Sunday NCAA Softball Update
May 20, 2012Eastern Indiana Sports
Georgia Softball Claims Regional Title
ATHENS, Ga. - With a 2-1 win over North Carolina on Sunday at Jack Turner Stadium, the No. 10 overall seed University of Georgia softball team earned its sixth Regional championship to move on to the Super Regional round of the NCAA Division I Softball Championship.
In its 11th-straight NCAA appearance, Georgia’s 2012 record improves to 44-15 while UNC finishes the season at 43-15.
Senior Erin Arevalo (26-7) earned her third win of the weekend, as she allowed just three hits and struck out six. UNC’s Lori Spingola (32-12) ended the game with five hits, five walks and five strikeouts, as she pitched every inning of the Tar Heels’ run at the Athens Regional.
Junior Christine Olney led the Bulldogs with her 2-for-3 effort at the plate, as freshmen Paige Wilson and Gracie Goulder along with senior Brittney Hubbard put up a hit each.
Georgia broke the scoreless game in the bottom of the fourth to pull ahead 2-0. Freshman Paige Wilson started the inning with a single to center before senior Kristyn Sandberg got to first on an intentional walk. After a senior Ashley Razey walk, junior Christine Olney hit one up the middle for the game’s first run. Freshman Niaja Griffin posted the last run off of a bases-loaded walk.
Tar Heel Haleigh Dickey helped her team avoid a shutout, as she set a solo home run over the left center wall with two outs, but UNC could not overcome the early deficit.
On to Super Regionals as No. 5 Tennessee Battles Back to Eliminate Virginia Tech, 10-2
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – For the first time in program history, the #5 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (50-11) battled out of the loser’s bracket to win a regional title as the Lady Vols won four games over two days to secure the championship of the Knoxville Regional with a commanding 10-2 victory over Virginia Tech (42-21) in front of a sold-out crowd of 1,718 at the Lee Softball Stadium.
The Big Orange now advances on to battle 10th-seeded Georgia in the best-of-three NCAA Super Regionals next weekend at times and dates still to be determined. Check into UTLadyVols.com for more information as it becomes available.
The Lady Vol offense banged out a season-high 16 hits in the victory, led by three hits each from senior designated player Shelby Burchell (3-for-4, two doubles, two RBIs), sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman (3-for-4, two runs, RBI) and junior right fielder Kat Dotson (3-for-5, RBI). Junior third baseman Raven Chavanne was 2-for-4 with a double and a pair of RBIs, while junior second baseman Lauren Gibson was 2-for-4 with a run scored and a pair of runs knocked in. Sophomore left fielder Melissa Davin (1-for-3, RBI) and freshman pinch hitter Cheyanne Tarango (0-for-1, RBI) were each credited with an RBI in the triumph.
In the circle junior Ivy Renfroe picked up all four elimination victories over the last two days of the regional, improving to 23-8 on the year. The Jackson, Tenn., native allowed just two hits, walked one and struck out three over five innings of effort against the Hokies. Sophomore starter Ellen Renfroe allowed one earned tally on two hits with a pair of walks and two K’s over 2.0 frames.
“I said Friday night that we weren’t done,” Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said. “I really believed in this team, and when we talked to the team Friday night, we didn’t dump on them like a lot of coaches might when we played like we played Friday night. We just told them what we told you guys earlier, that we won 20 straight games and we can win four. It’s all about players, and I know that is what coaches always say, but it’s the truth. It’s all about players.
“These kids refused to lose. They wanted to advance, they wanted to play in the Super Regional and they did everything they needed to do to do it. We got through some injuries. As you probably saw, one of the reasons (Ellen Renfroe) didn’t pitch very much in this tournament was because of what I’ve told you for the last couple of weeks. We’ve been working through something, and I am positive that she will 100 percent next week when we go against Georgia, but Ivy had to carry a tremendous burden the whole time and did it fantastic.”
