LONG BEACH, Calif. – University of Kentucky true freshman pitcher Shannon Smith threw seven scoreless innings with nine strikeouts and only two hits allowed, while senior outfielder Ginny Carroll posted two RBI as No. 12 Kentucky rolled to its fifth straight win to open the season by defeating George Washington 3-0 on Saturday at the 49er Softball Complex in Long Beach, Calif.
Shannon Smith was impressive in her first collegiate start, going the distance to earn the win. The native of Milford, Mass., threw seven scoreless innings in the game with nine strikeouts and only two hits allowed to lead Kentucky (5-0) to the win. The freshman had a stretch of retiring 13 consecutive batters in the game.
Offensively, Kentucky was paced by Carroll, who went 1-for-2 with two RBI, while junior catcher Griffin Joiner went 2-for-3 with her second double of the season. Sophomore infielder Ansley Smith went 1-for-2 in the game with her third double of the season and a run scored, while sophomore Darington Richardson and senior Emily Jolly each recorded hits.
The win completes a successful 5-0 opening weekend for Kentucky with wins vs. No. 2 Oklahoma, Santa Clara, Long Beach State, Loyola Marymount and George Washington. Kentucky’s 5-0 start continues its best start to a season ever, passing the previous best start of 3-0 which UK set in 2013, 2011 and 2007. Kentucky’s win over No. 2 Oklahoma tied the highest-ranked foe UK has ever defeated.
Joiner paced Kentucky offensively over the weekend with a .667 (10-for-15) batting average with two doubles, three homers and nine RBI. Richardson was second on the team in batting average at .600 (3-for-5), while sophomore Maisie Steed, Ansley Smith, Carroll and Jolly each hit homers. Sophomore Christian Stokes hit .368 with four doubles and one triple, while Ansley Smith had three doubles.
Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Nunley paced UK in the circle with her first collegiate no-hitter and a 10-inning win over No. 2 Oklahoma. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., struck out a career-high 11 batters against Santa Clara in the no-hit bid, while striking out eight against Oklahoma. The sophomore ends the weekend 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings pitched. Senior Lauren Cumbess threw five strong innings in her lone outing to go 1-0 on the weekend with four strikeouts. UK’s two rookie pitchers also performed well with Meagan Prince going 1-0 with seven scoreless innings against Loyola Marymount before Shannon Smith’s strong performance Saturday vs. George Washington.
The Wildcats scored first in the game platting a run in the fifth inning. Ansley Smith started the rally with her third double of the season, advancing to third on a wild pitch. After Joiner reached on an error and advanced to second, senior Lauren Cumbess grounded out sharply back to the pitcher for the first out. Carroll then hit a sacrifice fly to leftfield to score Ansley Smith and give UK the 1-0 lead.
UK increased its lead to 2-0 in the sixth inning thanks to two George Washington errors. Sophomore Nikki Sagermann reached on an error to start the inning, followed by a perfect sacrifice bunt by Richardson to move Sagermann into scoring position. Jolly then hit an infield single to the shortstop, who stopped the ball but threw wildly to third to score Sagermann. Jolly got thrown out trying to advance to third for the second out and after sophomore Christian Stokes walked, Ansley Smith lined out to rightfield to end the inning with UK up 2-0.
The Wildcats added an insurance run in the seventh inning with an RBI single by Carroll. Joiner started the inning with a double off the wall in centerfield and was pinch ran for by senior Krystal Smith, who moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by pinch hitter Sarah Frazer. Carroll then singled off the GWU pitcher to score Krystal Smith and put UK up 3-0. Pinch hitter Breanne Ray walked and Richardson hit an infield single to load the bases, but Richardson was picked off at first to end the rally.
Kentucky will continue its 15-game road swing to start the season next Friday when it travels to Austin, Texas to play in the Texas Tournament. The Wildcats will play five games at the three-day event starting with an 11 a.m. ET battle vs. Louisiana Tech on Friday.
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Alabama Bats Come Alive in Huge Win Over NW State
TROY, Ala. –Alabama softball got off to an explosive start Saturday afternoon against Northwestern State, shutting out the Lady Demons 16-0.
The Alabama (3-0) offense had another stellar performance in Saturday’s first game, scoring 16 runs on 12 hits including six doubles and a pair of triples. It’s the seventh time in Alabama history that the Tide has hit six doubles in one game, last doing so on Feb. 11, 2012 against Lipscomb. Offensive production was spread evenly throughout the Alabama lineup, highlighted by freshman Peyton Grantham who went 3-3 in her collegiate debut finishing one home run shy of hitting for the cycle. Leslie Jury (2-0) earned her second win of the season with her second two-hit shutout of the weekend.
Northwestern State (1-3) earns its third loss of the young season while starter Skylar Cagle (0-3) took the loss after 2.0 innings pitched with four earned runs allowed.
