ATHENS, Ga. - Chelsea Wilkinson struck out a career-high 12 batters as the University of Georgia softball team handed the No. 13/13 Texas A&M Aggies a 3-1 loss in the series opener on Friday, April 19 at Jack Turner Stadium in Athens, Ga. With the win, Georgia improves to 32-15 on the season, including a 9-7 mark in Southeastern Conference play. Texas A&M drops to 35-10 overall and 6-9 in league play.
Wilkinson went the distance for the Bulldogs in the circle to improve to 5-2 on the year, allowing just one run on three hits. Her 12 strikeouts were the most by a Georgia pitcher this season. Lauren Ainsley suffered the loss for the Aggies to drop to 11-4 on the year in the complete game performance. She gave up three runs, two of which were earned, on six hits and two walks.
Georgia didn’t waste any time getting started, as Niaja Griffin led off the bottom of the first with a single, stole second and moved to third on an errant throw by the catcher on the steal. With a runner at third, Paige Wilson hit a double off the top of the wall in left center that scored Griffin and gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead. Geri Ann Glasco followed with a single through the right side that moved Wilson to third. With runners on, Kaylee Puailoa struck out but reached on a drop third strike and a throwing error by the catcher that scored Wilson and made it a 2-0 game.
Texas A&M looked to answer in the top of the second, as a walk and a single put runners on with one away. Wilkinson settled in and got the final two batters to strike out swinging to end the inning.
After two scoreless innings, the Aggies got on the board after Jenna Stark was hit by a pitch with one away. A walk moved to her to second before Meagan May singled up the middle to score Stark and make it a 2-1 game. Wilkinson struck out the final batter to the inning and any threat of another Aggie run.
Georgia tacked on an insurance run in the sixth to extend its lead to 3-1. Tina Iosefa led off the inning with a walk. Pinch runner Maya Branch moved up on a Tess Sito single up the middle. With one away and a runner at third, Samantha LaZear recorded an infield single that allowed Branch to score, as she beat out the throw to the plate.
Wilkinson was near flawless through the final three innings, allowing just two base runners. Texas A&M’s best chance came in the top of the sixth, as a pair of runners reached with one out. Wilkinson allowed her defense to work behind her, as the final two outs were recorded to end the inning.
Georgia and Texas A&M will play the second game of the weekend series tomorrow, April 20, at 4 p.m.
Beasley Fans 11 as Arkansas Downs Kentucky
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. –The University of Arkansas softball team defeated the No. 17 Kentucky Wildcats,4-1 , on Friday at Bogle Park.
Arkansas (29-16, 7-9) was led by its sophomore pitcher, Kimmy Beasley, in the win. She tallied 11 strikeouts and gave up one run on four hits. The Foreman, Ark. native also did not walk a batter in the contest. This was Beasley’s fourth game with double-digit strikeouts in her last five appearances.
“It all starts in the circle,” head coach Mike Larabee said. “Kimmy was phenomenal again. She had zero walks in the game, to not have any free runners is great.”
At the plate it was Sierra Bronkey who had the big day. She went 2-for-3 with a homerun and a single. Also homering in the game was Jennifer Rambo, who hit her fourth long-ball of the year in the fourth inning.
“Rambo had a great week swinging the bat in practice,” Larabee said. “She had a really good series against Kentucky last year and got a bomb today. Bronkey also ripped one out of the park.”
Beasley started the game by retiring the first six batters she faced. She struck out Christian Stokes, Griffin Joiner and Nikki Sagermann in the process. The three strikeouts in the first two innings gave her 116 on the season.
Bronkey used the momentum from the sophomore pitcher and notched a one-out single in the bottom of the second. She advanced to second after an error from Sylver Samuel on the play. Ashley Martindale came in to pinch-run, but the Hogs left her stranded and the game remained scoreless.
Arkansas continued to receive a dominate performance from Beasley in the third. She struck out the side to give her six in the game.
The Hogs drew back-to-back walks from Jayme Gee and Devon Wallace with one out in the bottom of the third. However, Arkansas was unable to plate either runner and the score stood at zeros.
