Alabama will have the weekend off before returning to Rhoads Stadium to host a midweek contest against Southern Miss. The two teams will meet on Tuesday, April 16, with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m.
Auburn, Ala. - Morgan Estell went 4-for-4 with two home runs and four RBI to lead the Auburn softball team to a 6-1 victory over Troy Wednesday night at Jane B. Moore Field.
Auburn improved to 27-15 overall, while Troy fell to 18-21. The Tigers return to action this weekend in Knoxville against the No. 5 Tennessee Lady Vols. Saturday's game will be televised by CSS and is slated for a 10:30 a.m. CT start.
"This was a good win tonight," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "Marcy did a really good job pitching tonight. She only allowed the one hit and just one walk. Offensively, Morgan Estell had a tremendous game for us. It was really good to see her swing the bat like she did tonight."
Marcy Harper improved to 15-6 with the complete-game victory. Harper's win tied her with Anna Thompson for the most wins by an Auburn freshman pitcher. Harper allowed one run, unearned, on one hit with one walk and nine strikeouts.
Rachel Rigney started and took the loss for Troy to fall to 8-10. Rigney allowed four runs, all earned, on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts in three and two-thirds innings.
Estell put the Tigers on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning with a leadoff home run. It was Estell's third home run of the season as it hit off the light pole in right field for a 1-0 Auburn lead.
Estell gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Tiffany Howard reached on a fielder's choice and moved to second on a wild pitch. Estell then took a 1-1 pitch off the top of the wall in left, just missing her second home run of the game, for a double. Howard easily scored on the play for a two-run cushion for the Tigers.
McKenzie Kilpatrick made it a 3-0 game with a one-out, solo home run over the scoreboard in left in the bottom of the third inning. It was Kilpatrick's third home run of the season.
Estell went yard again to give Auburn a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. It was Estell's fourth home run of the season and the first multi-home run game of her career.
Estell picked up her fourth RBI of the night in the bottom of the fifth inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, Estell slapped an infield single between the pitcher and third base. Liana Wuchte, running for Caitlin Schultze (single), scored on the play to make it 5-0.
Troy broke up the shutout bid in the top of the sixth inning, taking advantage of two Auburn errors to plate a run. With one out, Branndi Melero dropped a fly ball off the bat of Chandler Griffin for an error. Griffin was able to take second on the play. The next batter, Kacie McAllister put down a sacrifice bunt that Harper fielded cleanly but threw wildly to first for an error. Griffin was able to score on the throwing error to make it a 5-1 game. Harper was able to end the rally with a strikeout of Rigney.
The Tigers were able to take advantage of two Troy errors to plate a run in the bottom half of the sixth. Emily Carosone reached on an error by shortstop Bailey Blake who failed to field a slow roller. After Kilpatrick drew a one-out walk, the runners advanced on a double steal. On a strikeout of Schultze, catcher Hannah Renn threw down to third attempting to pick off Carosone. The throw was off the target and sailed into left field, easily scoring Carosone for the 6-1 final margin.
Gators Down USF in Midweek Action
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The No. 3/4 Florida softball squad added a 9-1, six-inning victory over Sunshine State opponent USF Wednesday evening in non-conference action at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The Gators improved to 39-4 overall on the year and will take their 12-3 Southeastern Conference record to Lexington this weekend for a three-game conference set against Kentucky, UF’s third-to-last league series of the season.
After USF plated the first run of the contest in the top of the second, Florida countered with a three-run, three-hit third frame, fueled by a freshman Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.) two-run triple to pull the Gators ahead, 3-1. The Orange and Blue never looked back, adding a run in the third, two in the fourth and three in the sixth.
Freshman Taylor Schwarz (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and junior Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) both roped doubles to compliment Merritt’s triple, Schwarz hitting left field in the third and Tofft finding the left-center gap in the fourth inning.
