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    SEC Softball Today: Friday, February 7

    Softball RESULTS
    Alabama 6, Kennesaw State 0
    Alabama 10, North Florida 1
    South Carolina 1, Iowa 0
    Tennessee 8, Northern Colorado 0
    Florida 3, Illinois State 2
    Florida 5, Wisconsin 3
    Texas A&M 10, Dayton 4
    Texas A&M 9, UC-Santa Barbara 1
    Georgia 1, Wintrhop 0
    Georgia 10, North Texas 2
    Mississippi State 8, Mississippi Valley State 0
    Mississippi State 12, Northern Kentucky 1
    Kentucky 7, Loyola Marymount 1
    Kentucky 5, Oklahoma 4
    Western Kentucky 3, Ole Miss 2
    Florida Gulf Coast 3, Ole Miss 2

     

    Long Ball Lifts Alabama Softball to Season-Opening 6-0 Win

    TROY, Ala. – Alabama softball opened its season with a 6-0 shutout over Kennesaw State late Friday afternoon at the Troy Subway Invitational, thanks to three home runs and a great outing in the circle from Leslie Jury.

    “I think if the other team never scores, you never lose,” said Head Coach Patrick Murphy after the win. “Jury, Chaunsey Bell and Stephanie VanBrakle did a great job of pitching, catching and calling the pitches. Kennesaw State’s pitcher did a great job all day, but we made an adjustment in the bottom of the sixth and ended up pulling away.”

    The Alabama (1-0) offense was relatively quiet the first two times through the order but found a spark in the bottom of the sixth, scoring five runs to make it 6-0, which proved final. All six of Alabama’s runs came off the long ball, as Kaila Hunt and Haylie McCleney each had solo homers and Danae Hays put it out of reach with a grand slam. Jury (1-0) looked stellar in her season debut, throwing a two-hit shutout with nine strikeouts.

    Kennesaw State (1-1) suffered its first loss of the young season, with Amanda Henderson (0-1) throwing a strong game before the Alabama offense came alive in the sixth inning.

    The game was a defensive battle early on, as good pitching and some stellar defensive plays in the outfield held both teams scoreless through 3 1/2 innings. McCleney broke up the scoreless tie leading off in the bottom of the fourth, blasting a line-drive homer over the center field wall to make it 1-0 Alabama. The Tide would put two more on base but they were ultimately left stranded as Alabama couldn’t add to the 1-0 lead.

    With one out in the top of the fifth, Kennesaw State’s Angie Dascoli broke up Jury’s no-hit bid with a weak single that dropped into shallow left field. The runner was left stranded as Alabama maintained its 1-0 lead. Hunt cushioned the Tide’s lead in the bottom of the sixth, leading off the half-inning with a solo shot over the left-field fence to make it 2-0. The offense maintained the pressure, loading the bases to set up Danae Hays for the big at-bat as she blasted a grand slam to extend the Tide’s lead to 6-0. Jury shut down the Owls in order in the top of the seventh as the Tide held on to earn the six-run victory.

    Alabama will conclude opening day with a 7:30 p.m. CT matchup against the North Florida Ospreys. Earlier today, North Florida defeated Northwestern State, 2-1, in extra innings.

    Alabama Softball Closes Opening Day with 10-1 Win Over North Florida

    In the second game of the day, the Alabama (2-0) offense continued where it left off from game one as the Tide dominated North Florida (1-1), 10-1, in five innings. Jaclyn Traina (1-0) earned the win in her first start of the season, throwing 4.0 innings with a solo home run as the only blemish to her line. The Ospreys’ Kaylie Wallace (0-1) took the loss in the circle, lasting 2.2 innings before being pulled. The Tide offense was led by Kallie Case with a 2-3 day in the nine-hole and Jadyn Spence with two RBI.

    Alabama continues action at the Troy Subway Invitational on Saturday with a pair of games. The Tide opens the day against Northwestern State (1-1) at 2:30 p.m. CT and concludes against Middle Tennessee State (0-2) at 7:30 p.m. CT.
     






    Gamecocks Start 2014 with 1-0 Win over Iowa
                     
    COLUMBIA, S.C. – Behind two standout freshmen in Nickie Blue and Kaylea Snaer, South Carolina downed Iowa 1-0 to start the 2014 season at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field on Friday evening.

