KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Ivy Renfroe had five strikeouts in a complete game and Madison Shipman went 3-for-3 with two doubles as No. 3 Tennessee defeated Auburn, 6-1, on Saturday at Lee Stadium.
Tennessee (37-6, 11-3 SEC) celebrated the careers of seniors Melissa Brown, Kat Dotson, Lauren Gibson and Ivy Renfroe prior to Saturday's game in the first of two scheduled Senior Day festivities. UT will honor Raven Chavanne and Whitney Hammond on April 27 before facing Arkansas.
The Lady Vols scored two in the third, two in the fourth and two in the fifth. Auburn (27-17, 6-11 SEC) scored its lone run in the fourth inning.
Shipman had one RBI and one run in addition to her 3-for-3, two-double outing. Dotson had an RBI double off the top of the wall in left field and also scored a run. Gibson was 1-for-2 with one RBI and one run. Cheyanne Tarango, Melissa Davin and Hannah Akamine each had one RBI.
Ivy Renfroe (15-3) allowed just one earned run over seven innings for her 12th complete game of the season. She threw 132 pitches in the win and improved to 7-2 in SEC games.
Marcy Harper (15-7) took the loss for Auburn after allowing six earned runs over 4.1 frames. Hilary Mavromat tossed 1.2 shutout innings of relief.
Tennessee took the lead in the bottom of the third. With two outs and Lewis on second, Dotson crushed a 3-2 pitch from Harper for an RBI double off the highest part the wall in left field, just missing a home run by inches. Gibson immediately followed with an RBI single through the right side to give UT a 2-0 lead.
Auburn got rolling offensively in the top of the fourth. Emily Carosone led off the inning with a double to right field off a 3-2 pitch from Renfroe. She scored on a fielding error at second in the next at bat. Three batters later, Lewis came up with an outstanding defensive play to get the third out. Caitlin Schultze hit a single to the outfield and Lewis scooped it up in shallow center field and fired a throw to home plate to get Branndi Melero out on the tag.
UT responded with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth to build its lead to 4-1. Shipman led off the inning with a double to left. Two batters later, Davin connected on a 2-1 pitch for an RBI single to left field. Akamine followed with an RBI double off the left field wall to plate Shipman.
In the top of the fifth, Auburn loaded the bases off a pair of two-out singles and a walk. Renfroe escaped the unscathed when she induced an eight-pitch flyout to left field by Brooke Lathan.
Tennessee added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Chavanne drew a leadoff single, stole a base and advanced on a flyout and Gibson drew a four-pitch walk and stole a base to give UT two runners in scoring position with one out. Shipman connected for an RBI single to left when the left fielder lost the ball in the sun. Tarango followed with a sac fly to center field to score Gibson.
Tennessee and Auburn will close out the series on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The game will feature free live video and free live statistics on UTSports.com and a live audio broadcast on WNML 990 AM with Brian Rice on the call. The first 150 kids 12 and under with a ticket will receive a voucher for a free hot dog and drink. There will also be a post-game clinic with the Tennessee softball team, but participants must have a game ticket to attend.
No. 18 Kentucky Enjoys Historic Day in Win Over No. 3 Gators
LEXINGTON, Ky. – On the day that the No. 18 University of Kentucky softball team named its new stadium after long-time administrator John Cropp, the Wildcats got a record-setting performance in the circle by freshman pitcher Kelsey Nunley and a career-high three-RBI game from junior infielder Krystal Smith to take down No. 3 Florida 4-2 in a series-evening win on Saturday at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Ky.
Nunley was fantastic pitching for Kentucky (31-11, 9-5 Southeastern Conference), throwing a complete game allowing two runs on three hits with eight strikeouts. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., is now 20-4 on the year becoming the first player in school history to win 20 games in a season. After allowing a single and home run to the first two batters she faced, Nunley settled down, retiring 16 of the final 20 batters she faced to end the game.
