LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky freshman pitcher Kelsey Nunley threw seven strong innings, allowing only one hit and no earned runs, while junior infielder Krystal Smith went 2-for-3 at the plate with a home run and two RBI, as the No. 12 Kentucky softball team posted its school-record tying 40th win of the season and clinched its ticket to the NCAA Lexington Regional Finals on Sunday with a 6-2 win over Virginia Tech at John Cropp Stadium.
Kentucky (40-18) now advances to the regional finals on Sunday against either Notre Dame, Virginia Tech or Marshall depending on results from the rest of day two action from the Lexington Regional. The regional final will begin Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. If UK drops the first game of the regional final, a winner-take-all game two will be played at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.
The win for Kentucky was its 40th of the season, tying the school record for most wins in a season. Head coach Rachel Lawson’s 2011 team also had 40 wins en route to advancing to the school’s first ever Super Regional. UK’s win against Virginia Tech was its first in school history over the Hokies in three tries.
This is the third time UK has advanced to a regional final, also accomplishing the feat in 2009 and 2011. The Wildcats lost the first game of the 2009 regional final to Ohio State while it defeated Michigan in game one of the Ann Arbor Regional Final in 2011. The Wildcats are now 10-8 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
Nunley was fantastic in the circle for the second straight game, throwing a complete-game one-hitter, allowing two runs – both unearned – with five strikeouts. For the season, Nunley is now 26-8 with a 2.00 ERA, striking out 185 in 245.1 innings pitched. So far this weekend, Nunley is an impressive 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA, striking out 10 batters in 15 innings pitched while opponents are hitting just .140 against her.
Offensively, Kentucky was paced by Smith and fellow junior first baseman Lauren Cumbess. Smith went 2-for-3 in the game with her third home run of the season and two RBI, while Cumbess blasted her team-best 12th home run of the season to finish 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Freshman outfielder Sylver Samuel was 2-for-3 in the game with a run scored, while sophomore catcher Griffin Joiner was 1-for-3 with a run scored.
Virginia Tech posted two runs in the second inning on one hit and a Kentucky error. Bkaye Smith delivered the two-RBI infield single to tie the game before Nunley retired 16 of the last 17 batters she faced to seal the UK win.
The Hokies started Kelly Heinz in the game, who went 3.1 innings, allowing four runs – three earned – on four hits with four strikeouts. She was relieved in the fourth inning by Maggie Tyler, who worked one inning, allowing two runs – one earned – on two hits with one strikeout. Jasmin Harrell threw the final 2.2 innings of work, allowing no runs on one hit.
Kentucky scored first in the game posting two runs on two hits in the opening inning. After Joiner set the table with a one-out walk, Cumbess stepped to the plate and hit a high-towering fly to leftfield that cleared the fence to give UK a 2-0 lead. Heinz then got a lineout and strikeout to end the inning.
Virginia Tech tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the second inning after starting the frame with two runners on base on a walk and a UK error. Nunley got a strikeout and a groundout for two outs before a hard-hit chopper took a bad bounce away from a UK infielder to score two runs and tie the game 2-2.
UK answered to take the lead back in the third inning on an infield single and two Virginia Tech errors. Samuel started the rally with an infield single back to the pitcher, stealing second and moving to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Dill then hit a soft liner to the Virginia Tech third baseman that went off the infielder’s glove, scoring Samuel to give UK a 3-2 lead.
The Wildcats scored three more runs over the next two innings to take a 6-2 lead and seal the Kentucky victory. UK posted its fourth run on the home run by Smith, who laced a one-out solo shot to leftfield. Smith was also responsible for UK’s two runs in the fifth inning, getting an RBI single to the leftside of the infield with the bases loaded that scored two runs when the shortstop’s throw went wide.
For the latest on UK softball, follow "@UKSoftball" on Twitter or like Kentucky Softball on Facebook.
Arkansas Comes Up Short Against No. 1 Oklahoma
NORMAN, Okla. – The No. 24 University of Arkansas softball team fell to the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners, 10-5, on Saturday in Norman, Okla.
Arkansas (35-19) scored four runs in the top of the sixth inning to cut the lead to one run, but Oklahoma scored four runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning to take control of the game. The loss means that the Hogs will face the winner of Fordham vs. Marist at 6 p.m. tonight.
“I am really proud of our team for the effort,” head coach Mike Larabee said. “We showed a lot of heart to fight back. I am disappointed that we gave up four runs on the other end of the inning. We had a great gameplan and did a great job swinging the bats today.”
