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ATHENS, Ga. – The University of Georgia softball team dropped an 8-5 decision to the USC Upstate Spartans on Wednesday, April 17, at Jack Turner Stadium in Athens, Ga. With the loss, the Bulldogs drop to 31-15 on the season, while USC Upstate improves to 36-5.
Geri Ann Glasco suffered the loss for Georgia to fall to 17-6 on the year after coming on in relief in the fifth inning and throwing the final three innings for the Bulldogs. She allowed four runs, only three of which were earned, on three hits and two walks. She also struck out two. Chelsea Wilkinson got the start for the Bulldogs, allowing four runs, only two of which were earned, on one hits in four innings of work. She also struck out three batters and set down the first 12 batters she faced. Anna Miller threw the final six innings for USC Upstate to get the win and improve to 4-1 on the year. She allowed one run on six hits and struck out five batters. Jamie Ujarvi started in the circle for the Spartans and gave up four runs on five hits in one inning of work.
After a pair of strikeouts and a groundout retired the Spartan side in the top of the first, Niaja Griffin led off the home half of the inning with a single to shallow center and moved to third when Glasco singled to right center. With runners at the corners, Kaylee Puailoa delivered a double off the wall in right center that scored Griffin and Glasco to give the Bulldogs an early 2-0 lead. Puailoa was thrown out trying to make it to third for the second out of the inning. A popup ended the Georgia first.
Wilkinson threw a perfect second inning before Tess Sito led off the bottom of the frame with a single and then stole second. Christine Olney tripled off the center field wall to score Sito and gave Georgia a 3-0 lead. With two away, Griffin took a pitch between the pitcher and catcher and beat out the throw to first for an infield single that scored Olney and extended Georgia’s lead to 4-0.
A double off the wall in right center sparked a five-run top of the fifth for USC Upstate. After a walk and a wild pitch that put runners in scoring position, the Spartans made it a 4-2 game on a Georgia fielding error. Glasco came in to pitch for the Bulldogs with runners at second and third with no outs and hit a batter to load the bases. A groundout to second by Lindsay Kelly scored two runs for the Spartans and allowed them to tie the game at 4-4. With two outs and a runner at second, Ericka Harris singled down the left field line and drove in pinch runner Hayley Reinfeld, putting USC Upstate on top 5-4. Glasco induced a groundout to end the inning.
Glasco led off the bottom of the sixth with a single through the right side and was pinch run for by Tiesha Reed. A groundout by Puailoa moved Reed into scoring position but the final batter struck out to end the inning, leaving the tying run at second.
USC Upstate added three runs in the top of the seventh when a walk put a runner on for Harris, who drove the first pitch she saw over the left field wall for a two-run home run that put the Spartans on top 7-4. Shellie Robinson followed with a solo home run to center that made it an 8-4 game.
Down to their final two outs of the game, Anna Swafford drove a 0-1 pitch high and deep over the left center field wall that allowed the Bulldogs to get a run back and cut the lead to 8-5. Griffin recorded her third hit of the game but was left aboard as groundout ended the game.
Georgia will host No. 13/13 Texas A&M in a three-game Southeastern Conference series that is set to begin on Friday, April 19 at 6 p.m.
Gators Blanks Seminoles in Tallahassee
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A freshman Taylor Schwarz (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) two-run round-tripper in the second got things started for the No. 3/4 Gators en route to the squad’s 11th straight win over the No. 23 Seminoles with an 8-0 mercy-rule victory at JoAnne Graf Field in Tallahassee Wednesday.
Florida added three runs in the third, two in the fourth and one in the fifth to enforce the run rule and sophomore righty Alyssa Bache (Clearwater, Fla.) backed it up in the circle with a two-hit shutout to improve to 8-0 this season. For Bache, the shutout was her fifth of the season, the Gators’ 15th.
Florida served FSU its largest margin of defeat this season and first run rule of the year behind Schwarz’s 2-for-2 performance, including a career-high four RBI. Junior Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) and senior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) were both 2-for-3 on the day in the second Sunshine Showdown of the season to boost the Gators’ overall record to 42-5 overall, the first team to 42 wins in the country, with their first-ever shutout in Tallahassee.
The Share A Little Sunshine Showdown, Florida vs. Florida State Game was presented Wednesday evening by Visit Florida. Share a Little Sunshine is Visit Florida’s campaign to encourage all Floridians to invite their friends and families to Florida to boost tourism and help our state’s economy.
Freshman Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) swiped her 30th base of the season in the fourth inning, one shy of the single-season record 31, while sophomore Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) was hit with a pitch in the top of the fifth to set the new single-season team record with 60 HBP. Also in record-book talk, a freshman Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.) triple in the third brought UF within one of tying a single-season record of 17 set in 2003.
