College Softball News

2014 SEC Softball Tournament: Day Two Scoreboard

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Hungry for its first SEC Softball Tournament win since 2010, the No. 25 and sixth-seeded LSU Tigers scored two runs in the first inning and got four more over the course of the game, as senior hurler Ashley Czechner twirled her first shutout of the season in a 6-0 victory over No. 14 and third seed Missouri Thursday afternoon at the Carolina Softball Stadium.

LSU (35-21) advances to the semifinals and will take on the winner of No. 2 seed Tennessee and No. 7 seed Kentucky on Thursday at 2 p.m. on ESPNU. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Tigers in the SEC’s main event, as the squad earned its first shutout in the tournament since holding Auburn scoreless in a 4-0 win in Baton Rouge in 2008.

After LSU drew first blood with its two runs in the very first inning, neither side would plate another until the fourth, and that’s when the team would start to put the pressure back on Missouri (41-16) as over the course of the next three LSU would score all four runs while Missouri committed three errors to allow the Tigers to go up big and keep it that way en route to the program’s third shutout of Missouri in nine all-time meetings.

“I thought it was a nice all-around victory for us where our offense really set the tone in the top half of that first inning,” head softball coach Beth Torina said. “That made a huge difference for us in the game because we came out swinging and swinging big.”

First team All-SEC pick Sahvanna Jaquish finished the game 2-for-2 with her ninth double of the season, two RBI and two runs scored, while Sandra Simmons went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored in her 14th multi-hit outing of the year. Bailey Landry had the shot of the day late in the game, hitting her first career home run as she finished 1-for-3 with an RBI and run scored, while Bianka Bell drilled her 11th double of the year and finished 1-for-3 with an RBI.

Jacee Blades and A.J. Andrews each had the final two hits for the Tigers on Thursday, as Andrews was walked once and Blades scored twice.

“I think I was relaxed at the plate, and I believed in what my teammates were doing,” Jaquish said. “When they swing well, I swing well, so it gives me a lot of confidence. The whole team was just on it today.”

Going up against the SEC’s Freshman of the Year in the circle, experience reigned as Czechner locked down the Missouri offense to the tune of four hits for the opposition, as she earned the complete-game victory needing just 83 pitches to secure her 13th victory of the season. Pitching in her home state, Czechner struck out four and walked one, retiring 10 consecutive batters from the fourth to the seventh in becoming the first Tiger pitcher since Cody Trahan in 2008 and tenth in team history to earn a shutout in the tourney.

“I thought Ashley did a great job of keeping their offense off-balance for much of the game, and pitched just a really nice game,” Torina said.

Missouri’s Toni Finucane took just her sixth loss of the year on Thursday, allowing five runs, two earned, on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts in five innings of work. She was replaced by Casey Stangel who pitched the final two and allowed a run on a hit with a walk and strikeout. The four Missouri’s hits were scattered throughout the lineup and shared between Taylor Gadbois, Emily Crane, Corrin Genovese and Natalie Fleming on the afternoon.

After a foul out to third, Blades got the game’s first hit with a single through the middle to reach first. Down to her final strike, Jaquish lifted one into the gap in right center to score Blades all the way from first to put the Tigers on top 1-0. Bell didn’t wait to make her at-bat count as she followed suit with a screaming double to center to score Jaquish and make it 2-0 LSU.

In the top of the fourth, Simmons singled to left center, moving to second after a sacrifice bunt by Allison Falcon and then to third on a grounder to short by Tammy Wray. With Landry at the plate, the LSU outfielder hit a grounder to third that was misplayed allowing Simmons to score to make it 3-0 with one still on and two outs. Andrews connected on a single of her own through the right side of the infield, but got held up between first and second while Landry was trying to make it home but was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

After some defensive changes for Missouri in the top of the fifth inning, Blades reached on a throwing error and advanced to second to get into scoring position. Jaquish came through again with a single to center as Blades breezed past third and slid in for the score to make it a four-run game, as Jaquish advanced to second after a throwing error. A walk to Bell put two on, as a strikeout proved to be the first out of the frame. Simmons drove one to center to score Jaquish to give the Tigers a 5-0 lead, as Bell was thrown out trying to advance to third after the ball was bobbled in the outfield with Simmons moving to second. The sophomore advanced to third on a wild pitch, but remained there as the inning ended with a strikeout.