    In front of the largest regular-season crowd at a home Gamecock softball game of 1,123 fans, Blue pitched a shutout for five innings, scattering three hits and two walks while striking out two. Snaer added her first career homer, the only run in what proved to be a pitching duel to start the season.

    Snaer’s first blast came on a 2-1 pitch in the fourth with one away, breaking the scoreless tie. South Carolina threatened again in the fifth, loading the bases with one down, but Iowa got a ground ball right to the second baseman, who tagged the Gamecock runner and threw to first for the inning-ending double play.

    In the Iowa fifth, the Hawkeyes got an infield single before a Gamecock error put runners at the corners with no one out. South Carolina responded by catching the runner trying to take home on the double-steal play on a good throw from senior shortstop Codee Yeske. Then Yeske caught the liner on the next pitch and ran behind the pinch runner at second to double her off to end the inning.

    Redshirt junior Julie Sarratt came in after Blue and baffled the Iowa lineup for two innings to picked up her fourth career save, striking out three. Iowa senior Kayla Massey (0-1) took the loss, giving up one earned run on five hits and one walk while fanning three in six innings.

    Senior second baseman Ashlyn Masters went 2-for-3, while senior right fielder Chelsea Hawkins and Yeske got the other Gamecock hits, Hawkins posting a double. Erin Erickson, Alyssa Navarro and Whitney Repole had the three Hawkeye hits, Erickson’s being the only one for extra bases.

    The Gamecocks won their second-consecutive season opener under head coach Beverly Smith and start the year with a shutout win for the first time since 2007. The victory stands as the 1,300 in the program’s history in the initial game of the 41st season of sponsorship at South Carolina.

    Ohio started the Carolina Classic with a 9-4 win over Presbyterian, and Iowa topped UNC Greensboro 5-0 in the second game.

    The Gamecocks face Ohio and Presbyterian in the second and third games of Saturday’s action of the Carolina Classic, with the contest against the Bobcats set to start at 12:30 p.m. EST. Ohio and UNC Greensboro start the day at 10 a.m., while Presbyterian and Iowa close the action at 5 p.m.






    Overstreet, Geer Shine at Plate; Renfroe Shuts Down N. Colorado, 8-0 (5)

    STATESBORO, Ga. -- Megan Geer's four hits and Ellen Renfroe's one-hitter boosted Tennessee over Northern Colorado, 8-0, in five innings in UT's season opener on Friday at the Eagle Round Robin in Statesboro, Ga.

    Tennessee (1-0) scored two in the first, four in the third and two in the fifth to beat Northern Colorado (0-2). Tennessee is now 3-0 all-time against the Bears.

    Sophomore Lexi Overstreet and freshman Megan Geer led the team offensively. Overstreet went 2-for-3 with three RBIs. In Geer's first collegiate game, she went 4-for-4 with two RBIs, including the game-winning RBI in the fifth.

    Senior Ellen Renfroe (1-0) struck out five in five innings and allowed just one hit. Northern Colorado starting pitcher Megan Wilkinson (0-1) allowed six earned runs, and relief pitcher Jayme Reddacliff allowed two earned runs.

    The Lady Vols wasted no time in the first inning. Geer recorded Tennessee's first hit of the season. After a walk put on Madison Shipman and a single by Melissa Davin, Overstreet hit a two-run double down the right field line to put the Lady Vols up, 2-0.

    The Lady Vols put up four more runs in the third to take a 6-0 lead. Overstreet's hit down the right field line knocked in Davin. Freshmen Taylor Koenig and Megan Geer recorded their first career RBIs by knocking in Cheyanne Tarango and Koenig, respectively. Overstreet scored on a Northern Colorado throw to second attempting to catch Tarango stealing.

    The Lady Vols scored their final two runs of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. Freshman Shaliyah Geathers earned her first RBI of her career, scoring Koenig. Geer ended the game with a single that scored Geathers.

    Northern Colorado's only hit came in the third inning when Nicole Hudson singled to left field.

    Tennessee will play Northern Colorado again on Saturday at 12 p.m. Following the Northern Colorado game, the Lady Vols will play host Georgia Southern at 2 p.m. Both games will feature free live audio via UTSports.com and live stats through GSEagles.com.






    UF SB: Gators Earn 800th All-Time Win in Doubleheader Sweep

    TAMPA, Fla. - Gator Softball swept a pair of games Friday at the USF Wilson-DeMarini Tournament, defeating Illinois State 3-2 and beating Wisconsin 5-3. The victory over the Redbirds marked the 800th win in program history.