Florida delivered 10 hits, as six Gators connected in the mid-week clash, while UF drew four walks on the evening.
After a scoreless first frame for both squads, the Gators were quick to get on the board in the contest with a two spot in the top of the second, thanks to Schwarz’s sixth blast of the season. Tofft sent a one-out single up the middle to set up the two-run jack for the 2-0 Florida lead early. For Schwarz, the long ball marked her second in the last three games and the Gators never looked back.
With zeros on the board for the home team in the bottom of the second, Florida struck with a three-run second to keep the momentum. Merritt led off the top of the third for the Gators with her fourth triple of the season, inching the Gators one triple closer to the single-season school record 17 with Florida’s 16th of the year. Next up, Horton sent a hard-hit single down the left field line to plate Merritt for the 3-0 lead.
Tofft kept it rolling in the frame with her second hit of the day before both Horton and Tofft moved into scoring position on a Perry wild pitch. Schwarz connected with her second hit of the evening, a single up the middle for two more Gator runs and the 5-0 UF advantage after three.
In the top of the fourth, Horton ripped a two-out, two-RBI double – her ninth of the season – over the third baseman’s head into left, plating two more runs for the Orange and Blue. Stewart sped to first on a one-out bunt single before Merritt walked to set up Horton’s second hit of the night for the 7-0 Gator lead.
A one-run fifth frame, including Medina’s HBP, UF’s 60th of the season, gave the Orange and Blue the eight-run rule, thanks to a Stewart one-out bases-loaded chopper to shallow left field for the 8-0 differential. A sophomore Briana Little (Middleburg, Fla.) fielder’s choice, followed by Medina’s hit-by-pitch and a sophomore Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) walk juiced the bags and turned the lineup over for Stewart’s RBI single. A fielder’s choice and pop up prevented the Gators from adding insurance in the inning.
Bache went to work in the bottom of the fifth, preserving the eight-run margin despite a Celeste Gomez two-out double for FSU’s second hit of the game. A groundout to Stewart at second sealed the deal for the Orange and Blue.
Starter Monica Perry (16-8) shouldered the loss in the circle for Florida State, as UF saw three different Seminole Hurlers. Perry had six Ks, but gave up nine hits and seven runs before Bailey Schinella and Jessica Nori combined for an inning of relief.
Kentucky Hits Its Way to Sweep of MTSU
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 17 University of Kentucky softball team scored five or more runs in an inning three times, including a six-run second inning in game two, to sweep its doubleheader against Middle Tennessee State University on Wednesday with a 7-4 victory in game one and 13-1 triumph in game two. Both games were played at Blue Raider Softball Stadium in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Home runs led Kentucky (33-12, 9-6 Southeastern Conference) in game two as the Wildcats blasted five home runs to break the school record for most homers in a game. Sophomore catcher Griffin Joiner started the home run assault, blasting a leadoff shot in the second inning before junior infielder Krystal Smith hit a two-run homer later that inning. Junior pitcher/infielder Lauren Cumbess hit a two-run home run in the third inning before freshman infielder Ansley Smith hit consecutive two-run roundtrippers in the third and fourth innings to tie and break the school record.
In all, the Wildcats posted 15 hits in the game, including three doubles and 12 RBI. Cumbess, senior Alice O’Brien, Joiner and Ansley Smith each had multi-hit games with Cumbess going 2-for-4 with two RBI, extending her hitting streak to a career-best 11 games. Joiner was 3-for-3 with three RBI, while Ansley Smith went 2-for-2 with four RBI and two runs scored. O’Brien, who was playing in her hometown for the first time collegiately, went 2-for-3.
Freshmen Christian Stokes, Kelsey Nunley and Sylver Samuel each had hits in the game as did Sarah Frazer and Emily Gaines.
Freshman pitcher Katie Henderson led Kentucky in the circle in game two, throwing a complete game, allowing one earned run on five hits with two strikeouts. The native of Chattanooga, Tenn., is now 3-1 on the year.
MTSU started the scoring in game two by getting a RBI single to leftfield to Laura Dukes to score Kayla Toney, who started the rally with a double to left-centerfield. Henderson got out of the jam with a strikeout and groundout.
The Blue Raiders didn’t have the lead for long as Joiner blasted a leadoff home run in the top of the second inning to tie the game at 1-1. The rally continued as junior Ginny Carroll was walked on four pitches, bringing up Krystal Smith, who drilled her second home run of the season to left-centerfield to give UK a 3-1 lead. Samuel then reached on a fielder’s choice, stealing second and scoring when Stokes hit a double off the wall in centerfield, later scoring when Cumbess reached on a double. O’Brien then singled to rightfield to put runners on the corners for Joiner, who collected her second hit of the inning to drive in Cumbess and give Kentucky a 6-1 lead.