After a pitching change for Missouri in the top of the sixth that produced a grounder to short in the first at-bat of the inning, Landry ripped a high-flying shot that carried deep into center and eventually over the fence for the solo shot to put LSU on top 6-0 over Missouri.

“During SEC play, you are going up against some of the best teams in the country and anything can happen, so you always have to be ready,” Czechner said. “I just want to play well for my teammates, and I know they are going to play well behind me.”


No. 7 Kentucky 2, No. 2 Tennessee 0

COLUMBIA, S.C. — With the No. 15 University of Kentucky softball team leading 2-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs and the bases loaded, sophomore pitcher Kelsey Nunley earned arguably the biggest strikeout of her young career, sealing a victory over No. 7 Tennessee to send the Wildcats to the semifinals of the 2014 Southeastern Conference Tournament for the first time in program history.

Kentucky (43-14) will play top-25 ranked and No. 6 seeded LSU (35-21) in the first semifinal game Friday at 3 p.m. ET at the Carolina Softball Stadium in Columbia, S.C. LSU advanced to the semifinals after a 6-0 victory over No. 3 seed Missouri on Thursday morning. Live stats and free radio from the game will be available on, while the game will be televised nationally on ESPNU. Live video through WatchESPN will be available at the link below.

“I love softball so it’s not hard to enjoy this,” UK head coach Rachel Lawson said. “I love our team, I love being here. I think the SEC is a great conference. I love watching excellent athletes on both sides, so enjoying our success is an easy thing to do. But with that said, being in the SEC, you are only as good as your last games. We have a really tough opponent tomorrow and (LSU head coach) Beth (Torina) is one of the best pitching coaches in the league. So while this is fun, we have to stay focused on the end goal, which is winning the next game.”

For the second day in a row, Nunley was brilliant in the circle for Kentucky, tossing seven scoreless innings, allowing only five hits with seven strikeouts and one walk allowed. The shutout for Nunley was her sixth of the season, sitting third most in a single season in program history in that category. It marked only the second time this season that the high-powered Tennessee offense was held scoreless and the 13th time the Lady Vols have been limited to five hits or less.

“I think coach really did a good job at calling pitches and keeping Tennessee off balance,” Nunley said. “I made them guess at what I was throwing and I think it worked.”

Nunley, who earned the win in Wednesday’s first round game vs. Mississippi State with nine strong innings pitched, moves to 23-7 in the circle this season. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., has 50 career wins in her young stint with the Wildcats, ranking third most in a career in UK history. Nunley is the only player in UK history to win 20 or more games in a season, accomplishing the feat in each of her two years with the Wildcats.

Offensively, it was sophomore Christian Stokes leading the way again for Kentucky, with the Chesterfield, S.C., native going 3-for-4 with her 11th double of the season and seventh homer of the year. Stokes has been on fire in the SEC Tournament, sitting 6-for-8 in the event with two doubles, two homers, three RBI and a .778 on-base percentage. Stokes has a hit in five of her last six games, including an RBI in four of those contests.

“It’s always good when you are hitting good,” Stokes said. “I am just trying to stay comfortable in the box, stay confident and clear my head before each at bat. I’m not thinking too much about what the pitcher is going to pitch before I go up there, I just have a clear mind and I know I’m going to get it done when I get in the box.”

Senior outfielder Emily Gaines had a 2-for-4 game with two singles, including a rally starting single in the fourth inning that led to Kentucky’s first run. After Gaines ripped a single to rightfield to start the frame, she was pinch ran for by sophomore Maisie Steed, who moved to second on a passed ball and to third on a perfect sacrifice bunt by senior Lauren Cumbess. After junior Griffin Joiner was hit by a pitch, senior outfielder Emily Jolly continued her streak of strong at-bats with a RBI groundout, putting the Wildcats up 1-0. Stokes took it from there, belting a one-out home run in the fifth inning to give Nunley all the run support she needed.