Jadyn Spencer put Alabama on the board in the top of the first with two outs, as she smashed a hard-hit double to the left-center gap to drive in Haylie McCleney from second to make it a 1-0 game early. A pair of doubles in the top of the second stretched the lead to 4-0, as McCleney drove in a pair with two away before Hawkins followed with another two-bagger in the next at-bat.
A walk and back-to-back singles loaded the bases for Alabama to lead off the top of the third. Danae Hays earned an RBI the hard way, being hit by a pitch to make it 5-0 and a wild pitch advanced everyone 60 feet as Danielle Richard crossed the plate to make it 6-0. After a pitching change, a walk loaded the bases yet again as McCleney drove in a pair with a standup double to the center field wall to make it 8-0. Andrea Hawkins tacked on another with an RBI groundout and Kaila Hunt made it a double-digit lead with an RBI double.
After a leadoff triple and a walk in the fourth inning, Chaunsey Bell drove them both in with yet another triple to stretch the Tide’s lead to 12-0. Later in the inning, Molly Fictner stepped in to pinch-hit for McCleney and made the most of the opportunity, blasting a two-run homer to stretch Alabama’s lead to 14-0.
The Tide added two more runs in the top of the fifth with a Peyton Grantham RBI double and a RBI groundout by Bell. Alabama headed into the bottom of the fifth leading 16-0 as Jury shut down the side in order to preserve the convincing shutout win.
Alabama concludes today’s action against Middle Tennessee (0-3) at 7:30 p.m. CT.
Alabama Softball Defeats Middle Tennessee, 9-1, in Six Innings
TROY, Ala. – In the Tide’s second game Saturday, Alabama (4-0) earned its third shutout win of the season by defeating Middle Tennessee (0-4), 9-0, in six innings. A six-run second inning dealt most of the damage, with a balanced offense helping Alabama to its third run-rule victory of the weekend. Sydney Littlejohn (1-0) earned the victory in her first career start, allowing two hits and one earned run with 7 strikeouts. For the Blue Raiders, Caitlin McClure (0-3) took the loss in the circle.
Back-to-back singles and a hit batter loaded the bases with one out for Alabama in the top of the second, as Ryan Iamurri dropped a single into left field to score one and an errant throw allowed another to cross the plate as the Tide moved ahead 2-0. Haylie McCleney doubled the Tide’s lead with a two-run triple to the left-center wall and Kallie Case brought her home with an RBI single up the middle in the next at-bat. A stolen base and a throwing error moved Case to third and Spencer brought her home with a hard RBI single back to the pitcher. A infield popup eventually ended the half-inning as Alabama batted around the order and took a 6-0 lead into the bottom of the second.
The score remained 6-0 until the Tide started a rally with two outs in the top of the sixth. Back-to-back singles by Marisa Runyon and Spencer set up Jaclyn Traina for an RBI single into right field while a fielding error allowed Spencer to come home as well as Alabama pulled ahead 8-0. Grantham added another with an RBI single as Alabama ended the half-inning with a 9-0 lead. The Blue Raiders avoided the shutout with a two-out solo homer in the bottom-half of the inning but Alabama held on for the run-rue victory.
Alabama concludes its weekend at the Troy Subway Invitational Sunday afternoon as they take on the Troy Trojans (2-1-1) at 2:30 p.m. CT.
Gamecocks Drop 5-2 Decision to Ohio in Saturday’s First Game
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina could not get much going to start its Saturday action, falling 5-2 to Ohio on the second day of the Carolina Classic at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.
Ohio took the early 2-0 lead with two down in the first. A walk to Casie Hutchinson started the rally, and Alexandria Basquez followed with a double to the gap in right center, scoring the first run. Madison Claytor followed with a shot off the wall in left, getting to third on the play and sending Basquez home to make it 2-0 after an inning.
The Gamecocks cut the lead to one in the top of the third. Senior shortstop Codee Yeske led off the frame with a walk, and senior second baseman Dana Hathorn moved her to second with a bunt. A wild pitch sent Yeske to third, and the throw down got away from the Bobcat defense, letting Yeske score.
The same Ohio trio struck again in the third. Hutchinson drew her second walk, and Basquez followed up with a single to right with two outs. Claytor’s second hit of the contest cleared the wall in left center, handing Ohio the 5-1 advantage.
South Carolina cut into the lead again in the sixth when junior catcher Sarah Mooney scored on another Ohio error. Mooney reached with a single up the middle and stole second base, both firsts in her Gamecock career.
Ohio’s Savannah Jo Dorsey (2-0) tossed a complete game in the win, giving up two unearned runs on three hits and two walks while fanning 10. Redshirt junior Julie Sarratt (0-1) took the loss for South Carolina, allowing five earned runs on four hits and two walks in 2.2 innings. She struck out four.
The Bobcats’ Claytor went 2-for-4 with four RBI, a triple and a homer, while Basquez went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a double. Gamecock sophomore left fielder Alaynie Page had a double, while senior second baseman Dana Hathorn and Mooney also had hits for South Carolina.