Kentucky got five more runs in the third inning on a two-out rally. After back-to-back groundouts to start the inning, Samuel hit an infield single, scoring on a two-run home run by Ansley Smith to give Kentucky a 8-1 lead. After a walk to Stokes and a Blue Raider pitching change, Cumbess hammered her 10th home run of the game to give Kentucky a 10-1 lead. Cumbess was pinch ran for by Kara Howard, who scored on the RBI double by Joiner. A fly out to rightfield ended the rally with UK up 11-1.
Ansley Smith moved Kentucky’s lead to 13-1 in the fourth inning with her second two-run home run of the game. The inning started with a single by Frazer, who scored when Ansley blasted her third home run of the season to leftfield .
Kentucky moved it up to No. 17 in both the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25 and ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 on Tuesday. Last week, the Wildcats were 18th in the USA Today/NFCA poll and 19th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. Kentucky currently sits seventh in the NCAA.com RPI listings, which is its highest mark in school history. UK has posted seven wins against teams currently ranked or receiving votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll, while it has 11 wins against teams ranked or receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA poll.
Lawson and Co. have played one of the toughest schedules in the country, having played 33 games against top 100 teams in the NCAA RPI rankings. The Wildcats have played 21 games against teams currently ranked or receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and 17 games against teams in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25. UK has 10 games left with teams in those rankings, including one against No. 8/8 Louisville, and three-game sets against No. 11/12 Missouri, No. 4/6 Alabama and Arkansas, who is receiving votes in both.
After the doubleheader, Kentucky will continue the road trip west as it heads to Fayetteville, Ark., for a three-game set with Arkansas, who is receiving votes in both collegiate softball polls after winning its series against top-10 ranked Missouri last weekend. Game one Friday is set for a 7 p.m. ET first pitch, followed by a 1 p.m. ET start on Saturday and 2 p.m. ET start on Sunday. Live stats from all three games will be available on UKathletics.com.
No. 17 Softball Wins Game One Behind Five-Run Seventh Inning: Kentucky won the first game behind a five-run seventh inning to grab a 7-4 victory. Junior pitcher/infielder Lauren Cumbess got the win in the game, throwing the final five innings, allowing four runs on five hits with six strikeouts. Junior Ellen Weaver started in the circle, allowing no runs on three hits. Cumbess moved to 9-5 on the year.
Offensively, UK was led by multi-hit games from sophomore catcher Griffin Joiner, senior outfielder Alice O’Brien and freshman outfielder Sylver Samuel. Joiner was 2-for-4 with an RBI, while O’Brien went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a double. Samuel kept her hot bat alive with two infield singles, while junior Krystal Smith went 1-for-4 with two RBI. Freshman Maisie Steed had a two-RBI double while Cumbess got a hit to extend her career long hitting streak to 10 games.
Kentucky started the scoring in the game, moving to 19-2 when it scores first this season. The inning started with a four-pitch walk to freshman Maisie Steed, who moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Joiner. After Cumbess grounded out for the second out, O’Brien hammered a single through the right side, scoring Steed and giving Kentucky the early lead. O’Brien was thrown out trying to advance to second base to end the inning.
The Wildcats scored a run in the top of the fourth inning to take a 2-0 lead. Junior outfielder Ginny Carroll started the inning with a walk, moving to second on a stolen base and to third on a deep fly out to leftfield by Krystal Smith. After Samuel reached on an infield single, the speedster got caught in a rundown between first and second, allowing Carroll to score when the shortstop threw wildly home. The error moved Samuel to third, but a groundout and a strikeout ended the rally with UK up 2-0.
Middle Tennessee scored a run in the bottom of the fifth inning on a wild pitch. The inning started with a groundout before Nina Dever singled up the middle, moving to second on the walk to Kayla Toney before a groundout to first by LaRi Mitchell put both runners in scoring position. With pinch-hitter Ashley Stassin at the dish, Cumbess threw a wild pitch, scoring Dever to cut the lead to 2-1.
Kentucky added four insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning on a two-run, two-out single by Krystal Smith. The inning started with a double by O’Brien, who was pinch ran for by senior Kara Dill. Freshman Christian Stokes then reached on a fielder’s choice with Dill safe as third. A groundout then moved Stokes into scoring position, setting up Krystal Smith with the single. Ansley Smith then pinch hit for Samuel, reaching on an infield single before Steed doubled to leftfield to score both Smiths and give UK a 6-1 lead. Joiner then singled home Steed with a base hit to leftfield before Cumbess grounded out to shortstop to end the rally.
The Blue Raiders scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. The scoring started with a two-run double by Toney after singles by Samantha Nieves and Dever. Toney then moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on the infield single by Mitchell.