The Razorbacks benefited from a two-out, two-run bomb from pinch-hitting Andrea Sullivan in the sixth inning. The senior’s first homerun of the year sparked the momentum for the Hogs.
“I had a great feeling to pinch-hit her,” Larabee said. “She hits lefties really well and I know that if she barrels a ball up, it is going to go far.”
The five runs allowed by Oklahoma starter Keilani Ricketts tied a season high. Amanda Geile had a nice day at the plate and finished 2-for-3 with a double, a homerun and was hit by a pitch. Clarisa Navarro also finished with two hits and two RBI. Stephanie Canfield scored a run and went 2-for-3 after a 3-for-3 effort in last night’s game.
“From the middle of February this team has never quit,” Larabee said. “There is no quit in this team, we have heart. This team will find a way to hang in there and I am really proud of them. We have to get momentum in our next game because we are going to be facing a team that is coming off a win.”
Arkansas loaded the bases in the top of the first starting with a two-out infield single from Chloe Oprzedek. Geile was then pegged in the back and Canfield beat out an infield single to load the bags. Sierra Bronkey worked a 2-1 count but eventually grounded out to third base and all three runners were left stranded.
Lauren Chamberlain reached on an error to start the bottom of the first, she advanced to second on the dropped infield popup. She was bunted to third base in the Sooner’s next at bat by Georgia Casey. Shelby Pendley followed and was hit on the arm with a 3-2 count. This put runners at the corners for Keilani Ricketts. She worked an 11-pitch at-bat and blooped a single into centerfield, this scored Chamberlain from third. After a popout from Jessica Shults, Brittany Williams notched an RBI-single of her own to make it 2-0, Sooners, after one inning of play. Both runs were unearned in the frame.
After a scoreless second inning from both teams, Arkansas starter Hope McLemore struck out Ricketts to start the bottom of the third. Shults lined out to Bronkey at second for out number two. Brittany Williams took an 0-2 pitch and drove it over the centerfield fence in the next at-bat. Her 13th homer of the year gave Oklahoma a 3-0 lead.
Geile answered on the first pitch of the fourth inning. She soared her sixth homerun of the year over the centerfield wall to cut the lead to two runs. However, the Razorbacks were unable to score any more runs in the fourth as they were retired in order by Ricketts.
McLemore retired Calie Parsons to start the bottom of the fourth. Brianna Turang blooped a one-out single and Chamberlain was intentionally walked to put two runners on for Casey. She also singled and the bases were loaded for Pendley. This ended McLemore’s day in the circle. She went 3.1 innings and gave up one earned run on six hits. Her classmate, Chelsea Cohen came on in relief and got Pendley to ground into a fielder’s choice, Turang was thrown out at home. Ricketts followed and drew a four-pitch walk, Chamberlain crossed the plate to give Oklahoma a 4-1 lead. The senior captain, Cohen, battled back and struck out Shults on a changeup to end the inning.
Devon Wallace drew a two-out walk in the top of the fifth. This was her NCAA-leading 77th walk of the season. She was moved to second on an infield single from Clarisa Navarro two pitches later, but both runners were left stranded.
Williams started the bottom of the fifth with her third hit of the day and legged out a double. Destinee Martinez and Parsons followed with back-to-back walks to load the bases for Turang. She grounded back to Cohen and Williams was thrown out at home. Chamberlain then smoked a single past Navarro and two runners came around to score. Her 71st RBI of the season gave the Sooners a 6-1 lead after five innings. Cohen battled and retired the next two batters, striking out Pendley to end the inning.
Canfield notched her fifth hit of the regional with one-out in the sixth. She came around to score two batters later when Sullivan belted a two-run bomb over the centerfield fence. Her second hit of the year cut the score to 6-3. Amanda Summerford was hit by a pitch and moved to second with a single from Jamye Gee. Wallace followed with a walk to load the bases for Navarro. She delivered with a two-out, two-run single. The two runs cut the lead to one and left two runners on for Oprzedek. She took three good cuts but went down swinging and the side was retired.
Cohen retired the first two batters of the bottom of the sixth before Javen Henson and Martinez tallied back-to-back singles. Parsons followed with a double that plated a Henson and increased the lead to 7-5. Cohen walked Turang on four pitches to load the bases for Chamberlain. She laced a double off of the centerfield wall that scored three runners. Her fifth RBI of the game gave Oklahoma a 10-5 lead.