South Carolina Bounces Back with 9-0 (5) Win vs. Presbyterian
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Gamecock offense fired on all cylinders in its second game of Saturday’s action at the Carolina Classic as South Carolina (2-1) won a 9-0 (5) contest over Presbyterian at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.
Sophomore centerfielder Ansley Ard went 3-for-3 with a triple, and senior shortstop Codee Yeske also went 3-for-3 with a double, two RBI and two stolen bases in the win. Freshman first baseman Kaylea Snaer went 2-for-3 with a double and a homer two runs and two RBI, while junior catcher Sarah Mooney hit her first homer as a Gamecock in a 1-for-2 day.
South Carolina batted around in both the third and fourth, posting all nine runs in those two frames. The runs in the third came with two down as five straight Gamecocks reached base, as Snaer doubled home senior second baseman Ashlyn Masters for the first run. Senior right fielder Chelsea Hawkins plated Snaer with a single, and sophomore left fielder Alaynie Page brought home Mooney with a single to left. Yeske doubled home the last two runs of the third with her hit to right.
The fourth saw senior pinch runner Brooke Barnhill score from first on Ard’s bunt single after a Blue Hose throwing error. Masters drove home Ard with a sacrifice fly ahead of the homers by Snaer and Mooney.
Freshman Nickie Blue (2-0) tossed three scoreless innings in the win, striking out one, walking one and giving up one hit. Junior Lakyn Shull fanned two in two innings while allowing only one hit. Kensley Loudermelk (0-1) took the loss, with eight earned runs allowed on nine hits and five walks in 3.1 innings.
The Gamecocks close the Carolina Classic on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. against UNC Greensboro.
No. 23/21 Georgia Sweeps Second Day of Red and Black Showcase
ATHENS, Ga. – The No. 23/21 Georgia softball team picked up a pair of wins against North Texas and James Madison to improve to 4-0 on the season on Saturday, February 8 in the Red and Black Showcase at Jack Turner Stadium in Athens, Ga. The Bulldogs opened the day with a 7-4 win over North Texas and followed it up with an 8-2 win over James Madison.
Georgia 7, North Texas 4
Georgia earned a 7-4 win over North Texas in the first game of the day. Alex Hugo and Kaylee Puailoa delivered the big hits, each picking up two run home runs. Hugo finished 2-for-2 at the plate with two runs scored and two RBI. Puailoa and Katie Browne also drove in two runs each.
Glasco (1-0) got the start and went the distance in the circle for the Bulldogs. She gave up four run, only one of which was earned, on five hits in the complete game performance. She also struck out seven batters. Ashley Kirk suffered the loss after giving up five runs, two earned, on seven hits and two walks in five innings of work. She also struck out four. Kenzie Grimes also saw time in the circle, striking out one in one inning.
North Texas jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, grabbing one run in the first before adding two in the second.
Georgia got a pair of runs back in the bottom of the second to make it a 3-2 game. With Tina Iosefa on first after an infield single, Hugo blasted the first home run of the season for the Bulldogs deep and high over the centerfield wall for a two-run shot that cut the Mean Green lead to one.
The Bulldogs evened the score in the bottom of the third inning. A walk and an error put runners at first and second for Puailoa, who reached on an error by the North Texas second baseman. The error allowed Swafford to come home and tie the game up at 3-3.
The Mean Green threatened in the top of the fourth after a fielder’s choice, a passed ball and a groundout put a runner at second with two away. Glasco settled in and got the final batter to strike out swinging for the third and final out of the inning.
Hugo led off the bottom of fourth inning with a bunt single and moved to third on a two base error. A sacrifice fly by Browne scored Hugo from third and allowed Georgia to take its first lead of the game at 4-3.
After retiring the side in the top of the fifth, Georgia put up three more runs in the home half of the inning to extend its lead to 7-3. Wilson led off the inning with a double to right center and scored two batters later when Puailoa belted a home run over the right field wall. Iosefa followed with a single to left and was pinch ran for by Adele Harrison. Browne delivered her second RBI of the day with a single to left that gave Georgia a 7-3 lead.
North Texas got a run back in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by Sarah McGann that made it a 7-4 game. The Mean Green couldn’t do any more, as Georgia picked up its third win of the season.
Georgia 8, James Madison 2
The Bulldogs earned their second win of the day when it handed James Madison an 8-2 loss. Hugo again led the offense with her second home run of the day, which drove in three runs.
Chelsea Wilkinson spun a gem and picked up the win to move to 3-0 on the season. She did not allow a hit in four innings in the circle and struck out eight batters, including five in a row. Bekah Farris also saw time in the circle, giving up two runs, one of which was earned, on three hits and a walk in three innings in the circle. She also struck out two batters.
JMU’s Heather Kiefer suffered the loss to fall to 0-2 on the year. She allowed seven runs, four earned, on five hits and two walks. She also struck out two. Kelly Wishard came in as relief for Kiefer, throwing the final 3.1 innings of the game and allowing one run on two hits and three walks.