This was the fourth and fifth meetings between Kentucky and MTSU with the UK holding a 3-2 all-time record against the Wildcats. The first meeting between the two schools was a doubleheader in Lexington in 1997 with MTSU taking both games. UK then defeated MTSU in a neutral site game in 1999. This was the first-ever meeting between the two teams in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
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LSU Takes Care of McNeese State
LAKE CHARLES – A.J. Andrews, Jacee Blades and Bianka Bell, the top three hitters in the lineup, combined for a 6-for-10 effort, five runs scored and drove home six RBIs as the No. 11 LSU softball team wrapped up its eight-game road swing with an impressive 7-1 victory over McNeese State Wednesday in-front of a program-record 1,035 fans at Cowgirl Diamond.
For Andrews, her three runs scored equaled a career-best. LSU has won all 23 games this season when Andrews crosses the plate.
Bell cranked her team-leading 11th home run on the season, a three-run shot, to fuel a five-run fourth inning. It marked Bell’s 12th straight outing with a RBI to extend her program record streak.
Simone Heyward, Kellsi Kloss and Sandra Simmons also collected a pair of hits for the Tigers as LSU reached the double-digit hits plateau for the 12th time this season.
Meghan Patterson went the distance in the circle and was touched up for one run on three hits. She notched three strikeouts versus three walks and improved to 6-2 on the season. It was Patterson’s first start since her victory over Southeastern Louisiana on March 26.
“They did a good job, and A.J. Andrews was fantastic today,” head coach Beth Torina said. “What a day she had. A lot of them swung the bat really well especially early in the game. The defense was solid all around, and they communicated well. I thought the defense was setup with Meghan throwing so well on the mound. The better our pitching is, the better our defense is.”
LSU (36-9) has won eight of its last 10 games and has won 25 of 27 all-time meetings versus the Cowgirls, while McNeese State (32-11) was handed only its fourth setback since March 10.
The Tigers dented the scoreboard with a pair of runs during the first and second innings to grab a 2-0 advantage. Andrews dropped a bunt single in-front of the pitcher’s circle, moved to second base on Blades’ sacrifice bunt and raced home on Simmons’ RBI single to left centerfield with two outs.
With two outs, Andrews reached on a fielding error in the second inning. She stole second base and crossed the plate on Blades’ RBI single to right centerfield to make it 2-0.
The Cowgirls drew back to 2-1 on a solo home run courtesy of Ashley Modzelewski to open up the home half of the second inning.
LSU busted the game open and exploded for a five-run fourth inning. Rikki Alcaraz ignited the frame with a one-out double down the right field line. After Heyward dropped a bunt single and moved into scoring position by catching the McNeese State defense out of position, Andrews laced a two-run single to right field to push the lead to 4-1.
Blades tacked on an infield single down the third base line to set up Bell, who cleared the bases and belted a 2-0 offering over the left field scoreboard for a three-run dinger. It was Bell’s eight roundtripper over her last 18 games.
Patterson retired 11 of the final 13 batters she faced to secure the 7-1 victory. The Cowgirls put a pair of runners on-base during the fifth inning, but Alcaraz made a diving stop on a ball up the middle. She stretched her glove to the second base bag to get the force out and the frame’s third out.
“I definitely work extremely hard, and I love it when I get a chance to start,” Patterson said. “The defense behind me was just awesome. I know that I can get those ground ball outs with the drop ball. I just have a lot of confidence out there.”
LSU returns home and welcomes No. 12 Missouri to Tiger Park for a three-game set over the weekend. Game times are set for Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. All three games of the series will be broadcasted by the LSU Sports Radio Network on Country Legends 104.9 FM in Baton Rouge and can be accessed by Geaux Zone subscribers at www.LSUsports.net/live.
Sunday's game will be carried live by Cox Sports Television with Lyn Rollins and retired LSU softball coach Yvette Girouard set to call the action. Friday and Saturday’s contest will have live video available inside the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live.
Every game of LSU softball will have live stats available at LSUsports.net/livestats. Fans can also follow every pitch via live in-game updates at the program's social media outlets @lsusoftball on Twitter and www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball.
The Tiger Park Ticket Office will open 90 prior to the first pitch. Friday’s series opener is the program’s “Pack the Park” game in addition to “Student Point Night. Tickets are available for $1, and the first 1,000 fans receiving koozies.
Saturday’s contest marks the team’s second annual “Strikeout Ovarian Cancer” event where the Tigers will wear teal jerseys in support of the cause. The first 1,500 fans will receive a teal rally towel.
The series finale on Sunday is the program’s annual “Bark in the Park” game. Always a favorite, fans can enjoy the game with their furry friends. All dogs are required to be on a leash at all times and not allowed to go into the seating areas.