    Sophomore Taylor Schwarz gave Florida an early lead over the Redbirds when she hit the Gators' first home run of 2014 next to the batting cages beyond left field. Illinois State responded in the fourth with a leadoff double, then plated its first run on a well-placed bunt single that allowed the runner to score from second. Five straight Florida batters reached base in the bottom of the frame, and the Gators added their second run when Aubree Munro singled to score Schwarz, who had reached base on a fielder's choice.

    Florida plated what proved to be the winning run the next inning as sophomore Kirsti Merritt doubled home leadoff hitter Kelsey Stewart. Gators starter Lauren Haeger ran into trouble in the seventh after allowing just three hits through the first six innings, walking two batters and hitting another. UF Head Coach Tim Walton called on freshman Delanie Gourley in her collegiate debut, and Gourley delivered. Entering with the bases loaded and no outs, Gourley allowed just one run on a sacrifice fly by her first batter. The lefty ended the game with a flourish, striking out the last two Redbird hitters to earn the save.

    In the Gators' second game, Wisconsin got on the board first with a solo home run by shortstop Stephanie Peace. Florida's Hannah Rogers and the Badgers' Taylor-Paige Stewart traded scoreless frames for four innings.

    Munro came up with another clutch hit in the sixth, singling home Schwarz again to tie the game at 1. UF's rally continued the next inning when Briana Little drew a leadoff walk. Two batters later, Merritt came up with another clutch hit, bringing Little home with a triple. After Stephanie Tofft walked, Haeger's sac fly scored Merritt and Schwarz provided the Gators' second triple of the frame. Taylore Fuller reached on an error by the Wisconsin third baseman that allowed Schwarz to score, but Fuller was called for interference on the next play.

    The Gators' late two-inning rally provided a cushion for Rogers, who allowed two runs in the seventh but held on to earn her second complete-game victory in as many days, following Thursday's win over USF.






    No. 11 Aggies Dominate on Day One

    SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The No. 11 Texas A&M softball team (2-0) started the 2014 season with a bang at UC Santa Barbara’s Gaucho Classic I, mounting a 10-4 comeback win against Dayton (0-2), and run-ruling UCSB (1-1), 9-1 in five innings.

    The team scored 19 runs in 12 total innings of play, including three home runs, five doubles and nine base hits. Freshman April Ryan earned the first two starts of her career and proved herself, both at second base and at the plate with four hits – three of them doubles – and five RBI.

    Senior Emily Albus had four hits, three runs and two RBI, and senior Amber Garza had three runs, three hits and three RBI, including two solo home runs.

    “I feel pretty good about our ball club,” Head Coach Jo Evans said. “We had some mistakes early-on in the first game and that was just being overexcited and a little bit of jitters. I loved the way we calmed down.”

    Fresh off of an extra-inning, walk-off loss to the Gauchos, Dayton turned a new page and took a 2-0 lead on the Aggies in the top of the first. A two-out double to centerfield scored a pair of runs for the Flyers, one of them earned.

    In her first collegiate at bat, Ryan placed a double perfectly in the middle of three Dayton defenders to reach in the bottom of the first. The second baseman was the only Aggie to reach in the inning.

    After causing a fielding error in the top of the first, Garza found her footing in the bottom of the second when she recorded the Aggies’ first home run of the season with a leadoff long ball over dead-centerfield to narrow the deficit to 1-2.

    With one out, senior Cassie Tysarczyk followed suit with a solo shot over right field to tie the ballgame.

    “[Aggie pitcher] Katie Marks got roughed up a little bit in the first inning and I was really impressed with how she handled that,” Evans said. “She took it in stride, came out the next inning, shut them down and then Garza hit a home run and so did Tysarczyk to get us right back in it. They worked so hard to put those two runs together and then we just put a couple of solo shots up and all of a sudden the game is tied again.”

    The Aggies gained the lead with a three-run bottom-of-the-fourth inning. Each run was unearned after a two-base throwing error by the Dayton second baseman allowed the first two runs, by seniors Allison Garrett and Tysarczyk. Senior Jenna Stark singled to left field to reach before being replaced by Garrett, and Tysarczyk was hit by a pitch.