Beasley struck out her fifth straight batter, Maisie Steed, to start the fourth. The streak continued on the next batter as she gunned down Stokes on three pitches. The streak ended two pitches later as Joiner beat out an infield single. She moved to third on the next pitch when Lauren Cumbess singled off the centerfield wall. Kentucky singled for the third batter in a row as Alice O’Brien hit home Joiner and broke the scoreless tie.
Bronkey belted her second hit of the game, a homerun over the rightfield fence, with one out in the fourth inning. Her solo-shot tied the game at one and gave her two long-balls on the year. Two batters later, Rambo gave the Hogs the lead when she smashed a solo-homerun over the centerfield wall. Arkansas led Kentucky, 2-1, after four innings of play.
The Razorback starter, Beasley, notched two more strikeouts in the top of the fifth to give her 10 in the game. This was the fourth time in her last five appearances that she tallied double-digit strikeouts.
UK got a one-out single from Joiner and then Cumbess skied a ball to centerfield in the next at bat. Stephanie Canfield made a leaping catch for out number two, banging her head on the wall in the process. After a quick checkup from athletic trainer Brian Buening, she stayed in the game. Beasley got O’Brien to fly out and end the top of the sixth.
Claire Clark blooped a one-out single to leftfield in the bottom of the sixth. However, she was retired on the next at-bat when Nicole Schroeder grounded into a fielder’s choice. Gee walked to put two on for Wallace. She drilled a ball to the centerfield warning track and it was dropped by Samuel. Two runs scored on the play to give Arkansas a 4-1 lead after six.
Beasley came out for the seventh and did not slow down. She worked a 1-2-3 inning to slam the door on the Wildcats and give the Razorbacks a 4-1 win.
Next up, Arkansas continues its series with No. 17 Kentucky with game two. The game is scheduled for Saturday at noon. Be sure to stop by Bogle Park on your way to the Red-White Spring Game.
Fifth Inning Surge Lifts Tennessee Over Ole Miss
OXFORD, Miss. --Lauren Gibson hit a homer and drove in four, Raven Chavanne went 4-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs and No. 2 Tennessee poured on nine runs in the fifth to bury Ole Miss, 12-4, in five innings.
Tennessee (40-6, 13-3 SEC) scored two in the first, one in the third and nine in the fifth to win its 17th consecutive game. Ole Miss (22-27, 2-17 SEC) scored three in the first and one in the fourth.
Gibson belted a two-run shot in the first and finished 3-for-4 at the plate with two doubles and four RBIs. Chavanne was a perfect at the plate, going 4-for-4 with one double, one homer, three RBIs and four runs scored. She also recorded one stolen base. Melissa Davin was 2-for-3 with one double and two RBIs and one run. Melissa Brown was 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run.
Ivy Renfroe (16-3) earned the win after striking out three and allowing four runs over five innings.
Carly Hummel took the loss after allowing nine runs (seven earned) over 4.2 frames. Erinn Jayjohn allowed three earned runs over one third of an inning of relief.
Tennessee jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Raven Chavanne opened the game with a single through the left side. Two batters later, Lauren Gibson sent a 2-2 pitch from Carly Hummel over the wall in right field for a two-run shot. The homer was Gibson's 12 on the season, giving her 39 for her career and sole possession of second place on UT's all-time list behind only Tonya Callahan (51).
Ole Miss answered in a big way with three runs in the bottom of the first. With two outs, Allison Brown and Londen Ladner hit back-to-back singles. Madi Osias followed with a three-run homer to center field to give the Rebels a 3-2 lead.
In the top of the third, Gibson game through with a big one-out RBI double to right center, plating Chavanne to even the game at 3-3.
Ole Miss climbed back in front, 4-3, in the bottom of the fourth, when Osias sent a one-out, 2-1 pitch over the wall in left center.
Tennessee's nine-run fifth was the difference in the game. Chavanne led things off with a double to left center. Three batters later, Cheyanne Tarango was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Davin stepped up and sent a 2-2 pitch screaming to left center for a two-RBI double with Tarango scoring a third run on a fielding error on the relay to short. UT pulled ahead, 6-4. Brown followed with an RBI single to center and Hannah Akamine clubbed an RBI double to right center, both on full counts. Rainey Gaffin was hit by a pitch in the next at-bat and Tory Lewis re-entered to pinch run. Chavanne then slammed a three-run jack to right field to push UT's lead to 11-4. After a Kat Dotson triple to right center, Gibson knocked an RBI double to left center to round out UT's scoring. All nine Tennessee runs were scored with two outs.