Georgia put up four runs in the bottom of the second to take an early 4-0 lead. A leadoff double, a passed ball and a walk put a pair of runners in scoring position. With two on, Browne delivered a sacrifice fly that made it a 1-0 game. With runners on following a fielder’s choice and an infield single, Hugo belted her second home run of the day, this one a three-run shot to left that put the Bulldogs up 4-0.
Wilkinson continued to make quick work of the Dukes in the top of the third. After allowing a leadoff walk, she struck out the side to end the inning.
The offensive surge continued into the bottom of the third, as Georgia went ahead 7-0. Glasco led off with a double to left center. The next three runs were scored when the Bulldogs took advantage of a pair of throwing errors and a fielding error by JMU.
JMU avoided the shutout with a run in both the fifth and sixth innings. An RBI-double plated the Dukes’ first run, before a RBI-single scored the second and final JMU run.
Wilson singled to short to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning and moved to third on a walk and a ground out. Iosefa recorded a sacrifice fly that scored Wilson and brought the score to 8-2. Georgia sealed the 8-2 win with a 1-2-3 seventh inning.
Georgia returns to action tomorrow, Feb. 9, at 12:30 p.m., when it takes on James Madison in the final game of the Seventh Annual Red and Black Showcase.
Morgan Hits Two Grand Slams as Aggies Sweep Bakersfield, UCSB
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Senior Nicole Morgan had a near-perfect day as the 11th-ranked Texas A&M softball team defeated Bakersfield (1-3), 14-8, and run-ruled UC Santa Barbara (1-2), 8-0 in six innings Saturday on day two of the Gaucho Classic I.
The Aggies amassed 22 runs on 24 hits, including four doubles and 5 home runs, with 22 RBI on the day for a .387 team batting average.
Morgan hit two grand slams – the fourth and fifth of her career – and a two-run home run against Bakersfield in game one to pull the Aggies out of a close, back-and-forth battle. The senior had 10 RBI on the game, with a walk and four runs scored. She was one RBI short of tying the NCAA record for a single game, and was one short of the tying the single-game home run record.
Morgan joins Aggie student assistant coach Mel Dumezich on the eight-person list of NCAA Division I players who have hit two grand slams in a single game. Cassie Tysarczyk added a fourth home run on the game and together the seniors accounted for 12 of the Aggies’ 14 RBI vs. Bakersfield. Both hit .714 on the day.
Bakersfield got the first spot on the scoreboard with an RBI single to right field in the top of the first. Aggie pitcher Rachel Fox fanned the final batter with two on base to end the half-inning.
The Aggies evened the score in the bottom of the first when a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch by sophomore Cali Lanphear forced in the 1-1 run. The run, scored by freshman April Ryan, was unearned due to a two-out error that put senior Amber Garza on base.
The Roadrunners regained a one-run lead in the next half-inning on another RBI single, hit to left field.
Texas A&M was efficient with two outs in the second, scoring three runs to take a 4-2 lead over Bakersfield. With senior Emily Albus on second, Ryan recorded the sixth RBI of her young career with a double to left field. Morgan followed suit in the next at bat but went the extra mile with a home run that gave the Aggies a two-run lead.
The game swung back to a Bakersfield advantage in the top of the fourth when the designated visitors scored three runs. A pair of hit-by-pitches put runners on base before an RBI single sent the first run home. The second run of the half-inning was unearned when the runner advanced home on a passed ball. The Roadrunners pulled ahead on the final run of the frame, sent home on a sacrifice bunt.
The Aggies answered with a two-run home run over centerfield by Tysarczyk in the bottom of the inning. The long ball plated junior Allison Garrett, pinch running for Morgan, who had reached on a walk. Tysarczyk’s bomb bounced on the top of the wall before dropping over.
A fifth-inning grand slam by Morgan pushed the A&M lead to 10-5. Junior Brittany Clopton reached base on a one-out infield single and was joined on the bags by Albus, who took first on a throwing error after a sacrifice bunt. A walk by Ryan loaded the bases before Morgan’s blast cleared right field.
Bakersfield took advantage of a pair of walks in the top of the sixth, scoring a pair of bases-loaded runs on an error and a base hit. A sacrifice fly out scored the third run of the half-inning when Tysarczyk caught the fly in right field and hurled a laser home that was a millisecond late for the attempted double play, and the Roadrunners narrowed the score to 10-8.
The mini rally wasn’t enough for Bakersfield, however, as Morgan hit her second grand slam in as many innings in the bottom of the sixth. Senior Taran Tyler, Clopton and Ryan scored on the play.
Aggie closer Abby Donnell shut down three straight to end the game, including a strikeout for the final out. The freshman earned her first career save with the 1 1/3-inning effort. Junior Lauren Ainsley (1-0) earned the win, giving up two earned runs on three hits and three walks in two innings of relief.
Bakersfield’s Lyndsay Klimenko (0-2) suffered the loss after allowing 12 earned runs on 12 hits and four walks in the complete-game effort.