Sophomore Briana Little (Middleburg, Fla.) was pegged with her 16th pitch of the season – a new Florida single-season record, eclipsing former Gator All-American Francesca Enea’s 15 in 2010. Little and Merritt both reached on hit-by-pitches Wednesday, elevating UF’s season total to 57.
Sophomore righty Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) (6 IP, 1 ER, 5 K, 2 BB) earned the nod at pitcher for the Gators and worked her sixth complete game of the season to pick up her 11th win in the circle (11-1). Haeger retired the Bulls in order in the first, third and sixth innings to limit USF’s offense.
Florida posted 10 hits Wednesday facing three different USF pitchers, first Lindsey Richardson (10-4), who was charged the loss after 2.0 innings of work when the Gators put up four runs on four hits and drew three walks. Erica Nunn and Sam Greiner each saw time in the circle for the Bulls, Nunn in the third and fourth, Greiner in the fifth and sixth.
Haeger used two straight Ks and a ground out to kick off the first inning, retiring the Bulls in order to set the tone for the game, limiting South Florida to just four hits through the span of the night.
USF put up the first run of the contest in the top of the second inning after Kenshyra Jackson led off with a double down the left-field line and came home on a speedy Ashli Goff two-out infield single to take the Bulls up, 1-0.
Florida battled back in the home half of the inning, though, first using a freshman Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) RBI single to shallow center as the equalizer to plate sophomore Briana Little (Middleburg, Fla.) – who reached on a single of her own to shallow left field. Next up, Merritt delivered her two-run triple to deep right center for the 3-1 Gator lead heading to the third. For Merritt, the three-bagger marked her third of the season and the 14th for the Orange and Blue.
A strike out – Haeger’s third of the day – ground out and fly out sat down the side in the top of the third, keeping the momentum in favor of the Gators.
Florida added a run to its lead in the home half of the third frame, started by a Schwarz double, her second of the season, before Little and sophomore Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) both drew one-out walks to juice the bags for sophomore Jess Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.). Damico drew a bases-loaded walk for her 21st RBI of the season before a fielder’s choice and fly out ended the stanza.
In the top of the fourth after Haeger’s fourth strikeout of the game to leadoff hitter Lee Ann Spivey and a base hit for USF designated player Morgan Litchfield, the Gators nixed any shot of a Bulls run in the frame with a 5-4-3 double play from Tofft at third to Stewart at second and then to Schwarz at first to retire the side.
The Orange and Blue put up two more runs in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a Tofft two-run double to left center that plated senior outfielder Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) and Schwarz, who reached on a one-out walk and one-out infield single, respectively, for the 6-1 UF advantage.
UF then used three runs in the bottom of the sixth to enforce the run-rule, Florida’s 12th of the year and 15th come-from-behind. Tofft led off with an infield single to the USF second baseman before Little was hit for runners on first and second, no outs. With one down, freshman Taylore Fuller (Trenton, Fla.), pinch hitting for Damico, knocked a RBI single to left for the 7-1 lead after Tofft crossed, also turning over the Gator lineup.
Next up, Stewart sent an infield single to third base to load the bags, but a USF defensive error on an overthrow to third attempting an out allowed two Florida runs – Little and Fuller – to cross the dish for the 9-1 differential.
Lady Vols Cruise
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -Lauren Gibson hit a walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth, Kat Dotson drove in four runs and Cheyanne Tarango hit a solo blast to lead No. 3 Tennessee to a 12-3, five-inning win over Tennessee Tech on Friday at Lee Stadium.
Tennessee (35-6) scored three in the second, one in the third, two in the fourth and six in the fifth to put away Tennessee Tech (16-18).
The win marked Tennessee's 78th consecutive win over an in-state opponent. Ralph Weekly and Karen Weekly are 73-0 against in-state foes and the Lady Vols are now 107-3 against teams from the state of Tennessee.