Geile made sure that the Razorbacks would not go quietly and ripped a double to start the seventh inning. Canfield followed with a walk to put two runners on for Bronkey. She hit into a double-play as Casey tagged out Canfield moving to second. Sullivan lined out to give Oklahoma a 10-5 win.
Next up, the Razorbacks will face the winner of Fordham and Marist. The game will take place at 6 p.m. tonight and will be broadcast on ESPN3.com.
For more information regarding Razorback softball please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Gators Take Down In-State Rival USF
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Junior ace Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) tossed her third career complete-game one-hitter, sophomore designated player Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) was 2-for-2, knocking in a career high and school-record tying seven RBI, and freshman Taylore Fuller (Trenton, Fla.) put on a perfect 2-for-2 display as the No. 2 Gator softball squad (54-7) downed No. USF, 11-1, in five innings to advance to the NCAA Softball Gainesville Regional Championship Sunday at 1 p.m.
Rogers (5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6 K) added her 30th W of the season, improving to 30-5 in the circle for the Orange and Blue with her third one-hitter this season.
With Hampton eliminated from the NCAA Tournament after a 3-0 loss to Georgia Southern in the second game of the day Saturday, the Gators will play the winner of Saturday evening’s elimination game between Georgia Southern and USF.
Florida put up three runs in the first, five in the second and three in the third to rout the Bulls, using five extra-base hits, including a double and homer each from Haeger and Fuller. Haeger chalked up her team-best 10th game-winning RBI in the bottom of the first with a three-run shot to left center before roping a bases loaded – and bases-clearing – double to straight-away center in the second inning. The second-year Gator was then pegged with a bases-loaded Erica Nunn offering in the third for her seventh RBI of the tilt. Haeger is closing in on several Florida single-season records, just shy of the homers (22) and RBI (80) single-season records with 18 and 70, respectively.
The Gators had the leadoff runner on in each inning Saturday and knocked two bombs off USF ace Sara Nevins, who had given up just four homers this year – one of them to Haeger in the February meeting between the Gators and Bulls.
Two long balls accounted for the Gators’ first four runs against the Bulls, as Haeger went yard with a three-run shot in the bottom of the initial stanza to erase a 1-0 USF lead and bring the Orange and Blue ahead, 3-1. UF’s comeback marked the Gators’ 20th come-from-behind of the season and the win over a top-25 team was Florida’s 15th (15-4, .789).
Fuller knocked her second solo shot in as many days – fourth this season – over the scoreboard in left center to add to Florida’s lead in the home half of the second for a 4-1 advantage, and in the same frame, Haeger sent a three-RBI laser to straight-away center for the 7-1 Florida lead, her 12th double of the season. Senior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) kept Florida rolling, dropping a RBI double in left field for the 8-1 Gator lead after a five-run, five-hit splurge for UF in the second.
After her solo blast in the second over the Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium scoreboard, Fuller kicked off the third with her two-bagger, one of Florida’s nine hits on the day. Freshman Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) (2-for-4) and Horton (2-for-3) joined Haeger and Fuller in the two hits club, while freshman Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.) was 1-for-3 on the day for the Orange and Blue to round out UF’s hitting offensive efforts.
UF didn’t back down, lacing the scoreboard with another three spot in the bottom of the third, first capitalizing on a USF defensive miscue before a Haeger bases-loaded hit-by-pitch and Schwarz bases-loaded walk plated UF’s final three runs of the contest.
The Bulls lone run in the tilt came unearned in the top of the first, while a Kenshyra Jackson high bouncer back to Rogers in the circle in the top of the third counted as USF’s only hit of the game. Nevins (1.1 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 0 BB, 2 K) shouldered the loss for the Bulls to move to 26-8 on the season.
Florida improved to 20-6 (.769) in NCAA Regional play under head coach Tim Walton with Saturday’s victory, making the Orange and Blue 45-29 (.608) all-time in the NCAA Tournament. UF’s 11 runs against USF tied for second-most in a Regional under Walton, as the Gators put up 12 against Texas A&M in 2009 and 11 against UCLA in 2011.
Visit Florida’s 2013 NCAA Softball Gainesville Regional Central for ALL information about this weekend’s events, including game times, scores, notes, regional and NCAA Tournament brackets, ticket information, parking, participating team information, quotes and box scores from all of the action in Gainesville.
Follow the Gators on Twitter and visit the team on Facebook for all the latest on Gator softball. For broadcast and television information, visit the UF softball schedule page.
LSU Falls to Louisiana-Lafayette
BATON ROUGE - The No. 9 national seed LSU softball team was handed a 3-0 defeat by No. 21 Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday during the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional winner's bracket contest at Tiger Park.