    Senior Taran Tyler singled to left to reach behind Tysarczyk and Garrett before the errant throw scored the duo. With bases loaded, senior Nicole Morgan popped up to the second baseman but gave Tyler time to tag at third and run home for the unearned 5-2 run.

    Dayton narrowed the gap in the top of the fifth with a pair of runs on three base hits, a walk and a groundout. In her first outing as an Aggie, sophomore transfer Katie Marks fanned the final batter of the half-inning.

    Leading 5-4 in the bottom of the inning, Garza hit her second solo home run, this time over right field to start a rally by the Aggies. Tysarczyk drew her second free ride of the day and took third on a double to left by Tyler. With two on, sophomore pinch runner Breanna Dozier claimed the first pitch and sent it to deep centerfield to plate two runs.

    Albus bunted and reached on a base hit before Ryan ended the scoring rally with a two-RBI double to left-center field that gave Texas A&M a 10-4 lead.

    The Flyers were unable to respond to the six-run deficit and the Aggies earned their first win of the season.

    Marks (1-0) earned the win after a five-inning effort in the circle. The sophomore allowed three earned runs on six hits and two walks, while fanning two. Freshman Abby Donnell pitched two innings of relief, striking out two and giving up two hits. Dayton’s Kayla English suffered the game-one loss, letting seven earned runs cross home on four walks and 11 hits while striking out two.

    The Aggies continued the momentum against UC Santa Barbara in game two, batting through the lineup and scoring six runs in the top of the first inning.

    Albus led off with a single up the middle and was followed on base by Ryan, who hit a single to the shortstop. With two on, Morgan added a third base hit to score Albus from second.

    A fourth base hit, by Garza, sent Ryan and Morgan around the bags for the 3-0 lead. Tysarczyk and Tyler each added base hits, with Tyler’s shot scoring Garza. A seventh single of the inning was Albus’ second hit of the game, which plated the final two runs of the first.

    Ryan laced a bases-clearing double into left-centerfield in the top of the third to push the Texas A&M lead to 9-0. The hit scored Albus, Garrett – pinch running for Stark, who reached on a single - and Clopton. Albus reached on her third base hit in three innings, bunted to third base, and Clopton drew a walk.

    The Gauchos used a pair of base hits to get on the board in the bottom of the third with the 9-1 run.

    In the top of the fifth, Tyler hit a triple deep to right field. The senior was stranded in the half-inning, however and the Aggies maintained their eight-run lead.

    Redshirt junior Rachel Fox (1-0), who started her career at Texas and defeated the Aggies as a freshman, earned her first win in the maroon and white with the complete-game effort. The Sugar Land, Texas, native gave up just one earned run on four hits and one walk while striking out five.

    “I thought our pitching looked really good,” Evans said. “Rachel Fox I thought was really terrific.”

    UCSB’s Andriana Collins (0-1) gave up six runs in 1/3 innings for the loss.

    The 11th-ranked Aggies continue their run in the Gaucho Classic I tomorrow with a 1 p.m. game vs. Bakersfield, and a 3 p.m. rematch with UCSB. Both games can be heard live worldwide on AggieAthletics.com or locally on Sports Radio 1150 AM. Live stats can be found at tamustats.com. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.






    No. 23/21 Georgia Picks Up Two Wins on Opening Day

    ATHENS, Ga. – The No. 23/21 Georgia softball team picked up a pair of wins on opening day, defeating Winthrop 1-0 in the first game before handing North Texas a 10-2, six-inning loss in the nightcap.

    Anna Swafford led the offense, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Geri Ann Glasco picked up two hits, drove in two runs and scored twice in the twin bill sweep. Maeve McGuire made her presence known the lineup, going 3-for-5 with three doubles and five RBI in the Bulldogs’ 10-2 win over the Mean Green.

    Chelsea Wilkinson got both wins for the Bulldogs in the circle. The sophomore saw six innings of work, allowing just one hit and striking out seven batters.

    Georgia 1, Winthrop 0

    The Bulldogs relied on pitching and defense in their 1-0 win over Winthrop. The game turned into a pitcher’s duel as Glasco and Wilkinson combined to allow just two hits in the game, while Winthrop’s Sarah Allen allowed just four hits.

    Glasco got the start and went six innings, allowing just two hits and striking out eight batters. Wilkinson closed out the game with one scoreless inning for the Bulldogs to get the win.