UK infielders Nikki Sagermann and Krystal Smith also had singles against Tennessee pitcher Ellen Renfroe, who received the loss in the game to move to 26-6 on the season. Renfroe tossed seven innings, allowing two runs – one earned – on seven hits with seven strikeouts and four walks.

The Lady Vols’ offense got a 2-for-3 day from leftfielder Lex Overstreet, while infielders Taylor Koenig and Cheyanne Tarango each had singles. Freshman catcher Annie Aldrete had the lone extra-base hit for UT, hitting a double to centerfield in the fourth inning before Nunley struck out the next three batters she faced to end the threat.

Tennessee’s lone scoring chance came with two outs in the seventh inning after Overstreet and Tarango singled before Rainey Gaffin reached on an error to load the bases for the top of the order in Haley Tobler. Tobler worked the count full against Nunley with SEC Player of the Year Madison Shipman on deck, before the UK sophomore got a strikeout looking to end the inning and seal the UK win.

The win continues UK’s program-best record after breaking the school record for wins Wednesday. UK has 43 wins this season, two better than the previous school record of 41 set last season. The Wildcats have consecutive 40-win seasons for the first time in program history. The victory over the highly ranked Lady Vols is the 13th this season for UK over a team ranked or receiving votes at the time UK played team. Thursday’s win marked the 50th for Lawson over a ranked foe, including the 27th over a top-10 ranked team.

Kentucky earned the No. 7 seed in the tournament with a 13-11 conference record, marking its fourth straight winning season in league action. Prior to seventh-year head coach Rachel Lawson taking over the program, UK had only posted a winning SEC record one time. The appearance in the four-day event is the sixth-consecutive for Kentucky and it’s eighth all-time. UK’s two wins in this year’s tournament triple the number of wins UK had all-time in the event entering this season. This is the first time UK has advanced to the semifinals of the tournament in program history.

Friday’s semifinal matchup between Kentucky and LSU marks the first of the season between the two programs. The Tigers swept the Wildcats last season in Baton Rouge, La., and lead the all-time series in games played 35-6. UK and LSU have met once in SEC Tournament play, with the Tigers claiming a 2-1 victory over the Wildcats in Fayetteville, Ark., in 2010.

The event, which is considered one of the most prestigious softball tournaments in the nation, started with two first-round games Wednesday, followed by Thursday’s quarterfinals. Friday will feature two semifinal contests before the championship game on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. The championship game will be televised on ESPN2, while all other games will be shown on ESPNU.

For the latest on UK softball, follow “@UKSoftball” on Twitter and Instagram or like Kentucky Softball on Facebook.


No. 5 Georgia 2, No. 4 Florida 0

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Chelsea Wilkinson threw a complete-game shutout as the fifth-seeded Georgia softball team handed the fourth-seeded Florida Gators a 2-0 loss in the quarterfinal round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Columbia, South Carolina. With the win, the Bulldogs will advance to the semifinal round of the tournament for the third straight year. Georgia is now 43-12 on the year, while Florida dropped to 45-11

The win was Georgia’s fifth win over a top-10 opponent in the last six games.

Wilkinson was lights out as she was perfect through four innings and gave up just two hits and struck out nine in her 22nd complete game performance of the season. She is now 27-7 on the year. Florida used three pitchers in the game. Lauren Haeger got the start and suffered the loss to fall to 9-2 on the year. She allowed two runs, one of which was earned, on three hits and two walks in 4.1 innings of work. The Gators turned to ace Hannah Rogers, who threw 1.2 innings for the Gators and allowed just one hit. Delanie Gourley allowed just one hit in the final inning of the game.

Geri Ann Glasco delivered the game-winning hit with a two-run single in the fifth. She and Paige Wilson combined for four of Georgia’s five hits, while Katie Browne had Georgia’s fifth hit of the game.