Tennessee and Ole Miss will square off for the second game of the series on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET. The game will feature a free live video broadcast on OleMissSports.com and a free live audio on UTSports.com with Brian Rice on the call.
South Carolina Rallies to Top Auburn
AUBURN, Ala. – South Carolina junior third baseman Codee Yeske came through with a leadoff homer in the seventh, breaking a tie against Auburn (27-19, 6-13 SEC) and helping the Gamecocks (24-19, 3-13 SEC) take a 8-4 win from the Tigers on Friday night at Jane B. Moore Field.
Yeske launched the first pitch of the seventh over the scoreboard in left, giving South Carolina a 4-3 lead. That grew to 8-3 after two-out, two-RBI singles by redshirt sophomore pitcher Julie Sarratt and sophomore pinch hitter Olivia Lawrence. Both hits came after the Gamecocks loaded the bases. Auburn’s Brooke Lathan hit a homer with two down in the bottom of the frame to make the final score 8-4.
Auburn jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first, with Lathan driving in the first run in the form of Emily Carosone on her triple to right center. Lathan scored on Caitlin Jordan’s RBI single.
The Gamecocks tied it in the third on junior second baseman Dana Hathorn’s two-out, two-run homer. That scored Yeske after she started the inning with a smash that went off the Tiger third baseman’s glove to the shortstop, whose throw ended up down the right field line after she corralled the deflection. Redshirt senior first baseman Kelley Dillon made a 3-2 Gamecock lead with her homer to straightaway center, the first of her South Carolina career.
The scored stayed that way until two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Kelsey Bogaards started the frame with a walk, moved to second on Caitlin Schultze’s sacrifice bunt and went to third on Branndi Melero’s grounder to second. Morgan Estell singled up the middle to plate Bogaards and tie the game at 3-3.
Sarratt (7-5) went the distance for South Carolina, striking out three while giving up four earned runs on eight hits and three walks. Marcy Harper (15-8) took the loss, allowing eight runs, six earned, on nine hits and three walks in 6.2 innings.
Hathorn and junior right fielder Chelsea Hawkins both had two hits for the Gamecocks, with Hathorn adding two runs scored and her two-run homer and Hawkins posting a double. Dillon and Yeske also homered for South Carolina. Lathan went 3-for-4 with a triple, a homer, two runs and two RBI for the Tigers. Jordan also had two hits and a RBI for Auburn.
The two teams meet again on Saturday, with first pitch set for 5 p.m. CDT to accommodate ESPNU’s national broadcast.
Thomas Pitches Mizzou Past LSU
BATON ROUGE, La. – The No. 12 Mizzou softball team was pitched to a strong 6-1 victory over No. 11 LSU by senior pitcher Chelsea Thomas (Pleasantville, Iowa) at Tiger Park on Friday. The two-time All-American Tiger became Mizzou’s all-time wins leader with the complete game (7.0 IP) performance, recording 13 strikeouts while allowing two hits and zero walks. Mizzou was led offensively by senior Nicole Hudson (Webb, City, Mo.), who batted 3-for-5 with a double.
The Tigers improved to 25-6 overall and 10-5 in Southeastern Conference play with the win, while LSU dropped to 36-10 (11-5 SEC) with the loss. Thomas improved to 16-4 in the circle, her 46th career 10+-strikeout game. She out-dueled LSU’s Rachele Fico (22-8), who threw 7.0 innings, allowing nine hits, three runs and issuing six walks to three strikeouts.
After two scoreless innings to start the game, Mizzou started a two-out rally in the top of the third with consecutive singles from senior catcher Jenna Marston (St. Louis, Mo.) and Hudson. Sophomore 3B Angela Randazzo (Poway, Calif.) worked a walk off Fico to load the bases for sophomore 1B Kelsea Roth (Yorba Linda, Calif.). The slugger got the count to 3-0 before getting hit by a pitch, bringing home Marston for a 1-0 Mizzou lead.
Two hits, a single and double, helped LSU even the score in the bottom of the fourth inning. A groundout to Marston in front of home plate scored the LSU run from third base for a 1-1 game.