    Georgia was unable to muster its offense in the early goings of the game, but a two-hit seventh allowed the winning run to reach. Kaylee Puailoa led off the inning with a double down the left field line and moved to third on a Swafford single. Kaylee Williams drove in the run when she reached on an error that scored Puailoa and sealed the 1-0 win.

    The Bulldogs got out of a jam in the top of the fourth, after a pair of walks and a fielder’s choice loaded the bases for the Eagles. Glasco induced a groundout to third to end the inning and leave the runners stranded.

    Georgia had opportunities in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, as runners were able to reach. The Bulldogs drew three walks in the fourth and fifth innings, before getting its first hit of the day on a single through the right side by Paige Wilson. Each of the runners was left stranded, setting up the walk-off win.

    Georgia 10, North Texas 2
     
    McGuire led the way for the Bulldogs in the 10-2 win over North Texas in the nightcap, going 3-for-3 with three doubles, including the game winner, and five RBI.
     
    Wilkinson got her second win of the day, allowing just one hit in five innings of work. She also struck out four. Lauren Poole suffered the loss for North Texas, allowing five runs, three of which were earned, on five hits in three innings of work. Madison Thompson and Kenzie Grimes also saw time in the circle for the Mean Green, combining for five runs on six hits and three walks.

    Georgia got off to a hot start, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning to take an early 3-0 lead. Swafford led off with a single before stealing second. Glasco was hit by a pitch to put a pair of runners on for Alex Hugo, who drove in Swafford with a single down the left field line. With the bases loaded, Katie Browne took advantage of a fielding error that allowed Hugo and Glasco to score.

    The Bulldogs added a pair of runs in the bottom of the third after a pair of singles, a walk and a fielder’s choice loaded the bases. McGuire came in to pinch hit, doubling off the right field wall and scoring Tina Iosefa and Puailoa to give Georgia a 5-0 lead.

    Swafford greeted new pitcher Thompson with a double to left center that was followed a single by Wilson. With runners at second and third, Glasco drilled a single up the middle for a pair of RBI that extended Georgia’s lead to 7-0.

    North Texas got on the board in the top of the sixth that cut the lead to 7-2. With runners at first and second, Taylor Schoblocher singled up the middle for an RBI that made it a 7-1 game. With a runner at third, Brooke Foster grounded out to the first baseman, but a run scored to make it a 7-2 game. Bekah Farris caught the final batter looking to end the inning.

    In the bottom of the sixth, Georgia put runners at second and third with a pair of walks and a single, McGuire hit a walk off double off the center field wall that scored Glasco and Hugo and sealed Georgia’s 10-2 walk off win.

    The Bulldogs get back in action on Saturday, February 8 at 12:30 p.m., when it takes on North Texas for a second time. Georgia will face James Madison following the game at approximately 3 p.m.
     




    Bulldogs Take Two On Opening Day

    STARKVILLE, Miss. - Two dominant pitching performances carried Mississippi State to a pair of opening-day victories as the Bulldogs downed Mississippi Valley State 8-0 in five innings and Northern Kentucky 12-1 in five innings on Friday afternoon.

    Sophomore hurler Jacey Punches started the opener with a career-high nine strikeouts before giving way to freshman Alexis Silkwood in game two, who fanned three and allowed just one hit in her Mississippi State debut.

    Leading the way on offense was senior Jessica Offutt, who scored four runs, drew two walks and drove in a run during the doubleheader. Junior Katie Gentle and senior Logan Foulks combined to drive in seven runs and draw two walks in the two games.

    Patience at the plate was also a virtue as the Bulldogs drew a team single-game record 14 walks against Mississippi Valley State in the opener. For the doubleheader, MSU drew 18 walks and struck out just twice.

    Punches (1-0) limited Mississippi Valley State to just one hit, a Natalia Covarrubias double, and a pair of walks. The Delta Devilettes’ Cassandra Rivera (0-1) was handed the loss after surrendering three runs on four hits and eight walks. Taliyah Waters recorded two outs and allowed five runs on five walks and one hit. Tenna Patterson faced one batter and gave up a walk.

    In game two, Silkwood (1-0) tossed a one-hitter with a solo home run to Dee Dee Davis. She retired the first 10 batters she faced and did not walk a batter. NKU’s Alyssa Enrique (0-1) took the loss, giving up four runs on four hits and two walks in two innings. Paige McQueen threw one-and-a-third frames and allowed six runs on four hits and a pair of free passes. Alex Caudill came in for the final two outs and gave up a pair of unearned runs.