LSU (41-15) will face either Northwestern State or Central Connecticut State in an elimination contest with a 6 p.m. first pitch, while the Cajuns (45-13) advance to Sunday's NCAA Baton Rouge Regional championship round.
Jordan Wallace fired a two-out shutout and racked up 10 strikeouts versus one walk to improve to 30-7 for the season for ULL. She retired the first nine batters she faced and limited LSU's offense to four baserunners.
Rachele Fico went the distance in the circle for the Tigers and dropped to 24-12 on the season. She allowed three runs on two hits and notched seven Ks against two walks.
Louisiana-Louisiana scored its three runs courtesy of a two-run Brianna Cherry home run in the first inning followed by a solo shot from Sara Corbello during the seventh inning.
LSU's best opportunity to score came during the fourth inning. A.J. Andrews ripped a leadoff double. Two batters later, Allison Falcon drew a walk. However, Wallace got Sandra Simmons to strike out to end the threat.
Dramatic, Four-Run Seventh Inning Lifts Texas A&M
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Back-to-back home runs by Cali Lanphear and Nicole Morgan erased a three-run deficit and lifted 16th-seeded Texas A&M to a thrilling 6-5 win over Baylor Saturday afternoon at the NCAA College Station Regional.
The Aggies (41-15) advance to the Regional Championship Series tomorrow beginning at 2:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2. An if-necessary match-up is penciled in for 5 p.m. CT on ESPN. The Lady Bears (40-16) will play the winner of the Arizona-Penn match-up at 7 p.m. CT today on ESPNEWS, and the winner of that game will be forced to beat A&M twice on Sunday to advance to the Super Regional.
“Obviously, I’m really excited about our ball club right now,” Head Coach Jo Evans said. “We didn’t play our best game and we didn’t do great job defensively of getting outs. It’s really tough to win a ball game when you give a team like Baylor so many more outs. For us to stay in and fight…our ball club didn’t quit. Obviously, we wouldn’t have won the game if we had quit in us. I’m proud of all 19 of our kids. They believed we could do this and they just kept fighting.”
After trailing Baylor 5-0 in the sixth, senior Mel Dumezich started the trio of home A&M runs with a two-run shot over centerfield. A three-run seventh-inning bomb by Lanphear knotted the score at five in time for Morgan to go yard over left for the walk-off win.
A&M drew three walks in the first two innings combined but couldn’t get a hit until the bottom of the third when junior Jenna Stark singled up the middle to get on base for the second time.
A Baylor grand slam in the top of the fourth gave the Lady Bears a 4-0 lead after a series of mental mistakes by A&M loaded the bags.
In the bottom of the fourth, freshman Cali Lanphear was hit by the first pitch she faced. The designated player took second on a wild pitch with no outs, but was left stranded when the inning ended.
Baylor’s lead grew to 5-0 in the top of the fifth when a string of base hits and a passed ball scored one unearned run.
Stark reached for the third time of the day in the bottom of the fifth with her second walk, joining junior Taran Tyler on the bags. Tyler entered to pinch run for senior Meagan May after the Aggie catcher pounded a base hit up the middle.
Lanphear reached base for a second time as the leadoff hitter when she chipped a base hit into the gap in right field. The freshman went down on a fielder’s choice that put junior Cassie Tysarczyk at first before Dumezich went yard over dead-centerfield to narrow the Baylor lead to 5-2.
Junior Emily Albus started the one-out, seventh-inning rally with an infield single and was joined on the bags by junior Amber Garza, who singled down the left-field line. With runners on first and second, Lanphear swung on the first pitch and sent the ball sailing over right field to tie the game at five. Morgan took advantage of the momentum and caught a pitch on the screws to homer over left field for the walk-off, 6-5 win.
“I was on deck and I just knew Cali was going to hit it out. There was no doubt in my mind. Once she did that I had a chance to relax. (Whitney Canion) threw me a change-up in my first at-bat, and I whiffed. I ran back saying, ‘I’m going to get it next time.’ She gave it to me again and I sat on it finally, and it was high, but it went out.”
Dumezich (27-7) threw seven complete innings, fanning four batters and giving up four earned runs on 11 hits and four walks for the win. Baylor ace Whitney Canion tossed 6 1/3 frames and allowed six earned runs on eight hits and five walks for the loss.
The Aggies will face the winner of tonight’s game at 2:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2 in a battle for the College Station Regional Championship. An if-necessary game is slated for a 5 p.m. start on ESPN2. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.