Nunley’s 20-win season surpasses the previous record of 19 games, which was set by Keary Camunas (2000) and Chanda Bell (2009). The rookie hurler now has 130 strikeouts on the year, ranking her eighth on the single-season strikeout list.
Smith paced the Wildcats at the dish with a career game, going 2-for-2 with a career-best three RBI. Smith singled to leftfield in her first at-bat before a sacrifice fly to rightfield to tie game 2-2 in the fourth inning. The native of Bristow, Va., delivered the game-winning runs in the sixth inning with a single down the leftfield line, giving UK the 4-2 win.
Six other Wildcats earned hits in the game, including a multi-hit game from sophomore catcher Griffin Joiner, who went 2-for-3 with an RBI double. Junior pitcher/infielder Lauren Cumbess went 1-for-3 in the game to extend her season-high tying eight-game hitting streak, while freshman Nikki Sagermann started the rally in the sixth with her lone single of the game. Junior Ginny Carroll went 1-for-2 in the game with two runs scored, while senior Alice O’Brien had a double and freshman Sylver Samuel earned a single.
Kentucky has now won seven of its last eight SEC games, and 11 of its last 14 overall with the only losses during that stretch coming to top-15 ranked teams. The win over Florida was Kentucky’s fifth of the season over a top-25 ranked team. The Wildcats have now defeated 36 top-25 teams under sixth-year head coach Rachel Lawson, including 13 wins over top-five ranked teams. The win over Florida marks the second time UK has taken down a top-three team this season after opening the year with a win over then-No. 3 Cal.
The series will conclude Sunday with a Noon ET first pitch at John Cropp Stadium. Admission to the game is free of charge, while live stats and live video (subscription required) will be available on UKathletics.com.
Before the game, Kentucky honored Cropp, who has spent over 20 years as an administrator at Kentucky – including starting the softball program back in 1997 – by naming the new $9.5 million stadium, John Cropp Stadium. Cropp, along with UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart and the program’s first head coach Beth Pruitt, threw out ceremonial first pitches Saturyday.
Florida scored first in the game, getting a two-run home run from Kirsti Merritt to take a 2-0 lead. The inning started with a single to leftfield by Kelsey Stewart before Merritt stepped in and drilled a home run to right-centerfield. Nunley got three pop ups to end the inning.
The Wildcats answered in the bottom of the first inning with a single run. Freshman Christian Stokes started the rally with a one-out walk before Joiner drilled an opposite field double down the rightfield line to score Stokes and cut the lead to 2-1. Florida sophomore Lauren Haeger, who took the loss in the circle going six innings allowing four runs on nine hits, got a strikeout and a foul out to end the rally.
Kentucky tied the game in the fourth inning the sacrifice fly by Smith. Carroll got the inning started with a double to right-centerfield, moving to third on a groundout, before Smith drilled a deep fly to rightfield that scored Carroll from third and tied the game 2-2.
UK claimed the win with its two-run sixth inning behind a two-RBI single by Smith. The inning began with a leadoff single to leftfield by Sagermann, who was pinch ran for by junior Emily Jolly. Carroll then walked to put runners on first and second with no outs before a strikeout for the first out of the inning. After a double steal put runners at second and third, Smith drilled a line drive that deflected off the third-baseman’s glove and into leftfield scoring both runners. Smith was thrown out at second base trying to stretch the single into a double. A groundout ended the inning.
Nunley worked a strong top of the seventh inning to seal the win. After a strikeout and flyout to start the frame, Nunley walked Merritt to bring up Haeger, who struck out swinging to end the game.
Florida leads the all-time series between the two teams with a 42-12 record, including a 20-7 mark in games played in Lexington. The Gators also lead the series 21-5 in games played in Gainesville, Fla. Kentucky has had more success as of late against the Gators, winning five of the last eight meetings, including a three-game sweep of Florida in 2011. Lawson is 6-10 against Florida in her tenure at UK, including a 4-3 record in games played in Lexington. UF took two of three games from UK last season in Gainesville.
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.