Gibson's three-run jack to end the game was her 10th on the season. Dotson was 2-for-3 with a two-RBI double and four runs driven in. Raven Chavanne was 2-for-2 with one RBI, one walk and two runs. Tarango was 2-for-3 with a solo homer. Melissa Brown it a triple, had an RBI sac bunt, drew a walk and scored twice.
Tarango (5-1) earned the win after starting the game and striking out three over three frames with one earned run allowed. Ivy Renfroe tossed four strikeouts and allowed one earned run over two relief innings.
Claudia Harke (4-5) took the loss after allowing six earned runs over 3.1 innings. Taylor Ketchum gave up four earned runs in one relief frame. Erica Tuck gave up two earned runs and surrendered the the game-ending home run. Tuck recorded one out in the fifth.
Tennessee took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Tarango opened the inning with a solo home run to center field, clubbing a 3-2 pitch from Harke over the fence in the deepest part of the field. Brown reached with a triple to center and three batters later Rainey Gaffin drove her in with an RBI single to left field. Chavanne was hit by a pitch in the next at-bat and Dotson followed with an RBI single through the right side to score Gaffin.
The Lady Vols added their fourth run in the bottom of the third. Madison Shipman took a full count pitch from Harke to left center for a leadoff double. Two batters later Brown brought Shipman home with an RBI squeeze bunt to first base.
Tennessee Tech got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth. Hannah Eldridge opened the inning with a solo homer down the left field line. After Olivia Bennett singled to left field in the next at-bat, Ivy Renfroe replaced Tarango in the circle. Renfroe escaped a bases-loaded jam later in the inning when she sent Chelsea Burgess down swinging on a 2-2 count.
UT scored two in the bottom of the fourth to push its lead to 6-1. With one out and runners on first and second, Taylor Ketchum relived Harke in the circle. Dotson sent a 2-2 pitch from Ketchum to right center for a two RBI double, but got caught in a 9-4-5 rundown.
The Golden Eagles scored two more in the top of the fifth to pull to within 6-3. With two on and no outs, Eldridge hit an RBI single up the middle. Two batters later, Melody Christian scored from third base on a passed ball.
Tennessee poured on six runs in the fifth to end the game. With one out and runners on the corners, Hannah Akamine clubbed an RBI single to left field. After Tory Lews drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases, Tuck relieved Ketchum in the circle. Raven Chavanne drew an RBI walk with the bases loaded and Kat Dotson followed with a sac fly to right. With runners on second and third and two outs, Gibson stepped in, took the first two pitches and the blasted the next pitch over the wall in center field for a three-run shot to end the game.
The Lady Vols will next host SEC rival Auburn for a three-game series this Friday through Sunday. Friday's game is at 6:30 p.m. and will feature a live video broadcast on UTSports.com and a radio broadcast on WNML 990 AM with Brian Rice on the call. Saturday's game is at 11:30 a.m. and will be televised on CSS with Melissa Lee doing play-by-play and Barbara Jordan as the analyst. Sunday's game is at 1:30 p.m. with live video on UTSports.com and live audio on WNML 990 AM.
Tennessee is celebrating the first of two Senior Day festivities before Saturday's game. UT will honor seniors Melissa Brown, Kat Dotson, Lauren Gibson and Ivy Renfro before the game. Fans are advised to arrive early.
Tickets for the three games are selling fast and a limited number remain. Contact the UT ticket office at 865-656-1200 for remaining ticket availability.
UGA Takes Care of Western Carolina
ATHENS, Ga. – Kaylee Puailoa was 5-for-6 with eight RBI as the University of Georgia softball team swept a double header with the Western Carolina Catamounts on Wednesday, April 10, at Jack Turner Stadium in Athens, Ga. The Bulldogs won the first game 12-0 and the second game 9-0 to improve to 29-13 on the season, while Western Carolina dropped to 15-28.