In the second game of the day, vs. the hosting Gauchos, the Aggies got a runner as far as second base through the first three innings, but no further. In the bottom of the third UCSB hit a perfectly-placed triple down the left-field line, but the Aggies shut the inning down before any damage was done.
Texas A&M got on the board in the top of the fourth with an RBI single by Tysarczyk. The senior plated pinch runner Allison Garrett after Morgan reached on a walk. Garrett took second on a base hit by Garza before flying home on Tysarczyk’s shot.
Ryan hit the first home run of her young career in the top of the fifth. The two-run blast also pushed Albus – who slapped an infield single to reach first – home for the 3-0 lead.
The rally didn’t end there, however, as Morgan narrowly missed hitting her fourth home run on the day when a double to left-center hit the top of the wall and stayed in the park. Garza drew a walk behind Morgan and a Tysarczyk used a second-straight base hit up the middle to plate the 4-0 run.
The Aggies added four quick runs in the top of the sixth to stretch to an 8-0 lead on the Gauchos. Tyler singled and took second on a sacrifice bunt by Clopton. Albus also bunted and reached first for a base hit before a no-play fielder’s choice by Ryan sent Tyler home.
Morgan hit a second-straight double to the wall and plated both Ryan and Albus on the play. A double by Garza added the eighth run of the game when Morgan crossed the plate.
Bakersfield was unable to stop the bleeding and the Aggies continued their unbeaten streak with the 8-0 run-rule win.
Sophomore Katie Marks (2-0) earned the second win of her Aggie career with a complete game shutout in the circle. The Katy, Texas, native threw a three-hit effort with one walk and three strikeouts. UCSB’s Shelby Wisdom took the loss after giving up four earned runs on eight hits and two walks.
The Aggies close out opening weekend Sunday with an 11 a.m. CT game vs. Dayton. The contest can be heard live worldwide via 95.1-3 The Zone HD on AggieAthletics.com. To follow the live stats, go to tamustats.com. Keep up with the Texas A&M softball team all season by logging on to AggieAthletics.com and following @AggieSoftball on Twitter.
No. 1 Tennessee Picks Up Wins Over Northern Colorado, Georgia Southern
STATESBORO, Ga. – No. 1 Tennessee saw its power bats come alive on Saturday in an 8-3 win over Northern Colorado followed by a 1-0 win over Georgia Southern in Day 2 of the Eagle Round Robin in Statesboro, Ga.
After early rain delays pushed back the start of Saturday’s games, Tennessee (3-0) used a late-inning surge thanks to home runs from Lexi Overstreet and Taylor Koenig to power past Northern Colorado. In the evening a home run by Melissa Davin and a 10-strikeout shutout from Ellen Renfroe was all the Lady Vols needed to defeat host Georgia Southern.
Tennessee 8, Northern Colorado 3
The Lady Vols defeated Northern Colorado, 8-3, in their second game in as many days at the Eagle Round Robin Tournament on Saturday behind the strong relief pitching of Rainey Gaffin and a big bat in Lexi Overstreet.
Tennessee (2-0) tallied two runs in the third, added one in the fourth, three in the fifth and two more in the sixth to beat Northern Colorado (0-2) for a second time. Overstreet led the Lady Vols with two hits and three RBI's including a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning to pull Tennessee ahead for the final time. Taylor Koenig also hit her first career home run and went 2-for-4 at the plate with double.
Gaffin, a sophomore, led the team in pitching after leaving her normal center field duties. She finished the game with two and two-thirds innings pitched, allowing no runs and striking out seven Northern Colorado batters along the way. Starter Erin Gabriel threw four and one-third frames with four strikeouts and two earned runs allowed.
Northern Colorado got on the board first when Megan Wilkinson had solo home run in the top of the third inning off Gabriel.
The Lady Vols answered back immediately. Megan Geer walked to lead off the bottom half of the inning. After a stolen base and wild pitch, Gaffin walked to put runners on first and third. Two batters later, an error by the Bears shortstop on Melissa Davin's ground ball scored Geer and tied the game. The following batter for the Lady Vols, Overstreet, ripped a single through the middle scoring Gaffin and giving Tennessee the lead.
Tennessee added another run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Koenig reached base on a double down the right field line. Fellow freshmen Shaliyah Geathers - who was getting her first career start - doubled up the middle, scoring Koenig and extending the Lady Vols' lead to 3-1.
Nicole Hudson, the Bears' first batter of the fifth inning, walked on four pitches. After a sac bunt and a passed ball she was driven in from third by an RBI double from Wilkinson cutting the Tennessee lead to one run. Gaffin replaced Gabriel as the Tennessee pitcher before an error by Cheyanne Tarango allows another Northern Colorado run to cross the plate, tying the game at 3-3.
Overstreet responded in the bottom of the fifth inning for Tennessee after lifting a 2-1 pitch over the fence driving in Davin as well - the Lady Vols' first home run of the season. Two batters later, Koenig connected on a solo shot as well putting Tennessee up 6-3.