For the latest on UK softball, follow "@UKSoftball" on Twitter or like Kentucky Softball on Facebook.
Arkansas Rallies Past No. 8 Mizzou
AYETTEVILLE, Ark. –The University of Arkansas softball team came from behind in game two to defeat the No. 8 Missouri Tigers, 4-1, in 11 innings on Saturday in Columbia, Mo. at University Field.
Chloe Oprzedek had the key hit in extra innings. The junior doubled in the 11th inning and it scored Devon Wallace and Stephanie Canfield, breaking a 1-1 tie. The Hogs completed their third comeback win over a ranked team in as many weeks. This was also Arkansas’ first win over a Top 10 SEC team on the road since April, 2010.
“Our players reached down deep for this one,” head coach Mike Larabee said. “This was a huge program win for the Razorbacks today. It is a big win against a great team and a national team pitcher.”
Arkansas (27-16) was led by its sophomore pitcher Kimmy Beasley in the win. She threw 11 innings and gave up one run on three hits. She struck out 12 Tiger batters in the win. This was Beasley’s third straight game with double-digit strikeouts.
“She kept a very good hitting team off balance,” Larabee said. “She has been dominating in the circle, back to last weekend. I saw some great pitches today.”
At the plate it was Wallace, she went 1-for-3 with two walks and scored a run. Also having a nice day was Clarisa Navarro. The junior went 1-for-4 and scored a key run in the seventh inning. She also added an insurance sacrifice fly in the 11th inning.
“Devon had four quality at bats today,” Larabee said. “She is one of the premier players in the country and I wouldn’t trade her for anybody in the nation.”
The game began as Oprzedek notched her second hit in as many games when she lined a single up the middle in the top of the first inning. Her two-out effort would go stranded as she was left at first base.
Beasley started out her day on an excellent pace. She retired the first six batters she faced and struck out the side in the second inning. She sent down Angela Randazzo, Kelsea Roth and Mackenzie Sykes on a nice mixture of pitches.
Missouri starter Chelsea Thomas answered by striking out the side in the top of the third. The senior had struck out six batters through three innings of play.
Kayla Kingsly tallied the first hit of the day for Missouri. She blooped a single over Navarro’s head with two outs in the third. She then stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. After a walk to Emily Crane, Jenna Marston flew out to leftfield and Beasley worked out of the jam.
Canfield reached base on an infield single to start the fourth inning. However, the Hogs were unable to score her and the game remained scoreless.
Nicole Hudson started the bottom of the fourth with a walk. Beasley battled back and struck out Randazzo and Roth for her fifth and sixth strikeouts of the game. Jayme Gee then caught Hudson trying to steal second and retired the side in the fourth inning.
Wallace walked with one out in the top of the sixth. This was her NCAA-leading 55th walk of the season, however the sophomore went stranded and the score remained at zeros.
Beasley continued to dominate on the mound in the sixth as she retired three of the four batters she faced. The sophomore gave up a two-out double to Marston but then rallied and struck out Hudson to end the sixth inning.
Navarro started the top of the seventh with a roped singled through the left side of the infield. Bronkey then approached the plate and tried to bunt the runner over. She place down a beautiful bunt and the third baseman, Randazzo, had a tough throw to first. She launched it by the first-baseman, Roth and Navarro went from first base to third. The junior noticed that nobody was covering home-plate and she scampered home to give Arkansas a 1-0 lead.
The Foreman, Ark. native, Beasley got Randazzo to pop out to start the seventh inning. Two pitches later, Roth tied the game and lined a ball over the leftfield fence. Sykes followed the bomb and reached on an error. She then stole second and Genovese walked to put two runners on for Sarah Moore. Beasley battled back and struck out Moore and Kingsley to end the inning and send the game into extra innings.
Wallace again walked with one out to give her 56 on the season. Canfield followed the walk in the top of the eighth and soared a ball to centerfield. However, it was caught on the warning track for out number two. Thomas then struck out Oprzedek on four pitches and ended the top of the eighth.