GEORGIA 12, WESTERN CAROLINA 0
Morgan Montemayor (8-6) got the start, threw four innings and gave up just two hits to record the win. Chelsea Wilkinson also saw time in the circle for the Bulldogs, pitching a scoreless fifth inning. Mallory Broome (3-7) suffered the loss for the Catamounts after giving up seven hits and seven runs in 1 1/3 innings. Jordan Garrett also did work for Western Carolina, pitching 2 2/3 innings and allowing five hits and five runs, four of which were earned.
Anna Swafford started things off for Georgia by roping a single down the left field line and then stealing second. Paige Wilson brought Swafford home with a long single to center field. Geri Ann Glasco singled to send Wilson to third, before Tiesha Reed came in to pinch run for Glasco. Puailoa hit a two-run single to drive in Wilson and Reed to put Georgia up 3-0.
In the second inning, Georgia stretched its advantage to 8-0, starting when Samantha LaZear crossed home to put the score at 4-0. After Glasco hit a bases clearing double to bring in Griffin and Swafford, Western Carolina called the bullpen and brought Garrett to the circle. The Bulldogs went up 7-0 after Glasco crossed home on a Puailoa single. Bryanna Blanco reached on an error to bring in pinch runner Katie Sowers and put the score at 8-0.
Georgia added four insurance runs in the third inning after Puailoa hit a two-run single that was followed by a two-run double by Tess Sito.
GEORGIA 9, WESTERN CAROLINA 0
Glasco (17-4) got the start in game two and pitched a complete game, one-hitter. She also recorded four strikeouts. Taylor Sigmon (0-11) suffered the loss for Western Carolina after giving up four runs off of three hits and a walk in 1/3 of an inning. Garrett finished the game for the Catamounts, throwing 3 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and five runs, four of which were earned.
Georgia took another early lead in the second game, going up 4-0 in the first inning. Wilson crossed the plate first and put the Bulldogs up 1-0 after Glasco singled to right field. Reed, who was pinch running for Glasco, came home when Tina Iosefa singled to left field, and Iosefa was brought in off a Puailoa double. Garrett returned to the circle for the Catamounts just before Sito singled to bring in Puailoa and increase the score to 4-0.
LaZear led off the scoring in the second inning after scoring on an error by the catcher. Swafford crossed home shortly after to brought the score to 6-0.
Christine Olney hit a two-out triple, the first of her career, to center field in the third inning before scoring on a Griffin double that increased Georgia’s lead to 7-0.
The Bulldogs extended their lead to 9-0 in the fourth inning after Puailoa drove in Swafford and Wilson, who reached on a walk and a single, respectively.
Next up, the Bulldogs travel to Columbia, S.C., to face the Gamecocks at 7 p.m., on Friday, April 12, for the first of a three game series.
UK Pitcher Ties School Record
RICHMOND, Ky. – The No. 18 University of Kentucky softball team used strong performances in the circle and at the plate Wednesday to sweep its doubleheader against Eastern Kentucky University, making sixth-year head coach Rachel Lawson the winningest head coach in school history. UK claimed game one, 6-2 before a come-from-behind effort to win game two, 4-3. Both games were played at Gertrude Hood Field in Richmond, Ky.
The victory in game one gave Lawson 182 career wins at Kentucky, surpassing former head coach Beth Pruit, who was previously the all-time winningest head coach. Pruit, who was the first head coach in school history, coached eight years at Kentucky totaling a 181-297-1 record. Lawson currently sits at 183-143 during her short tenure at Kentucky. The team presented Lawson with an autographed softball after the game.
History was also made in UK’s game-two win as true freshman pitcher Kelsey Nunley tied the school record for wins in a single season with 19. Nunley, who is 19-4 on the year with a 2.04 ERA, is only the third player in school history to win 19 or more games in a season. Former stars Chanda Bell and Keary Camunas also won 19 games in a year. Bell won 19 in 2009, while Camunas had 19 in 2000.