Tennessee’s offense got off to a rousing start in the top of the first, plating a pair of runs on three hits off Virginia Tech starter Jasmin Harrell. Dotson got the assault started with an infield hit, moving to second after a walk was issued to Shipman. Facing an early RBI situation, Burchell delivered in the clutch, blasting a double to the wall as Dotson scored for a 1-0 lead. A perfect bunt single off the bat of Gibson proved plenty to both reach safely and score Shipman as the advantage quickly expanded to a pair of tallies.
The Hokies answered right back in the bottom half of the first, however, with the benefit of some Lady Vol defensive assistance. An error on a grounder by center fielder Lauren Gaskill granted Va. Tech a lead-off base runner. After a steal, second baseman Kylie McGoldrick singled on the infield and suddenly the Hokies had runners at the corners and no one out. Ellen Renfroe responded to the threat with a big strikeout of first baseman Courtney Liddle. Third baseman Kelsey Mericka blasted a drive to deep left center that was tracked down on the run near the track by sophomore Tory Lewis as Gaskill scored via the sac fly to cut the VT deficit to just 2-1. The Hokies wouldn’t get anymore, however, as Davin handled a fly ball off the bat of catcher Betty Rose to conclude the threat.
The Tennessee offense blew the game wide open in the top of the third, plating five runs on five hits with the benefit of a pair of Hokie miscues. Shipman got it all started with an infield single and soon found herself crossing home plate as Burchell doubled her in all the way from first for a 3-0 lead. Consecutive RBI base knocks from Gibson and Davin plated two more tallies, while a RBI groundout by Tarango lifted UT’s advantage to a commanding 6-0. Chavanne blasted a double into the gap for a RBI, but was caught in no man’s land between second and third, getting tagged out to finally end the onslaught with the Big Orange up by seven runs.
Trying to claw back into the contest, Virginia Tech’s Gaskill christened the bottom of the third with a single through the right side of the infield. A walk issued to McGoldrick ended the stint in the circle for Ellen Renfroe as sister Ivy came on for a relief appearance for the fourth consecutive contest during the Knoxville Regional. The new 6-0 right hander allowed a single back through the middle from Liddle, loading the bags full of Hokies with still none out. Following a foul pop-up that senior catcher Ashley Andrews raced over to grab to the right of the plate for the first retirement, Rose hit a slow roller up the third base line that Chavanne charged. Her only play was to first as a run crossed, cutting the UT lead to 7-2. An almost identical slow grounder off the bat of Banks to third was handled by Chavanne, retiring the side as Virginia Tech left a pair on the base paths.
Bidding for more on the scoreboard, Lewis christened the top of the sixth with a sharp single into the outfield. A wild pitch and a groundout back to the circle by Chavanne advanced the UT speedster to within 60 feet of pay dirt. With two retired Shipman chopped a high bouncer deep into the hole at short, bringing Lewis across the dish for an 8-2 advantage.
With Tennessee looking for the knockout blow, Holly Baker continued her recent hot hitting by opening the top of the seventh with a base knock through the infield. With one down in the frame, there proved to be a special moment for the Lady Vols as senior Cat Hosfield returned from arthroscopic knee surgery to a standing ovation from the Lee Stadium crowd, eventually drawing a walk off Harrell. Consecutive two-out infield singles from Chavanne and Dotson brought home the Big Orange’s final two tallies setting the damage at 10 runs on a season-best 16 hits.
Down to one last chance to keep the contest going in the bottom of the seventh, Tech did receive a two-out single from Gaskill. Ivy Renfroe refused to be denied the victory, however, getting McGoldrick to pop up to Chavanne at third to conclude UT’s Knoxville Regional triumph.
Lady Vols Force Deciding Regional Game
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - In front of a sold out Lee Stadium crowd of 1,718 on Sunday afternoon, the #5 Tennessee Lady Vol softball squad (49-11) forced the "if necessary"' game at the Knoxville Regional by topping Virginia Tech (42-20), 2-1.
Sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman blasted her 10th HR of the year as part of a 1-for-2, walk, RBI effort, while junior right fielder Kat Dotson went 1-for-3 with a RBI. Senior designated player Shelby Burchell registered her 10th double of the campaign while going 1-for-3 at the dish. Junior third baseman Raven Chavanne recorded two of Tennessee's seven total base knocks and made several outstanding defensive plays.