The top of the order started the bottom of the eighth for the Tigers and Crane flied out to centerfield. Canfield made an excellent play on the ball and jumped up to make out number one. Beasley walked Marston but rallied to strikeout Hudson looking. Randazzo flied out to end the inning. The score stood at 1-1.
Missouri’s starter, Thomas, retired all six batters she faced in the ninth and 10th. Amanda Summerford grounded to the shortstop, Genovese, and was thrown out by a step to end the 10th inning.
Beasley answered and worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the tenth, striking out Kingsley in the process. This was the 12th strikeout of the day for the sophomore.
Her sophomore classmate, Wallace, started the 11th inning with a double off of the rightfield wall. Canfield followed the double with a single up the middle and that put runners on corners for Oprzedek. She belted a two-run double into the rightfield gap that gave Arkansas a 3-1 lead. The junior advanced to third on the play as the ball was fumbled in the outfield. That base proved to be huge as Navarro followed the double with a sacrifice fly, making the score 4-1, Arkansas.
Beasley came back out and slammed the door on the game. She retired Marston and Hudson by virtue of a popout to start the inning. After a single to Randazzo, Roth flied out and the Razorbacks won the game, 4-1.
Next up, the series concludes with game three. The series finale will be on Sunday at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPNU.
Mississippi State Holds On for Series Clinching Win Over Rebs
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Eight out of nine starters for the Mississippi State softball team either drove in a run or scored one as the Bulldogs (26-14, 5-9 SEC) escaped with a 6-5 win against arch-rival Ole Miss (21-25, 2-15 SEC) on a picture-perfect Saturday afternoon at the MSU Softball Stadium. With the series-clinching victory, the Maroon and White extended its winning streak to seven against the Rebels, while Head Coach Vann Stuedeman improved to 11-0 all-time against in-state foes.
“It is always nice to clinch a series against the rival,” Stuedeman said. “We will be looking to come out and fight hard tomorrow.”
Senior Jessica Cooley knocked in a pair on a 2-for-3 day, while fellow senior Shelby Fisher finished 1-for-3 with an RBI as well. The No. 2-4 spots in the order were also productive, with the junior trio of Jessica Offutt (1-for-4, two runs), Logan Foulks (1-for-3, run) and Heidi Shape
(0-for-3) recording one RBI each.
Stephanie Becker earned the starting assignment in the circle for State, becoming MSU’s all-time career strikeout leader in the first at-bat of the game. The senior southpaw struck out three in as many innings on the afternoon and is now 409 for her career, surpassing Autumn Anderson’s mark of 406 fanned batters in the late 1990s. Becker upped her overall record to 7-6 in her final campaign, while junior righty Alison Owen picked up her SEC-leading fourth save of the season with two innings of work in relief. Freshman Jacey Punches bridged the two pitchers, tossing two innings of shutout ball.
State wasted no time scoring in the first, scoring two runs on three hits. Offutt reached base thanks to a fielder’s choice, then stole second to give MSU its first runner in scoring position. The speedster from Madison, Ala., tapped the dish easily when Foulks pushed her in with a double to the gap in left. Foulks then scored thanks to a Cooley single to center field, making the score 2-0 in favor of the Maroon and White.
Ole Miss responded with a run in the top of the second, before giving up four more runs themselves in the bottom of the inning. With the bases loaded, Offutt tallied an RBI single, Shape drove in a run with a 3-2 walk, Cooley was hit by a pitch for an RBI the hard way and Fisher sliced one up the middle for an RBI base knock.
The Rebels scored twice in the fourth and again in the seventh to cut the deficit to one, but ultimately fell short in their comeback attempt.
Mississippi State will try to strike out cancer Sunday in the series finale starting at 1 p.m. The Bulldogs will wear pink and the first 100 fans will receive pink Nerf softballs to raise awareness in the fight against breast cancer.
