their record to 25-14 overall and 6-8 in the Southeastern Conference. Ole Miss fell to 19-23 overall and 1-13 in the SEC. The teams conclude the series Sunday at 1 p.m.
“I’m really proud of the job Lexi and Marcy did tonight against their hitters,” Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. “They only gave up one walk and that is a positive step for them. Offensively, we were able to do just enough against them. Morgan and Branndi each came through with big hits for us.”
Lexi Davis started and improved to 7-5 after allowing one run, earned, on four hits with one walk and four strikeouts in five and one-third innings. Marcy Harper notched her second save of the season, going the last one and two-thirds innings without allowing a hit or walk. Harper fanned three.
Erinn Jayjohn took the loss to fall to 2-1. Jayjohn allowed two runs, both earned, on seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts in six innings of work.
The Rebels mounted a scoring threat in the top of the third inning. Melina Preciado led off with a single and took second on a sacrifice bunt by Marina Parra. RT Cantillo followed with a ground ball that third baseman Maris Medina failed to field for an error, putting runners at second and first with one out. Davis, however, recovered and retired the next two batters to end the inning without a run scoring.
Auburn grabbed the lead in the bottom of the third inning. Morgan Estell gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead with an RBI double. Tiffany Howard started the rally with a one-out triple to center. Estell followed with a double to the gap in left-center on a 2-2 pitch. Branndi Melero followed with a single to left on a 1-0 pitch that easily scored Estell, giving Auburn a 2-0 edge.
After retiring eight straight, Davis issued a two-out walk to Parra in the top of the fifth inning. That would be all the Rebels would muster, though, as Davis forced Cantillo to pop up to Emily Carosone at shortstop to end the inning.
Ole Miss rallied in the top of the sixth. Brittany Broome reached on an infield single up the middle to open the inning. After a strikeout, Broome swiped second base to move into scoring position. A wild pitch from Davis moved Broome to third. Londen Ladner made it a 2-1 game with a single down the right field line after fouling off three pitches on a 2-2 count. That chased Davis and brought Harper in to pitch for the Tigers. Harper fanned Jayjohn on a swinging strike three for the second out of the inning. After falling behind 3-1, Harper then threw two consecutive strikes to Haley Culley to end the rally with the Tigers leading 2-1.
In the top of the seventh, Bri Payne led off and popped up to Medina at third base for the first out of the inning. Harper then registered the second out when she forced Natalie Nimmo to foul out to Kilpatrick behind the plate on a 2-2 pitch. Harper sealed the victory with a strikeout of Parra on just four pitches to give the Tigers the series win.
Stark Hits Walk-Off Home Run as No. 9 Aggies Top Rams, 3-1
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Junior Jenna Stark hit a walk-off, two-run home run to lift the ninth-ranked Texas A&M softball team to a 3-1 victory over Colorado State, Saturday in the second game of the non-conference series at the Aggie Softball Complex.
The Aggies (30-7) and Rams (17-16) were locked in a 1-1 tie through four innings before Stark went yard for the walk-off win. A&M leads the series 2-0 after earning its 30th win of the season, making this the program’s 16th-straight 30-win season under Head Coach Jo Evans. The skipper is in her 17th season at A&M.
A&M had just four hits on the day, but that was all the team needed for the win. A leadoff home run by junior Cassie Tysarczyk in the bottom of the second put the Aggies on the board first before an RBI double by the Rams in the next half-inning evened the score.
The Aggies drew walks in the first, fourth and fifth innings to put a runner on base, but each time left a player stranded. Junior Taran Tyler also reached base, on an infield single in the third, but was tossed out on a double play.
CSU had five hits on the game but stranded six runners through seven innings. The Aggie defense held runners in scoring positions four times, and Stark turned a double play in the top of the fourth to end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh with one out, sophomore Brittany Clopton had just the third A&M hit of the day, beating the throw for an infield single, before Stark plated the pair on the rip over left field.
Senior Mel Dumezich (21-5) earned the win as she threw the final inning, giving up one hit and striking out one. CSU ace Kacie McCarthy (13-7) took the loss after giving up three earned runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out three.
NO. 7 MIZZOU HAMMERS NO. 4 ALABAMA TO EVEN SERIES, 9-4
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – No. 7 Mizzou softball evened the series at No. 4 Alabama with a resounding 9-4 victory at Rhoads Stadium on Saturday. The Tigers took a 9-0 lead over the Crimson Tide into the seventh inning on an initial 6.0-inning, scoreless stint in the circle from standout senior pitcher Chelsea Thomas (Pleasantville, Iowa). The Tigers were led offensively by sophomore CF Kayla Kingsley (Oklahoma City, Okla.), who batted 3-for-3 with two runs scored and one RBI. Mizzou’s bats were alive with 10 hits, including home runs from sophomore 1B Kelsea Roth (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and junior OF Mackenzie Sykes (Blue Springs, Mo.) in the top of the seventh inning.
The Tigers improved to 23-3 overall and 8-2 in Southeastern Conference play with the victory, nationally televised by ESPNU. The Crimson Tide dropped to 34-6 (9-5 SEC).
Sykes came up big defensively for the Tigers in the bottom of the second inning to keep the score 0-0. With two down and an Alabama runner on second base, Crimson Tide shortstop Danae Hays singled into left field. The Alabama runner, Kallie Case, made a run for home plate, but Sykes shut the door with an excellent throw to senior catcher Jenna Marston (St. Louis, Mo.).
In the next half inning, it was Marston that delivered an RBI single to start Mizzou’s scoring. Both freshman 2B Emily Crane (Troy, Mo.) and Kingsley started the inning with singles, and Marston’s hit brought around Kingsley. Crane scored next by sliding under a tag at home plate when senior Nicole Hudson (Webb City, Mo.) singled up the middle to center field.
Two more runs came in for a 4-0 lead when a Roth grounder to third base resulted in a throwing error. Junior Brianna Corwin (Kansas City, Mo.) who had pinch run for Hudson, along with sophomore 3B Angela Randazzo (Poway, Calif.), who reached base on a fielder’s choice, scored on the play.
Mizzou tacked on a fifth run in the top of the fourth inning due to efforts from Kingsley and Crane. Kingsley slapped a two-out single through the left side and then stole to second base. Crane followed with her own single in the same direction, driving in Kingsley for a
5-0 lead. Crane was tagged out at second base while trying to extend the single into a double.
Kingsley was involved again to get the Tigers their sixth run. After freshman RF Carlie Rose (Nixa, Mo.) beat out an infield single to shortstop, she was pinch run for with redshirt freshman OF Taylor Gadbois (Maryville, Mo.). Gadbois stole second base, and when the throw to catch her skittered into the outfield, she advanced to third base on the error. Kingsley did not allow Gadbois to stand at third base long, slapping an RBI single to Alabama’s shortstop to set the score at 6-0.
Roth broke the Tiger lead open with her two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning, scoring senior Princess Krebs (Lithonia, Ga.), who had reached base on a fielder’s choice. Sykes’ followed Roth with her own bomb to hit back-to-back home runs for the first time since Feb. 16 against Fresno State, in which she and Rose were the long ball hitters.
Thomas reentered the game in the bottom of the seventh inning after exiting for Hudson. Alabama scored four runs in the final frame of the contest to tighten the Tigers’ lead. Thomas recorded her third strikeout to seal the win (14-2).
Alabama pitcher Leslie Jury took the loss (11-3), allowing 10 hits, nine runs, six earned runs and recording zero strikeouts.