Junior pitcher Ivy Renfroe improved to 22-8 overall and picked up her third win in the last two days, allowing just a single run on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts in a complete-game effort.
UT's nation-leading defense exerted its influence on the proceedings right from the start in the top of the first. Tennessee's third baseman Chavanne dove into foul ground to catch a liner from center fielder Lauren Gaskill for an impressive first out. After sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman handled a sharp bouncer off the bat of second baseman Kylie McGoldrick, Chavanne leapt to her left for a diving stab of first baseman Courtney Liddle's line drive to end the inning.
The long ball got the Big Orange on the scoreboard with two down in the bottom of the first as Shipman hammered a drive that bounced off the very top of the wall for a 1-0 Lady Vol advantage.
With Renfroe cruising in the circle, Burchell attempted to get another scoring threat started in the bottom of the second, blasting her 10th double off the Lee Stadium wall. Unfortunately for Tennessee, Virginia Tech hurler Harrell retired the next three Lady Vols she faced as the lead-off two-bagger went for naught.
The Hokies finally managed their initial base runner of the contest in the top of the fourth as a walk issued to McGoldrick broke a streak of 10 straight retired by Renfroe. Liddle was struck on a 3-2 pitch and suddenly VT had a pair of runners aboard with still only one down. Third baseman Kelsey Mericka came to the plate and hit a sharp grounder right to Chavanne. The Thousand Oaks, Calif., native corralled the ball, turned quickly to step on third and fired across the diamond for a huge, inning-ending double play to end the threat.
Having gotten out of the previous half-inning's jam, Shipman got UT off to a good start in the bottom of the fourth by drawing a lead-off walk against Harrell. Once again the lead-off base runner was wasted as a fielder's choice, a long fly ball off the bat of Burchell and a bouncer back to the circle left the occupant stranded at first.
For the first time all day, Virginia Tech got its lead-off on base during the top of the fifth as catcher Betty Rose registered Tech's initial hit of the contest on a base knock to center. With one out in the frame, a Lady Vol throw on a grounder from VT's Dani Anderson, proved wide of second for an error as the Hokies suddenly boasted occupants at the corners and just one down. Renfroe got out of the jam, however, inducing a routine pop-up by designated player Logan Spaw and handling a sharp grounder back to the circle by pinch hitter Katey Smith as Tech left a pair stranded.
Looking some vital insurance, the Lady Vol speed game got a scoring rally started with two down in the bottom of the fifth. Lewis christened the outburst with an infield single and moved to second on a base knock through the infield. With runners at first and second, Dotson ripped a base hit to the outfield, proving enough to score Lewis from second. The Chattanooga, Tenn., native crossed the plate perhaps a second before Chavanne was caught trying to advance to third to end the inning as Tennessee moved in front 2-0.
That proved a huge run in the contest as Tech refused to go quietly in the top of the seventh. Right fielder Kat Banks managed a one-out single back through the middle of the UT infield. Following a groundout by Anderson that advanced the runner into scoring position, Spaw drove a shot into center fielder as Banks scored, cutting the Big Orange advantage to 2-1. Kristen Froechlich stepped to the dish in a huge pinch hitting spot, but struck out swinging for Renfroe's third K of the contest as UT forced the "if necessary" game for a berth in NCAA Super Regionals.
USF Bulls Use 1-0 Victory Over Florida Softball to Advance to NCAA Softball Super Regionals
Gainesville, Fla. - USF used a Kenshyra Jackson infield single to plate the lone run of Sunday’s regional final between the USF and UF Sunshine State softball squads, as the Bulls advanced to the 16-team NCAA Super Regionals round with the 1-0 victory. The Gators loaded the bags in the bottom of the sixth, but couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity, wrapping up the 2012 season at 48-13 overall.