The wins were Kentucky’s fifth and sixth consecutive on the year after a three-game sweep of South Carolina last weekend and a 4-3 victory over Marshall on Tuesday. The six-game winning streak is the second longest of the season for Kentucky (30-10, 8-4 Southeastern Conference), who won a school-record tying eight straight earlier this season.
The Wildcats will now turn their attention back to SEC action as UK plays host to No. 3/4 Florida this weekend at the UK Softball Complex. The weekend series, which will start with a 6 p.m. ET first pitch on Friday, will be packed with excitement as UK will officially open the newly constructed UK Softball Complex. The weekend will feature numerous promotions to introduce UK fans to the new facility, including a grand opening ceremony on Saturday beginning at approximately 11:45 a.m. ET. Gates to the stadium will open at 11:30 a.m. ET with the dedication ceremony taking place on the main staircase of the stadium. The ceremony is open to all. First pitch Saturday is 1 p.m. ET, followed by a Noon ET start time on Sunday.
The Kentucky offense provided six runs on nine hits to take game one from the Colonels, getting multi-hit games from junior Lauren Cumbess and senior Alice O’Brien. Cumbess was terrific at the dish, going 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI, including her seventh home run of the season and ninth double. O’Brien was 2-for-3 in the game with an RBI and a run scored, while freshman Nikki Sagermann was 1-for-4 with a two-run home run in the seventh inning. Freshmen Maisie Steed and Christian Stokes also had hits in the game with Steed earning an RBI, while sophomore catcher Griffin Joiner went 1-for-4.
Junior Ellen Weaver started the game in the circle, throwing two scoreless innings allowing only two hits with four strikeouts. She was relieved in the third inning by Cumbess, who threw the final five innings of the game, allowing two runs – both earned – on six hits with two strikeouts. Cumbess earned the win, moving her record to 8-3 this season with a 2.78 ERA.
The Wildcats scored a run in the opening frame of game one and two more in the third to take a 3-0 lead before EKU posted two runs in the fifth inning to cut the Wildcat lead to 3-2. Kentucky added three insurance runs in the seventh inning to increase its lead to 6-2 over EKU with Cumbess throwing an easy seventh to seal the win.
UK used a come-from-behind effort in game two, scoring two runs in the top of the seventh inning to grab a 4-3 win from the Colonels. O’Brien was the key offensive bat for UK in the win, going 2-for-3 with three RBI, including a two-RBI single in the seventh inning to propel UK to the win. O’Brien also launched her fifth home run of the season in the second inning to tie the game 1-1 at the time. Steed collected a hit in the game, going 1-for-3, while Cumbess and Joiner each launched doubles. Junior infielder Krystal Smith went 1-for-3 with an RBI single, while junior Ginny Carroll went 1-for-3 with a run scored.
Nunley earned the win in the game, throwing all seven innings, allowing three runs – one earned – on five hits with one strikeout. EKU started Hayley Flynn, who went three innings, allowing two runs – both earned – on five hits, while Shaylon Robb pitched the final four innings, picking up the loss by allowing the final two runs of the game.
After a scoreless top of the first for UK, the Colonels posted a run in the bottom of the frame to take an early lead. The Wildcats took a 2-1 lead minutes later after O’Brien launched a home run and Smith posted her RBI single. EKU took the lead back in the bottom of the second on two UK errors. The Wildcats then rallied in the seventh inning, getting a leadoff walk to Steed, who advanced to third on a double by Joiner with no outs. After a lineout and a groundout, O’Brien stepped in and hit two-out, two-strike single up the middle to give UK the 4-3 lead. Nunley had a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh to end the game.
Kentucky will play host to the SEC Tournament this season for the first time in school history. The event, which is considered one of the most prestigious softball tournaments in the nation, will be May 8-11 in Lexington. The championship game will be featured on ESPN2, while all other games will be shown on ESPNU. Ticket information is available at www.UKathletics.com/secsoftball.