    Through the first two innings of the season opener against the Delta Devilettes, MSU stranded five runners before breaking through for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third. The Bulldogs used a two-out rally and heads-up baserunning to take the one-run advantage. With two down, senior Sam Lenahan and freshman Mackenzie Toler drew consecutive walks to bring Gentle to the plate. Gentle sent a hard grounder back up the middle that Rivera could not handle. By the time Rivera threw to first, Gentle was safe and Lenahan had come around from second to score.

    Punches gave up a one-out double to Covarrubias in the top of the fourth, but responded with consecutive strikeouts to end the frame.

    The Bulldogs added to their lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth to go ahead 3-0. Offutt led off with a double, stole third base and came home on an error as the throw went into left field. Senior Heidi Shape followed with a walk and after a groundout and flyout, Lenahan tripled to right as Yasmine Battle dove but the ball got past her. Shape scooted home to take a three-run lead.

    After sending down the Delta Devilettes in order in the top of the fifth, MSU tacked on five more runs in the bottom of the inning to end the contest due to the run rule. Junior Ashley Phillips was hit by a pitch to start the frame and stole second base. With one down, Offutt drew a walk before a sacrifice bunt from Shape put runners on second and third with two outs. Foulks delivered with a single through the left side to plate Phillips and Offutt to make it a 5-0 advantage.  Consecutive walks to freshman Caroline Seitz and Lenahan loaded the bases for Toler, who drew a third-straight free pass to force in a run. Gentle followed with another walk for a 7-0 lead before Phillips ended the game with a free pass that forced in the final run.

    In game two versus Northern Kentucky, Mississippi State wasted little time, taking a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. With one out and Shape on second, Foulks doubled off the base of the wall in right center to plate Shape. Foulks advanced to third on an error and scored on a wild pitch to make it a 2-0 MSU lead.

    In the bottom of the second, the team pushed across two for a 4-0 lead. Junior Julia Echols started the frame with a single through the left side, stole second base and moved to third on a throwing error. Sophomore Loryn Nichols reached on a bunt single and classmate Kayla Winkfield drove in Echols with an infield single. Following a strikeout, a walk to Shape loaded the bases for Foulks, who hit a sacrifice fly to right.

    Silkwood gave up her lone hit of the contest in the top of the fourth as Davis delivered a one-out solo home run to cut the Mississippi State lead to 4-1.

    The Bulldogs answered immediately in the bottom of the fourth and broke the game open with eight runs to establish a 12-1 lead. Offutt led off reaching on a two-base error and came home on a double off the top of the wall in left center from Shape. Foulks followed with a double down the left-field line that drove in Shape for a five-run cushion. After a Seitz infield single, a Lenahan fielder’s choice delivered Foulks from third for a 7-1 lead. Toler walked and Echols singled up the middle to plate Lenahan. A squeeze bunt from Nichols brought in another run before Offutt drove in a run with a fielder’s choice. A single to right center from Shape drove in two before a groundout ended the inning.

    Silkwood retired the Norse in order in the top of the fifth to seal the run-rule victory.

    The Bulldogs return to action Saturday with a 12:30 p.m. CT rematch against Northern Kentucky and a 3 p.m. game versus Jacksonville State.  
     



    Nunley’s Gem, Stokes Game-Winning Double Gives Softball 5-4 Win Over No. 2 Oklahoma

    LONG BEACH, Calif. – Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Nunley threw an impressive 10 innings of work, striking out eight batters and allowing four runs, while fellow sophomore Christian Stokes hit the game-winning double in the final frame after seniors Ginny Carroll and Emily Jolly, and sophomore Maisie Steed belted homers earlier in the game, giving the No. 12 University of Kentucky softball team a 5-4 victory over No. 2 Oklahoma on Friday at Anderson Family Field in Fullerton, Calif.

    The win for Kentucky (4-0) over No. 2 Oklahoma ties the highest-ranked opponent Kentucky has ever defeated. The Wildcats also defeated No. 2 Florida in 2012 and No. 2 Michigan in 2011. The loss for Oklahoma (0-1) is only its fifth since the start of the 2013 season as the defending NCAA National Champions went 57-4 last season. Kentucky’s 4-0 start is its best ever in 18 years of softball. UK tied the previous best start last year by going 3-0.