Tennessee added to its lead in the bottom of the sixth when Geer trotted into second base on a standup double. She made it home two wild pitches later giving UT a 7-3 lead. With two on and two outs, Tarango singled in Madison Shipman, adding another run to Tennessee's tally, 8-3.
Tennessee 1, Georgia Southern 0
Tennessee ace Ellen Renfroe came ready to play Saturday and carried the Lady Vols past Georgia Southern, 1-0, in their second game of the day at the Eagle Round Robin Tournament in Statesboro, Ga.
The Lady Vols scored one run in the second off of a solo homer by Melissa Davin and held the Eagles scoreless for the remainder of the game.
Renfroe pitched seven shutout innings of two-hit softball, striking out 10 and only walking one batter. The senior from Jackson, Tenn. followed her shutout performance Friday against Northern Colorado with an even more impressive one today.
Davin’s solo home run to lead off the second inning was the difference in the game that featured two impressive pitchers. Taylor Koenig, Cheyanne Tarango and Hannah Akamine also added hits for the Lady Vols.
After Davin's shot in the top of the second inning, Koenig and Tarango both reached base with singles but the Lady Vols failed to convert on the opportunity with two outs.
Akamine's hit came with no outs in the fifth inning but a strikeout by Gaffin and two fly-ball outs to the catcher by Annie Aldrete and Madison Shipman neutralized the threat.
Meanwhile, Renfroe consistently struck out the Eagle batters finishing the game with two strikeouts in the bottom of the seventh to ice the game.
The Lady Vols enter the season ranked No. 1 in both USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll and the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 poll. In its three wins in Statesboro, Tennessee has outscored opponents 17-3.
Sunday's matchup against Oakland is at 10:30 a.m. and will be the second meeting for the teams. Tennessee won the previous game in 2007, 7-0.
Florida Mounts Late Comeback to Beat Michigan in Extra-Inning Thriller
TAMPA, Fla. - The third-ranked Gator Softball team continued its winning ways at the USF Wilson-DeMarini Tournament on Saturday, beating No. 4 Michigan in thrilling fashion with a 9-4 win in eight innings. Florida scored all its runs in the final two frames, tying the game with four runs in the seventh and sealing the victory with five in the eighth. A day after she picked up the save in her collegiate debut against Illinois State, freshman lefty Delanie Gourley earned her first win with a complete game.
After loading the bases on three straight singles to start its half of the third inning, Michigan got a grand slam from shortstop Sierra Romero. That was the only scoring in the game until Florida began its rally in the seventh.
The Orange and Blue loaded the bases in the seventh, and Aubree Munro began the Gators' with a bases-clearing double to cut the deficit to one at 4-3. Florida tied the game on a single by Kelsey Stewart that scored pitcher Hannah Rogers, who Head Coach Tim Walton sent in as a pinch-runner for Munro.
Under international tiebreaker rules, Kirsti Merritt began the top of the 8th on second base, and Bailey Castro brought her home with a double to give UF the lead for good. Taylor Schwarz homered to left after Castro's double, extending Florida's edge to three. After Stephanie Tofft walked and stole second, Taylore Fuller hit a pinch-hit home run to right to produce the final margin.
Home Runs vs. San Diego Highlight Saturday Split for Arkansas
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The University of Arkansas softball team split a pair of games Saturday at the Sportco Kick-Off Classic in Las Vegas, The Razorbacks began the day with a 10-1 win over San Diego before losing a 6-1 contest to No. 5/3 Washington. Arkansas returns to the field Sunday at noon (CT) to face No. 16/18 Baylor in the weekend finale for both teams. An audio stream will be available through a RazorVision subscription with links to live stats at the tournament central page.
The Razorbacks launched three home runs Saturday morning, including a grand slam by freshman Parker Pocklington, in a 10-1 win over San Diego in five innings. Fellow freshman Sydney Wright struck out three Torero hitters and picked up the first win of her collegiate career. The Razorbacks also picked up home runs from Claire Clark and Kasey Fagan.
With one run already across the plate in the first inning and the bases loaded for Pocklington, the Centralia, Wash., native sent a ball high over the wall in center field to give Arkansas the early 5-0 lead. Pocklington’s home run was the only hit of the inning with the Razorbacks taking advantage of two walks and two hit batters. Fagan added her second home run of the season in the fourth with a two-run shot off the scoreboard beyond the scoreboard in left field.
Arkansas led 8-1 when Clark came to the plate in a pinch-hit opportunity in the bottom of the fifth inning. With Ashley Martindale on first as a pinch runner, Clark sent a game-ending, two-run homer into center field to secure the run-rule victory. It was the second home run of Clark’s career.
The Razorback fell behind early after a three-run home run by Washington’s Kylee Lahners in the first but the team responded with a run of their own in the second in an error-filled inning by the Huskies. Clark bounced a ball to shortstop that was mishandled and allowed Chloe Oprzedek to score from third. The Razorbacks loaded the bases in the second, third and fourth but struggled throughout the game to come up with the key hit.