Glasco Leads Georgia Past South Carolina
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Geri Ann Glasco hit three, two-run home runs to lead the University of Georgia softball team to a 7-6 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday, April 13 at Beckham Field in Columbia, S.C. The win improved Georgia to 30-14 on the season and 7-7 in the Southeastern Conference. The win also snapped a seven-game SEC skid. South Carolina dropped to 22-18 on the season, including a 2-12 mark in league play.
The Bulldogs got each of their runs by way of home runs. In addition to Glasco’s three home run performance, Kaylee Puailoa hit a solo homer that gave the Bulldogs the lead in the top of the fifth. It was the 20th time this season that Georgia has hit at least two home runs in a single game.
Morgan Montemayor got the start for the Bulldogs and improved to 9-6 on the year. She allowed six runs, only two of which were earned, on seven hits and three walks in 6.1 innings of work. She also struck out two batters. Montemayor threw brilliantly, allowing just two hits after the second inning. Chelsea Wilkinson earned the first save of her career, throwing the final 0.2 innings and not allowing a hit. Audrey Broyles got the start for South Carolina and suffered the loss to drop to 7-7 on the season. She allowed five runs on nine hits in 4.1 innings. Julie Sarratt came on in relief and threw the final 2.2 innings. She allowed two runs on two hits and a walk.
The Bulldogs got things started early as Paige Wilson led off the game with a double off the top of the fence in right center. Glasco then launched an 0-1 pitch high over the fence in right field for a home run that put Georgia up 2-0.
After a leadoff double and an error put runners at the corners for South Carolina in bottom of the first, Kristen Struett made it a 2-1 game with an infield single. South Carolina added two more runs on a RBI-single by Ashlyn Masters that made it a 3-2 game. A fielding error at short allowed the fourth run of the inning to score, before a groundout ended the inning.
With two outs in the top of the second, Wilson laced a single through the left side to put a runner on first Glasco. For the second time in as many at bats, Glasco belted a two-run home run that tied the game 4-4.
After a pair of scoreless innings, Puailoa broke the 4-4 tie with a mammoth go-ahead home run off the scoreboard in straightaway center field that gave the Bulldogs a 5-4 lead in the top of the fifth. The home run, Puailoa’s 14th of the season, chased starter Broyles from the circle, as the Gamecocks turned to Sarratt, who recorded the final two outs of the inning.
Georgia gave Montemayor some cushion in the top of the seventh inning. Wilson took the first pitch she saw off her hip to put a runner at first for Glasco. Glasco followed with her third two-run home run of the game that extended Georgia’s lead to 7-4. The home run was her team and SEC-leading 16th of the season.
The Gamecocks looked to threaten in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases with no outs. A two-run double to left center by Struett made it 7-6 game. Wilkinson came in to pitch following the hit, which left runners at second and third with one away. She recorded the second out of the inning by inducing an infield fly. With the tying run at third, the base runner was called out on the look-back rule, which sealed the Georgia’s 7-6 win.
No. 13 LSU Wins Slugfest with No. 10 Texas A&M, 9-6
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 13 LSU softball team used RBIs from seven players which included A.J. Andrews’ go-ahead RBI single during the eighth inning to emerge with a 9-6 victory over No. 10 Texas A&M Saturday as 1,959 fans gathered at the Aggie Softball Complex.
With victory, LSU (34-9, 10-4 SEC) evened the three-game series with the Aggies (34-8, 6-7 SEC) and maintained sole possession of first place in the SEC Western Division standings.
“Our players have shown fight all season long, and we’re fortunate to have a lot of it,” head coach Beth Torina said. “Our players are very mentally tough. You’re never safe with A&M’s offense, that’s for sure. They’re capable of doing a lot of amazing things. Our players stayed within the offensive plan a lot better, stayed discipline and got the timely hits today. They did a great job of manufacturing runs and used a lot of different way to score runs.”
After Texas A&M rallied for a quartet of runs in the seventh inning to even the tally at 6-6, the Tigers answered right back with three runs during the eight inning.