    Nunley, who moves to 2-0 on the year, was brilliant in the game for the Wildcats, throwing a career-high 10 innings in the win. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., allowed four runs – all earned – on seven hits with eight strikeouts. The solid outing comes on the heels of Nunley’s first career no-hitter on Thursday vs. Santa Clara when the sophomore sensation recorded a career-best 11 strikeouts.

    “I just kept competing and kept fighting and I knew my team had my back, so I just wanted to give it all I had,” Nunley said. “We are pretty happy, but we also know we have to come out strong every day. This is a big win, though.”

    After giving up two runs in the first inning and one in the third inning, Nunley held the high-powered Sooners’ offense scoreless until the seventh inning when Oklahoma took a 4-2 lead on a solo home run from Georgia Casey. The Kentucky offense answered, however, with Carroll leading off the bottom of the seventh inning with a solo home run and Jolly tying the game with UK down to its final out with a solo home run.

    Nunley silenced the Oklahoma bats from there, throwing three scoreless innings to close the game – with international tiebreaker rules in place – setting the scene for UK’s dramatic win in the bottom of the 10th inning. Sophomore Sylver Samuel started the inning on second base due to international tiebreaker rules with Jolly popping out to start the inning. With one out, Stokes lined a ball off third base that went into leftfield to score Samuel and give UK the historic win.

    “I went into the at bat knowing I had to attack something low and she pitched me a drop ball the previous at bat and I got a hit with it so I went into the at bat knowing I needed to attack something low,” Stokes said.

    Offensively, Kentucky belted three home runs in the game, including Carroll and Jolly’s clutch bombs in the seventh and Steed’s solo shot in the second inning. Stokes and Carroll both had multi-hit games for Kentucky with Stokes going 2-for-5 with the game-winning RBI and Carroll going 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Sophomore catcher Griffin Joiner kept her hitting streak to start the season going with a 1-for-4 game, while sophomore Nikki Sagermann and senior Krystal Smith each had a hit with Smith adding an RBI.

    Oklahoma started the scoring in game two with a two-run homer to leftfield by Shelby Pendley in the top of the first. After Lauren Chamberlain started the game with a leadoff single, Nunley got a pop out for the first out of the inning before Pendley hit an opposite-field homer to leftfield. Nunley got back-to-back groundouts to end the inning with OU up 2-0.

    Kentucky cut the OU lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the second inning with a solo home run from Steed. After a pop up and a lineout started the inning, Steed stepped in and drilled a laser over the wall in leftfield to make it 2-1 OU.

    The Sooners regained their two-run lead in the top of the third with a leadoff home run by Chamberlain to leftfield before UK rallied in the fourth to cut the lead back to one. Sagermann and Carroll started the rally with back-to-back singles before Steed grounded into a fielder’s choice at second base to put runners on the corner with two outs. Pinch hitter Krystal Smith then hammered a ball to the wall in leftfield, scoring Sagermann before Steed was thrown out at the plate trying to tie the game.

    OU grabbed its two-run lead back in the seventh inning on a two-out solo homer from Casey to leftfield, setting up UK’s dramatic finish with Carroll and Jolly homering in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the game before Stokes came through in the 10th with the game-winning hit.

    Kentucky, which started the day with a 7-1 win over Loyola Marymount, concludes its West Coast swing  Saturday in Long Beach with a Noon ET game vs. George Washington. Live stats from the game will be available online at UKathletics.com.

    Freshman pitcher Meagan Prince shined in the circle for Kentucky against Loyola Marymount, throwing seven innings, allowing one earned run on three hits with seven strikeouts. The native of Martin, Tenn., faced the minimum through three innings before allowing her first hit with one out in the fourth inning to capture her first career victory.

    The Kentucky offense was strong in the game scoring seven runs on 13 hits. Joiner led the way for Kentucky with a 4-for-4 game, including a grand slam to earn five RBI. The grand slam was the first for UK since Stokes’ grand slam vs. North Carolina last season. It was the first grand slam of Joiner’s career.

    Sophomore infielder Ansley Smith also went 4-for-4 in the game with two runs scored and an RBI, while sophomore outfielder Darington Richardson went 2-for-3 with her first career triple. Senior Emily Gaines delivered a pinch-hit RBI single in the game, while Stokes and Samuel each recorded hits.

    The scoring started for Kentucky in the first inning with Ansley Smith doubling to right centerfield before Joiner singled up the middle to score Ansley Smith and put UK up 1-0.