Tennessee Advances to Winners Bracket
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- A walk-off triple by Rainey Gaffin to deep right center field in the bottom of the 11th inning brought Cheyanne Tarango around to score from first base and gave the Tennessee softball team a 1-0 victory over NC State to stay perfect in NCAA Tournament play Saturday.
The 11-inning game matched the longest game in Tennessee history and marked the seventh time the Lady Vols have played into the 11th inning. It was just the second time UT has reached the 11-inning mark in the NCAA Tournament, the only other time coming against No. 1 Michigan on June 5, 2005 in the Women's College World Series.
Ellen Renfroe kept the Lady Vols (46-10) in the game over the course of the 3 hour and 23 minute contest. She compiled 13 strikeouts against the Wolfpack (34-19-1) on the day, on off of her season high (14), including six in inning ending, clutch situations.
Renfroe picked up her sixth shutout of the year in her longest outing of the season pitching all 11 innings for the Lady Vols.
Gaffin's lone hit on the day was the game changer while Tarango laced her lone hit down the rightfield line to start off the 11th inning.
The Lady Vols stay in the winner's bracket of the Knoxville Regional and will return to action on Sunday afternoon to face the winner of Saturday's late game at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.
Single day tickets will be available at the stadium box office when gates open an hour before game one (12:30 p.m.).
Tennessee's first scoring opportunity of the day came in the 10th inning when Melissa Brown started things off with a hard hit up the middle and was replaced on the basepaths by Whitney Hammond.
Hannah Akamine put runners on first and second with a bloop hit to shallow left center. The duo moved up a base on a perfect sacrifice bunt by Tory Lewis but two pop ups to second base ended the threat.
The Lady Vols continued the offense into the 11th inning where they came away with their second victory of the weekend.
South Carolina Survives and Advances
AUSTIN, Texas – A five-run fifth along with a complete-game gem from redshirt senior Audrey Broyles led South Carolina (34-24) to a 5-1 win over Houston (41-20) on Saturday evening at McCombs Field to move to the championship portion of the Austin Regional.
Junior third baseman Codee Yeske started the Gamecock scoring in the fifth with her RBI double, plating junior designated player Ashlyn Masters after she started the frame with a single up the middle and moved to third on redshirt senior Kelley Dillon’s sacrifice bunt attempt. Dillon reached as well when the throw was dropped. With the bases loaded, freshman left fielder Alaynie Page brought home a run on the groundout, handing South Carolina the 2-1 lead. Junior second baseman Dana Hathorn blooped a double into left center, letting Yeske score to make it 3-1. And sophomore centerfielder Kristen Struett capped the inning with a single up the middle, scoring Page and Hathorn.
Broyles did the rest, throwing just 81 pitches in the complete-game win. Broyles scattered four hits and the unearned run while striking out one in the win. Hathorn and Struett both went 2-for-3, with Hathorn scoring and driving in a run while doubling and Struett adding two RBI. Yeske and Garcia both doubled as well, as eight of the Gamecocks reached base.
The Cougars posted an unearned run in the third on Kendra Cullum’s sacrifice fly, plating pinch runner Jennifer Hooker after she moved to third on a passed ball. Hooker replaced Jaime Edwards after she led off the inning with a single and moved to second on Katie St. Pierre’s bunt that was mishandled.
Houston’s Haley Outon went 2-for-3 for the Cougars, the only player on the team with two hits.
The Gamecocks move onto the championship round of the Austin Regional in the same situation the 2007 team did, needing two wins to advance into the supers. When coming back through the losers’ bracket in regional play, the Gamecocks have forced the if-necessary game twice and won that second game once, in 2007.
Texas awaits on Sunday at 1 p.m. CDT at McCombs Field. The Longhorn Network has exclusive video coverage, while a free live audio broadcast will be available at GamecocksOnline.com.
Arkanas Moves On
NORMAN, Okla. – The No. 24 University of Arkansas softball team topped the Fordham Rams, 5-2, on Saturday in Norman, Okla. and advanced to its second NCAA Regional Final in as many years.
Arkansas (36-19) will take on No. 1 Oklahoma tomorrow at 1 p.m. and will need to defeat the Sooners twice to advance to an NCAA Super-Regional. This is the second consecutive NCAA Regional Final for the Razorback softball program.
“We are continuing to build our program,” head coach Mike Larabee said. “We are not quite there, but we can get closer tomorrow. We have an opportunity tomorrow to move onto the next level and get to a super-regional.”