Hudson helped start Missouri’s next scoring spree in the top of the fifth inning, hitting a leadoff infield single. Junior UTL Brianna Corwin (Kansas City, Mo.) pinch ran for Hudson and was immediately knocked in by Randazzo, who launched a double to right center. A Roth single to left field brought home Randazzo to put the Tigers up 3-1.
Marston and Hudson started Mizzou’s scoring again in the top of the sixth, with Marston singling to left field before Hudson doubled to right field. Roth followed with a walk and with two outs, sophomore Corrin Genovese (East Amherst, N.Y.) looped a ball out into left center field that was dropped on a sliding catch attempt. The error resulted in three runs scoring for the Tigers and a 6-1 advantage.
Thomas recorded her 13th strikeout in the bottom of the seventh and induced a groundout to freshman 2B Emily Crane (Troy, Mo.) to end the game and secure her place on top of Mizzou’s all-time wins chart. She pushed out of a tie with former Tiger standout Teresa Wilson (1980-83).
Marston finished the game going 2-for-3 at the plate, with a walk. Roth finished the game with a team-high two RBI. Redshirt freshman Carlie Rose (Nixa, Mo.) picked up two walks to help Mizzou’s cause.
Game two in the Tigers vs. Tigers matchup is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday. Sunday's finale is set for 1 p.m. with live coverage on Cox Sports Television (CST).
Mississippi State Notches Top-Five Win for Second Time in Two Weeks
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Twelve days after defeating No. 3 Florida on the road, the Mississippi State softball team (29-14, 7-9 SEC) made another national statement, defeating No. 4 Alabama (38-7, 10-6 SEC), 3-2, Friday night at Rhoads Stadium. The win made it the second time in school history the Bulldogs defeated the defending national champion as well as two top-five teams in the same season (both 2002).
“Credit a great Alabama team,” Stuedeman said. “It was a great ballgame tonight. I could not be more proud of our seniors for getting the victory. I am proud of our team and the Bulldog Nation.”
Senior left-hander Stephanie Becker earned the starting assignment, striking out seven in five strong innings of work. The southpaw improved her overall record to 9-6 in her final campaign, giving up two runs (one earned). Junior righty Alison Owen earned her SEC-leading fifth save of the season with two shutout stanzas to end the game.
“Tip your hat to Stephanie Becker,” Stuedeman said. “What a great game she threw.”
Junior Jessica Offutt continued her torrid pace with a pair of hits and two RBIs, while fellow junior Heidi Shape went 1-for-3 with one driven in. Senior Jessica Cooley (1-for-3), redshirt sophomore Julia Echols
(1-for-3) and freshman Kayla Winkfield (0-for-1, walk) scored the three runs for the Maroon and White.
After two scoreless innings, Echols jumpstarted the Bulldog offense with a leadoff single to left to start the third. Echols advanced to second on a passed ball and then stole third for her fifth swipe of the season. Winkfield joined her teammate on the base paths thanks to a 3-1 walk and stole second to put another MSU runner in scoring position.
With two outs, Offutt pinched a single through the right side of the infield, scoring Echols and Winkfield for an early 2-0 lead.
State added the game-winning run in the top of the fourth. Cooley went shopping at the gap in right field, ending up underneath the tag of the Alabama third baseman for her second career triple. Shape stepped up to the dish next and drove in Cooley with a hard-and-low single up the middle.
Alabama scored its first run of the game with a solo homer by cleanup batter Molly Fichtner in the bottom of the fourth, and plated its last run of the game with an RBI single by Kaila Hunt in the fifth. Hunt, an All-American, struck out with the tying run on base to end the game.
“If we focus on playing in the moment, we can do special things,”
The Bulldogs, who are riding a six-game winning streak, including five straight in the SEC, return to action Saturday at Alabama for a 4:30 p.m. first pitch. Sunday’s 1 p.m. series finale will broadcast live on Fox Sports South, with Dave Neal calling the game and Cheri Kempf analyzing the action.
For live in-game updates of the series, follow the program on Twitter at @MStateSB. For pictures, like the team on Facebook at Facebook.com/MStateSB and visit the team's Instagram account at MStateSB. For pregame and postgame video, check out MSU's official YouTube channel at YouTube.com/HailState.