    The Wildcats blew the game open in the fourth inning with five runs on five hits. Jolly started the inning by reaching on an error before Richardson singled to second base. After a strikeout for the first out, Stokes hit an infield single to load the bases for Ansley Smith, who singled to centerfield to score a run and keep the bases loaded for Joiner, who hammered a grand slam over the wall in centerfield to put UK up 6-0.

    Loyola Marymount (0-1) scored its lone run with a leadoff home run by Meghan Harman in the fifth inning before Kentucky grabbed its six-run lead back with the pinch-hit RBI single by Gaines after Richardson had tripled to rightfield.
     




    Rebels Drop Pair of 3-2 Games

    Ole Miss Outhits Western Kentucky, FGCU in Losses

    FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Ole Miss softball team outhit each of its opponents Friday afternoon in Fort Myers, Fla., but too many runners left on base proved to be too much to overcome in a pair of 3-2 losses to Western Kentucky and Florida Gulf Coast on day one of the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational.
     
    “We played two really good teams, our players came ready to play and we played some solid defense,” Ole Miss head coach Windy Thees said. “We made a couple bad pitches and the long ball killed us today, really. That was it. We outhit our opponents and we hit the ball well, we just left too many runners on base. In two games, when you leave 19 runners on base it’s really hard to come out with a win.”

    Ole Miss (0-2) outhit Florida Gulf Coast 12-4 in the second game of the day for the Rebels. All nine Ole Miss starters recorded at least one hit against the Eagles (1-0), including two hits from RT Cantillo, Miranda Strother and Marina Parra.

    FGCU took the early lead in the game with a two-run home run over the left field wall in the bottom of the first inning.

    The Eagles added another run to the board in the bottom of the third with a solo home run to left field.

    Ole Miss cut into the Eagles’ lead in the top of the fourth with a two-RBI single to left field from Parra, bringing the score to 3-2.

    Trailing by one still in the top of the seventh, the Rebels put two runs on base but could not drive them home and fell to the tournament host by a 3-2 score. In all, Ole Miss left 11 runners on base to FGCU’s four.

    “Offensively, we’re right on the cusp of where we need to be,” Thees said. “Every single person in our lineup had a chance to score some runners at second and third today and we just didn’t make it happen. Sometimes it was line shots to the outfield that were outs; we just got unlucky sometimes too. We have to come through. Even if it’s a crummy hit, we have to come through with a hit in those situations and let our pitchers get a little more breathing room. And our pitching just can’t give up the home runs.”

    On day two of the tournament Saturday, Ole Miss faces Georgetown at 9:00 a.m. CT, followed by a matchup against Liberty at 1:30 p.m. CT. The Rebels close out play in the tournament Sunday with the opponent and time of game to be determined.

    Rebels Drop Tight Game to Western Kentucky

    Ole Miss got off to a strong start in its season opener Friday vs. Western Kentucky at the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational in Fort Myers, Fla., but could not hold on to top WKU, losing 3-2.

    Sophomore designated player Madi Osias opened up the scoring for the Rebels with an RBI double to the warning track in right field on the first pitch she saw. Osias’ double scored shortstop Haley Culley from second base and gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead.

    Senior pitcher Carly Hummel faced a jam in the top of the second as the Hilltoppers put runners on first and third with only one out away. The Rebels got out of the jam unscathed though thanks to a nice catch by junior right fielder Jamie Morgan on the warning track, along with a strikeout by Hummel.

    Ole Miss put runners on second and third in the bottom of the fourth with two outs away, but could not add to its lead after Western Kentucky center fielder India Steward made a fantastic, diving catch on a well-hit ball by Morgan.

    The Hilltoppers took their first lead of the game at 2-1 with a two-run home run to center field by designated player Andie Martin in the top of fifth.

    Ole Miss responded in the bottom-half of the inning as senior first baseman Londen Ladner hit an RBI single to left field to score Cantillo from second.

    The Hilltoppers regained the lead in the top of the sixth on an RBI triple to right-center, but the Ole Miss defense prevented any more runs from coming in, thanks in part to a nice toss from pitcher Shelby Jo Fenter to Parra on a sacrifice squeeze.

    Down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Culley drew a walk to put the tying run on base with one out away, but the Rebels could not bring her home.

    In all, six different Rebels recorded base hits against WKU.