Chloe Oprzedek had the big night at the plate for the Razorbacks. She went 3-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored and also played a superb defensive game at third base. Stephanie Canfield also tallied two hits and increased her total to seven on the weekend. The freshman also knocked in two RBI.
“Our team bounced back well,” Larabee said. “We were coming off of a tough loss to Oklahoma and we faced a team coming off of a win. We got timely hits tonight and manufactured runs.”
Senior captain and Ringling, Okla. native Hope McLemore entered the game in the sixth inning and allowed one run on one hit. She replaced Kimmy Beasley, who allowed one run on four hits and struck out three. Beasley received the win and McLemore picked up the save in the game.
“I thought Kimmy pitched really well,” Larabee said. “Hope came in and did a great job too. She closed it out and we had some great defense tonight. It was a good team performance to get the win.”
The Razorbacks were the away team in their second game of the day and put two runners on base early. Devon Wallace drew her NCAA-leading 79th walk of the season to start the game. Clarisa Navarro followed and was hit in the head. However, both runners were left stranded and the game remained scoreless.
Beasley came out of the gate strong and retired the first five batters she faced. Michele Daubman broke the streak with a rope-single to leftfield. Beasley came back and blew a fastball past Brianna Turgeon to end the second inning.
Oprzedek knocked the first extra-base hit for the Hogs in the third. Her two-out triple hit off of the top of the centerfield wall. Amanda Geile followed and rocketed a ball down the third base line. Kayla Lombardo picked the ball off of the white of the line and threw out Geile to end the top of the third.
Canfield started the fourth inning with a five-pitch walk. After Andrea Sullivan flied out to the warning track, Sierra Bronkey advanced Canfield to second on a groundout. Rambo saw two strikes and shot a single up the middle, scoring Canfield. Gee followed with an RBI-single of her own to score Rambo from second. Her 27th RBI of the season gave Arkansas a 2-0 lead.
The momentum stayed with Arkansas into the bottom of the fourth as Beasley cruised through the Ram lineup. She allowed a two-out walk to Gabby Luety but came back to retire Daubman and end the inning.
The second hit of the game for Oprzedek came in the fifth as she blooped a one-out single. The junior stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error during the play. She came home to score on an illegal pitch from Jamie Labovick in the next at-bat. Canfield singled two batters later for her sixth hit of the regional. Sullivan followed with an 11-pitch walk, however, both runners were left stranded.
The Rams notched a one-out single in the bottom of the fifth as Paige Ortiz roped a ball to centerfield. Claudia Law followed with a walk and Labovick singled to load the bases for Chelsea Palumbo. She roped a ball to centerfield and Canfield got a great jump on it. The freshman caught the ball on the warning track and held the Rams to a sacrifice fly. The score was cut to 3-1, Arkansas.
After a 1-2-3 inning from the Arkansas offense, McLemore was inserted into the game in the circle for the bottom of the sixth. She got Lombardo to fly out to leftfield for out number one. Amanda Summerford made a nice catch in foul territory to help her senior classmate. Luety followed two pitches later and skied a solo-homerun over the foul pole in leftfield. Her 13th homer of the year trimmed the lead to one. Daubman worked a 3-2 count and walked to put the winning run at the plate. McLemore fired back and struck out Turgeon on three pitches. Another strikeout followed as the senior captain gunned down Ortiz on a fastball.
Oprzedek beat out her third hit of the night with an infield single to the second-baseman. She stole second and advanced to third on an error for the second time of the game. Deja’ vu struck again as she crossed home on an illegal pitch that sent Geile to first. Canfield followed with a single to put two runners on for Sullivan. She smacked a single to the leftfield wall that scored Geile from second. Canfield was caught in a rundown and tagged out on the play for out number two. Bronkey popped out to end the top of the seventh.
McLemore came back out for the seventh and worked a 1-2-3 inning. The Ringling, Okla. native picked up her second save of the season and sent the Razorbacks to the regional final.
Next up, the Razorbacks will face No. 1 Oklahoma in the Regional Final. The game will begin at 1 p.m. tomorrow and will be broadcast on ESPN3.com.
For more information regarding Razorback softball please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Mississippi State Ends Season
MOBILE, Ala. – For two hours Saturday, the Mississippi State softball team (33-24) showed the fight which brought them to the big dance, coming from behind to eliminate Mississippi Valley State (25-32) from the 2013 NCAA Mobile Regional. Hours later, the music on the dance floor came to a screeching halt, as the Bulldogs were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament with a 3-0 defeat to host South Alabama (47-8).