In the circle, freshman Grace Moll kept Arkansas close in the first start of her collegiate career. After giving up the first-inning home run, Moll held Washington without a run over the next four innings. She finished the game with four strikeouts before exiting game in the sixth after allowing the Huskies to add three more runs.
Mississippi State Softball Wins Two More
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Two more offensive outbursts helped the Mississippi State softball team to two more wins Saturday afternoon as the Bulldogs topped Northern Kentucky 6-1 and Jacksonville State 9-1 in six innings. It is the first 4-0 start for MSU since a 5-0 beginning in 2012.
Mississippi State was paced at the plate by senior Heidi Shape, who went three-for-five with four runs scored, three walks and three stolen bases during the two contests. Freshman Caroline Seitz also had a big day at the dish with her first career home run, two doubles and two RBI.
MSU trailed 1-0 against Jacksonville State before tying the game at 1-1 in the fourth and scoring seven times in the bottom of the fifth to take a commanding 8-1 lead. It has not been just the offense, however, as the Bulldogs’ pitching staff has surrendered just three runs on eight hits. The staff’s earned-run average sits at 0.91.
In game one, freshman Mackenzie Toler earned her first career start, tossing one-and-two-thirds innings before giving way to sophomore Jacey Punches. Toler did not allow a hit, walked one batter and struck out two. She was taken out due to a pitch count. Punches (2-0) earned the win and yielded one hit and seven strikeouts in three-and-a-third innings. Senior Shana Sherrod came in for the final two innings and allowed a run on two hits and a walk. She also fanned one. NKU’s Alex Caudill (0-2) tossed three innings and surrendered all six runs on eight hits and two walks. Alyssa Enrique entered for the final three frames and allowed just one hit and a walk.
During the second contest, senior Alison Owen (1-0) gave up a leadoff home run and retired the next 11 batters. She finished the game allowing just three hits and one run while fanning 10. Tiffany Harbin (1-1) took the loss for the Gamecocks and tossed four-and-two-thirds innings, allowing seven runs on six hits and two walks. She fanned six. Logan Green recorded the final two outs of the contest and yielded two runs on two hits and a pair of free passes.
In the opener, Mississippi State wasted little time going ahead, taking a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, scoring all four runs with two outs. With one out, Shape walked and classmate Sam Lenahan singled to put runners on first and second. After a fly out to center, junior Julia Echols singled to right to plate Shape and move Lenahan to third. Echols stole second and Toler helped herself with a two-run single as she beat out a slow roller to the third baseman that allowed Lenahan and Echols to score. Seitz finished the scoring with a double off the wall in right center that plated Toler for the four-run cushion.
After retiring the Norse in order in the top of the second, MSU added two more runs in the bottom of the frame. Sophomore Kayla Winkfield led off with a single, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Lenahan sacrifice fly. Shape, who had walked, scored on a double over the head of the center fielder by senior Logan Foulks.
The Norse broke through for their first hit of the game in the top of the fifth as Katelyn Roy singled to left center. Punches bounced back with consecutive strikeouts to end the threat.
In the top of the sixth, NKU scored its first run of the contest to make it a 6-1 Mississippi State lead. KC Straley doubled to right with one out and Dee Dee Davis followed with a walk. After a pop out, Natalie Papi singled over the head of Sherrod and into center to plate Straley. Sherrod closed the inning with a fly out.
Sherrod retired the Norse in order in the top of the seventh to seal the victory.
In game two, Jacksonville State jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Ella Denes led off the game with a home run to right center.
The Gamecocks nearly made it a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth, but a leaping catch from sophomore left fielder Loryn Nichols saved a sure home run swing by Sara Boarders. Nichols timed the jump just right, reached over the wall in left and made the grab.
After the big defensive play, MSU broke through in the bottom of the fourth to even the game at 1-1. Seitz led off the bottom of the frame with a home run.
Owen gave up a leadoff single to Cadi Oliver in the top of the fifth, but a sacrifice bunt and consecutive strikeouts left Oliver on second base.
The Bulldogs then broke loose with seven runs to take a commanding 8-1 lead. Winkfield was hit by a pitch and stole second. After a pop out, a fielder’s choice by Shape ended up with runners on the corners and one down as Winkfield beat Harbin’s toss to first. Foulks walked to fill the bases and Lenahan delivered the game-winning run with a double to the gap in right center that plated Winkfield and Shape to put MSU ahead 3-1. Toler followed with a two-run single up the middle that drove in Lenahan and Foulks for a 5-1 edge. Echols blasted a two-run home run to left that made the Bulldog advantage 7-1. Winkfield closed the scoring with a single up the middle that drove in Nichols, who had walked, to make it an 8-1 lead.
Mississippi State allowed one runner to reach base in the sixth and ended the game win a run in the bottom of the frame for the 9-1 final score. Shape walked, stole second and scored on a Lenahan double to right center.