After a pitcher’s dual that lasted the first four innings, Georgia took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning. Browne led off the inning with a single into left field. Pinch hitter Malia Rivers and Sam LaZear then reached on a pair of fielder’s choices before Wilson singled that loaded the bases and forced Florida to go to the bullpen for Rogers. Glasco greeted the new pitcher with a single up the middle that scored both Rivers and LaZear to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.

The Gators looked to get a run across in the bottom of the fifth inning. With two away, Justine McLean reached on a Georgia error and moved to second after Schwarz drew a five-pitch walk. After McLean stole third, Wilkinson struck out Fuller on three pitches to end the inning and any threat of a Florida run.

Georgia will face the winner of the Alabama and Auburn game tomorrow, May 9, at Carolina Softball Stadium. The Bulldogs went 1-2 against Alabama in the regular-season and 2-1 against Auburn.


No. 1 Alabama 8, No. 9 Auburn 4

COLUMBIA, S.C. -– Senior Jaclyn Traina earned her 100th career win in Thursday’s SEC Tournament quarterfinal victory over Auburn, as the 8-4 win advances the Crimson Tide to tomorrow’s semifinal round.

Alabama (45-10) was the only higher-seeded team to win on Thursday, as the Tide bucked the day’s trend with a convincing offensive showcase, including a two-run homer by Jaclyn Traina (20-3), who helped her own cause in the complete-game victory in the circle. The win makes Traina just the third pitcher at Alabama and the ninth in SEC history to earn 100 career wins. She only trails Shelly Laird (115, 1999-02) and Kelsi Dunne (113, 2008-11) in the Alabama career rankings.

Kallie Case had a 2-3 day at the plate, as the sophomore outfielder has earned two-hit performances in three of her last four games and Marisa Runyon hit her fourth home run of the season, a second-inning solo shot. Auburn (38-17-1) took the early lead in the game but was held scoreless after the second inning. Marcy Harper (17-5) took the loss as the Tigers’ starter, throwing the opening 3.0 innings with seven runs allowed, though only four were earned.

Auburn took the first lead of the game, as Jade Rhodes knocked a single into left field to score Morgan Estell from third, advancing to second on the throw to put a pair in scoring position with two away in the first. A groundout to second limited the damage, as the Tide escaped the half-inning facing a 1-0 deficit.

With two out in the bottom of the first, the Auburn shortstop booted a grounder by Molly Fichtner, which allowed Kaila Hunt to score from second and tie the game at 1-1. Jadyn Spencer was caught in a rundown in between second and third on the play however, as she was tagged out sliding in to third for the final out of the inning.

With two outs and runner at second in the top of the second, Emily Carosone gave Auburn back the lead with a two-run homer to straightaway center and Kasey Cooper padded the lead with a solo home run in the next at-bat. A lineout to third ended the half-inning but Alabama was now trailing, 4-1.

Runyon drew Alabama within two to lead off the bottom-half of the second, launching a huge home run over the right-field fence to make it a 4-2 ballgame. Later in the inning with two out and runners at the corners, Case poked a single through the left side to score another, drawing the Tide within one, down 4-3. A passed ball allowed both runners to move into scoring position and a grounder rolled right between the legs of the Tiger third baseman, allowing two unearned runs to score as Alabama moved up 5-4.

Traina padded the Tide’s lead in the bottom of the third, launching a line-drive home run to center field to score two and give Alabama a 7-4 lead. In the bottom of the fourth with one away, a hard bases-loaded grounder to third went for one out but allowed a run to cross the plate, putting Alabama up 8-4.

Alabama failed to tack on any insurance in the closing innings, heading to the seventh inning still leading 8-4. A quick fly out and popup brought the Tigers down to their final out. Branndi Melero made a bid at a late rally with a two-out single and Morgan Estell followed with a walk. The Tigers could not bring the potential tying run to the plate however, as Traina struck out Rhodes to end the game and advance Alabama to the SEC Tournament semifinals.

Alabama will continue play at the SEC Tournament on Friday, May 9 against Georgia (43-12), scheduled for a 4:30 p.m. CT start. The game will be aired live on ESPNU.

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