“We have to get a taste of postseason play, be hungry and realize what it takes to play in the postseason,” Head Coach Vann Stuedeman said. “This team made a decision to fight. This team is resilient.”
Down to its last four outs and trailing 1-0 against the Delta Devilettes in the first elimination game of the day, senior right fielder Jessica Cooley launched a game-tying home run deep over the center field wall. Following a walk by redshirt sophomore Briana Bell and a bunt single by freshman Kayla Winkfield, senior first baseman Shelby Fisher drove in Bell for the winning run with a single to left field.
All seven of MSU’s hits in the 2-1 victory came with two outs. On top of Bell, Cooley, Winkfield and Fisher, juniors Jessica Offutt, Heidi Shape and Sam Lenahan all went 1-for-3 in game one at the dish.
Junior right-hander Alison Owen tossed a complete-game two-hitter, with her only run being unearned. The righty struck out a NCAA Tournament school-record 13 batters, with her 11th strikeout of the game breaking the single-season school record of 246 set by Autumn Anderson in 1998.
The Newnan, Ga., native’s 20 strikeouts this weekend also marked a school record for a single NCAA Tournament as well as in a career.
Owen’s win in game one snapped a six-game losing streak in the NCAA Tournament for the Maroon and White, while giving Stuedeman her first career victory as head coach in postseason play.
Thirty minutes following the conclusion of game one, the magic ran out for Mississippi State against the host Jaguars. South Alabama’s Farish Beard went the distance in the circle for the victors, hurling her third-career one-hit shutout, improving to 22-0. The righty struck out a career-high tying 14 batters, with MSU junior Logan Foulks recording the only hit for MSU.
In her last game as a Bulldog, senior lefty Stephanie Becker suffered the loss in game two, falling to 10-9 in her final campaign. The Illinois native surrendered three runs (two earned) on two hits and three walks. Fellow senior southpaw Kylie Vry pitched lights out in her final collegiate outing, throwing 3.2 scoreless innings in relief. In all, five of the nine runs given up by MSU in the Mobile Regional were unearned.
The Bulldogs ended the 2013 season with an overall record of 33-24 and their first NCAA Tournament win since 2008. Stuedeman’s squad defeated four teams hosting NCAA Regionals this weekend, with three of the four wins coming on the road. With Saturday’s win against MVSU, Stuedeman improved to a perfect 14-0 against in-state teams since arriving in Starkville.
“It is just part of the process of building a program,” Stuedeman said. “Last year, we were close to winning one game in a big series, and this year we won a game and were close to winning the big series.
Last year, we weren’t able to win in the postseason, and this year, we were able to. It is part of growing and building the program.”
Fans can follow the program in the offseason by searching for “MStateSB” through Twitter, Facebook, Tout and Instagram. For more information on Starkville’s Team, including information on MSU’s summer softball camps, visit HailState.com.
LSU Advances Through Losers Bracket
BATON ROUGE – Sandra Simmons turned in a 3-for-4 performance and equaled a career-best four RBIs, while Ashley Czechner tossed a two-hit shutout as the No. 9 national seed LSU softball team came away with an 11-0 victory in six innings over Central Connecticut State during a NCAA Baton Rouge Regional elimination contest Saturday at Tiger Park.
LSU (42-15) advances to face Louisiana-Lafayette (45-13) in Sunday’s regional final with a 1 p.m. first pitch. The Tigers must defeat the Cajuns twice to secure a spot in next week’s NCAA Super Regional Round after ULL earned a 3-0 win over LSU during Saturday’s winner’s bracket game.
LSU pounded out 12 hits versus Central Connecticut State (36-15) en route to its 14th double digit effort of the season. The three hits for Simmons were a career-high. Bianka Bell, Jacee Blades and Tammy Wray also added multi-hit efforts for the Tigers. Wray tacked on three RBIs, while Bell secured two RBIs to notch her team-leading 14th multi RBI outing of the season.
“We would like to congratulate Central Connecticut State on a great season,” head coach Beth Torina said. “They did a great job, played hard all day and just ran out of gas for this game. What a great season for them and their program. They are a class act. I liked how our team played today. I thought we played hard, and we needed some momentum and confidence. We swung really well, and hopefully we can roll that in to tomorrow. Ashley Czechner threw fantastic again, and I felt that she was dominant for a second day in a row, which is tough to do.”
The Tigers seized control from the onset and put together a four-run first inning. A.J. Andrews knocked a leadoff double, while Blades reached base on an error by the CCSU pitcher. Another error from the Blue Devils allowed Andrews to cross the plate with the game’s first run.