MSU finishes the Bulldog Kickoff Classic on Sunday afternoon with a 1:30 p.m. rematch against Jacksonville State.
Ole Miss Records Pair of Wins
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Ole Miss softball team bounced back on day two of the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational with a pair of wins over Georgetown and Liberty at the FGCU Complex in Fort Myers, Fla., on Saturday.
Behind a fantastic pitching performance from redshirt-freshman Emily Gaitan, Ole Miss opened the day with a 2-1 victory over the Hoyas. Ole Miss (2-2) then topped Liberty (0-3) in its second game of the day 5-1.
“It was great to bounce back today and pull out a couple of wins,” Ole Miss head coach Windy Thees said. “RT Cantillo really led the way for us offensively and we need to continue to score the runners once we get them on base. We still aren't where we need to be, but we are heading in the right direction.”
Against the Flames, senior pitcher Shelby Jo Fenter went 6.1 innings, striking out eight batters and allowing just one run on four hits.
For the fourth consecutive game Ole Miss outhit its opponent, this time by an 8-4 count.
Sophomore designated player Madi Osias got the Rebels off to a strong start in the first inning with a three-run home run well over the left field fence.
Ole Miss added to its lead in the fourth inning with a sacrifice fly from redshirt-freshman second baseman Alyssa Invergo that scored freshman left fielder Miranda Strother.
Invergo and Strother connected again for the Rebels’ final run of the game when the Peotone, Ill., native ripped a standup triple into the right-center field gap that scored Strother from first base easily.
With the score now at 5-1 and the tying run on deck in the seventh, Ole Miss head coach Windy Thees went to Osias to get the final two outs, earn the save and secure the 5-1 win for the Rebels. It was the first save of the season for Osias.
The Rebels will face Georgetown (1-3) Sunday at 10:15 a.m. CT in the tournament’s third-place game.
Gaitan Pitches Gem In Collegiate Debut
Led by redshirt freshman Emily Gaitan, the Ole Miss softball team topped Georgetown 2-1 in Saturday’s opening game.
Gaitan, a Tampa, Fla., native, threw a complete game against the Hoyas, striking out seven batters, while allowing just three hits and two runners to advance past first base.
“Emily Gaitan had a fantastic day on the mound for us,” Thees said. “She really had great composure and was able to throw all of her pitches for strikes. I think this was a great first win of many that this young woman will have in her career as a Rebel.”
Senior center fielder RT Cantillo led Ole Miss at the plate with a 3-3 performance, two RBI and a walk. The Rebels had six batters record hits, and outhit the Hoyas 8-3 in the game.
Entering the bottom of the fourth with a scoreless game and runners on first and second and two outs away, Cantillo hit a single up the middle to score senior catcher Marina Parra and give the Rebels a 1-0 lead.
Ole Miss added an insurance run in the sixth inning with another RBI single up the middle by Cantillo that scored junior Jamie Morgan, who was pinch running for junior Lauren Lindsey.
Georgetown scored an unearned run in the seventh, but Ole Miss prevented any further damage and opened the day with the one-run victory.
Auburn Softball Takes Two on Day 2 of Plainsman Invite
AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn’s softball team swept past Morehead State and Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday to run its win streak to three games in the Plainsman Invite at Jane B. Moore Field.
The Tigers beat Morehead State 12-0 in five innings and beat Louisiana-Monroe 9-2. They beat North Dakota State 11-3 on Friday.
“We’re starting to understand the concept of consistency,” Auburn head coach Clint Myers said. “We’re taking our plan and working hard to execute it. We have to become better at recognizing good strikes to hit and not just strikes. When we went fishing and out of the zone, zeroes were on the board. If we do things that we talk about daily, good things happen. They are starting to understand that.”
Auburn’s pitchers were dominant, giving up just six hits. Sophomore Lexi Davis went the distance against ULM, picking up her second win in two nights. Marcy Harper got the win in the first game, pitching three hitless innings. Hilary Mavromat pitched two innings in relief, giving up one hit and striking out three.
“Marcy threw well and Hilary came in and did a good job.” Myers said. “Lex had a nice seven-inning effort to follow. Our mentality is to throw strikes, play good defense, get timely hitting and we’ll have a good chance of winning. We had good defense, nice plays tonight, and the pitchers
McKenzie Kilpatrick and Morgan Estell each had two-run homers as the Tigers beat Morehead State in the first game. Estell was 2-for-2 and drove in three runs. Kilpatrick was 2-for-3 and drove in three runs. Jade Rhodes and Kasey Cooper had two hits apiece. Austyn West drove in two runs.
Auburn broke away from a 2-2 tie against ULM in the second game, scoring five runs in the fourth inning. Sophomore Kelsey Bogaards hit a solo homer, her first of the season, in the fifth. Branndi Malero and Bogaards each had two of Auburn’s seven hits.
On the final day of the Plainsman Invite, Auburn will face Notre Dame at 11 a.m. and Tennessee Tech at 1 p.m. Notre Dame will play Morehead State at 9 a.m.