Tammy Wray drew one of her three walks to start the uprising. Pinch runner Alex Boulet was inserted into the game and moved to second base on Rikki Alcarez’s sacrifice bunt. The Tigers received a Simone Heyward slap single to put runners on corners.
Andrews followed with a bunt single down the first base line to plate Boulet after Heyward stole second base to vault the Tigers ahead, 7-6. On a 2-1 offering, Jacee Blades cranked a RBI single to right field to extend the LSU lead to 8-6. Allison Falcon was hit-by-a-pitch to fill the bases, and Sandra Simmons was issued a four-pitch free pass to make it 9-6.
“We were so pumped up going into today’s game, and we knew that we needed to string those hits together to win after yesterday’s tough loss,” Andrews said. “We knew Texas A&M is a great team. When they did come back, it fired us up to get those runs back that we gave up. Jacee and I really feed off of each other. I’m so excited when she gets a hit, and I know she feels the same way about me. We want each other to do well, and I think that helps us out a lot.”
Rachele Fico racked up four strikeouts and fired two frames of one-hit relief to improve to 21-7 on the season. The senior right-hander mowed down the side around a two-out Emily Albus triple in the eighth inning.
“Rachele did an excellent job of shutting the door when her team needed her the most,” Torina said. “It’s good to see her come in during a relief situation and be able to handle the situation. I think we’re getting back on the right track with where she needs to be.”
LSU grabbed a 2-0 advantage in the second inning as the Tigers scored both of their runs courtesy of bases loaded walks drawn by Wray and Alcaraz. Falcon knocked a leadoff double to left field, Simmons reached on a fielder’s choice and Kloss drew a walk to load the bases.
The Aggies charged back with two runs of their own during the home half of the inning. Jenna Stark put A&M on the scoreboard, and ripped a solo home run to left field. Cali Lanphear and Amber Garza connected walks before Taran Tyler provided the equalizer with a slow-rolling single through the middle.
The Aggies filled the bases after an Albus walk, but Simmons made a play on a Cassie Tysarczyk hard ground ball on the run going towards the 3-4 hole. Fully extended, Simmons dove and touched the first base bag for the third out to keep the ledger at 2-2.
LSU responded with a two-out rally in the third inning. Simmons’ walk and stolen base set up Kellsi Kloss’ RBI single off the centerfield fence which enabled the Tigers to regain a 3-2 edge.
The Tigers batted around the lineup and tacked on three more runs during the fourth inning. The bottom of the order ignited the rally as Wray walk followed by Alcaraz and Heyward singles to fill the sacks.
Andrews and Bianka Bell collected RBIs on ground balls to make it 5-2. For Bell, it was her 10th straight game with a RBI. The program record was previously held by Sara Fitzgerald and Stephanie Hill. They drove home RBIs in nine consecutive games during the 2003 and 2004 seasons, respectively. Simmons forced in another run on a bases loaded walk to push the LSU advantage to 6-2.
Ashley Czechner posted four consecutive zeros and notched five strikeouts her third time through the powerful A&M lineup. She came away with a no decision in her six-plus innings of action.
The Aggies rallied for a quartet runs with no outs in the seventh inning. The key hits were a Nicole Morgan two-run double off the right field fence followed by a Mel Dumezich two-run dinger to straight-away centerfield to draw A&M even at 6-6.
“Ashley threw great once again and did a great job of keeping them off-balanced for a majority of the game,” Torina said. “She’s really battled, and I wanted to give her a chance to win the ballgame. She was still throwing good pitches and her misses were really close. A&M is a tough offensive team to face for seven innings.
Lauren Ainsley was tagged with the loss and fell to 10-3 on the season. She pitched an inning-plus to start the game before giving way to Dumezich for three frames. The sophomore right-hander returned to the circle and sat down nine consecutive LSU batters before surrendering a three-run eighth.
“It’s definitely going to be a battle to win the series tomorrow,” Torina said. “It’s going to take us being mentally tough again. We’re going to have to continue to do a majority of the detailed things that we did today to be successful.”