Allison Falcon was hit-by-a-pitch to load the bases and set the stage for Simmons, who cranked a two-run single to right field on a 1-2 offering. Simmons capped the four-run frame by stealing second base. She advanced to third as Falcon was thrown out attempting to score. Simmons alertly went to third base and was awarded home on interference when she collided with CCSU third baseman Nicole Springer.
“I think we just came out and played LSU softball, whereas the past two days we really didn’t,” Simmons said. “We came out a little timid, and we just wanted to show them who we really are. If we made mistakes then let it happen, because we were able to back it up.”
The Tigers pushed their lead to 6-0 during the third inning after Kellsi Kloss and Tammy Wray connected for back-to-back sacrifice flies.
LSU exploded for five runs and sent 10 batters to the plate in the fifth inning. Simone Heyward and Blades knocked singles to put runners on the corners with one out. Bell knocked a RBI single through the middle to plate Heyward and push the LSU lead to 7-0.
A Falcon infield single filled the bases, and Simmons struck again with another two-run single, this time through the middle, to vault the Tigers ahead by a 9-0 margin. Two batters later after a Kloss walk, Wray cranked a two-run double into the left centerfield gap for the winning tally of 11-0.
“We needed that to get some confidence,” Torina said. “I was hoping we could put some hits together and score some runs. I just think this team wants to win so bad that they press so hard and try too hard. It’s not that they aren’t working. They just want it so bad that they press.”
After allowing a leadoff single during the first inning, Czechner retired 17 of the next 18 batters. She finished with nine strikeouts, her second-highest career output at LSU, and improved her record to 12-1 for the season.
CCSU’s Laura Messina was tagged with the loss and finished her season with a 28-11 mark.
“I think having a lot of confidence is key,” Czechner said. “I know that in the postseason you either win or go home. I knew I had to get this win so we could fight to play another game and make it to the regional championship.”
UGA Advances In Tempe
TEMPE, Ariz. – The University of Georgia softball team picked up its 40th win of the season with a 3-2 win over the San Diego State Aztecs in an elimination game on Saturday, May 18 at Farrington Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. The Bulldogs are now 40-20 on the year, while the Aztecs end their season with a record of 36-20. The Bulldogs have now had 12-straight 40 win seasons. Georgia will take on Arizona State tomorrow, May 19 at 6 p.m. ET
Arizona native Morgan Montemayor got the start for the Bulldogs and threw a complete game to move to 14-6 on the season. She allowed two runs on seven hits and three walks, while striking out four. The win marked the second win of the weekend for Montemayor. San Diego State starter Danielle O’Toole fell to 14-7 on the season after allowing three runs on six hits and struck out four batters in the complete-game performance.
The Aztecs looked to get something started early, loading the bases with no outs on a single, an error and a walk. Lorena Bauer hit into a fielder’s choice, but Paige Wilson threw the runner out at home, preventing a run and getting the first out of the inning. Montemayor settled in and got out of the jam by getting the final two batters on a pop out to short and a fly out to left.
After two scoreless innings, Samantha LaZear helped spark the Georgia offense by leading off the third with an infield single before stealing second and moving to third on a throwing error by the Aztec catcher. Niaja Griffin then walked, putting runners at the corners for Wilson. With nobody out, Wilson lifted the 0-2 pitch high and deep over the right center field wall for a three run home run that put the Bulldogs up 3-0.
San Diego State threated again in the bottom of the fourth when it loaded the bases with a single, an error and a fielder’s choice, but Montemayor induced a grounder to third to end the inning and the scoring threat.
Patrice Jackson got the Aztecs on the board in the bottom of the fifth with a two run home run to left center. Kayla Jordan led off the inning with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Tiffany Corder. With one out and a runner and third, Jackson hit her second home run of the day to bring San Diego State to within one at 3-2.
The Aztecs got another pair of base runners in the bottom of the sixth, but Montemayor got out of the jam with a strikeout of Jordan to end the inning and preserve the 3-2 lead for Georgia.
San Diego State would not go quietly, putting a pair of runners on in the bottom of the second. A pair of clutch plays by Anna Swafford at third ended the inning with the go ahead run at first and sealed Georgia’s 3-2 win.
Georgia will take on the Arizona State Sun Devils tomorrow afternoon at 6 p.m. ET in the championship game of the Tempe Regional. The Bulldogs will have to beat ASU twice tomorrow to advance out of the Regional.