USF pitcher Sara Nevins tossed a complete-game, five-hit shutout, fanning 12 Florida batters to lead the Bulls to their second-ever Super Regionals appearance, as USF will host Hofstra, winner of the Los Angeles regional, this upcoming weekend.
Gator senior All-American and 2012 SEC Player of the Year Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) concluded her tenure donning the Orange and Blue as Florida’s career leader in batting average (.385) and stolen bases/attempts (83-99). Moultrie, a top-10 finalist for the 2012 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award and USA Softball’s Player of the Year, dropped a staggering 73 bunt singles in her four-year career as a Gator, highlighted by 27 her senior season in 2012. Moultrie will continue her career internationally as a member of USA Softball’s 2012 Women’s National Team, with the option to play professionally after being drafted by the USSSA Florida Pride of the National Pro Fastpitch league.
While the Gators fell short of advancing out of a regional for the first time since 2006, Florida battled through adversity after falling into the loser’s bracket Friday, coming out with two dominating wins Saturday, including a season-best 14 hits against FGCU coupled with four home runs.
The Orange and Blue finished the 2012 SEC season 21-7 for the program’s fifth-straight 20-win league campaign in school history, as seven Gators were All-SEC picks. UF reached the SEC Tournament Championship Game for the fifth time in school history, as Florida head coach Tim Walton became the fastest active coach in the SEC to reach 500 career victories.
Junior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) was named to the SEC Community Service team, while Horton and Moultrie were tabbed Capital One Academic All-District 4 honorees to advance to the national ballot for Academic All-American status. Sophomore ace Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.), Moultrie, freshman Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) and Horton are NFCA All-Southeast Region picks now in contention for All-America honors.
On the softball diamond, Florida claimed victories over top-10 national seeds Alabama, Texas and Texas A&M, as well as series wins at Georgia and Tennessee to highlight the 2012 regular-season slate.
Florida sophomore hurler Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.), like Nevins, also went the distance Sunday, allowing just four USF hits, while Jackson beat out an infield single to allow the Bulls’ lone run to cross home in the top of the fourth. Rogers finished her second season on campus 28-8 overall, retiring four Bulls by strikeout Sunday.
Moultrie led Florida at the plate with a 2-for-4 performance, while Horton, Haeger and freshman Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) were all 1-for-3 on the day. USF leadoff hitter Gina Kafalas (2-for-3) led the Bulls with half of the squad’s hits in the regional final.
The Gators will close the book to the 2012 season, but will look forward to welcoming a class of five signees in the fall of 2012 in Taylore Fuller, Kirsti Merritt, Aubree Munro, Taylor Schwarz and Kelsey Stewart.
Alabama Claims Tuscaloosa Regional Title
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The second national seeded Alabama softball team claimed its eighth straight NCAA first round regional title with a 6-0 victory over South Alabama, Sunday afternoon at Rhoads Stadium. The Crimson Tide will now host the Michigan Wolverines next week in the Tuscaloosa Super Regional.
"I want to first of all say congrats to South Alabama," Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. "I think that it is very cool that Alabama, Auburn, South, Troy, Jacksonville State, and UAB, have all participated now in the NCAA Tournament. It is incredible for the state."
Alabama won its sixth straight game and improves to 53-7 on the year. South Alabama finishes its season with a 41-17 record. The first round regional title is the 10th for the Tide and the win marks the 19th in a row in regional play.
Sophomore Jackie Traina threw her second consecutive two-hitter to improve to 35-2 on the year. The sophomore struck out 10 batters on the afternoon, which included her 300th strikeout of the season. Traina is just the fourth Alabama pitcher to accomplish that feat. Hannah Campbell took the loss for the Jaguars, dropping to 24-12.
"She was pretty sharp," senior Kendall Dawson of Traina. "She wasn't on her `A game', but I think that her lower-level games could still beat a lot of people. I wouldn't say she had her best game. She was missing a little on the outside, but she'll find a way. She's just that kind of strong pitcher that no matter what the strike zone is like, she's still going to find a way to throw to them and get the outs. That's what's amazing about her. She's so mentally solid."
The Crimson Tide pounded out nine hits on the afternoon, including three by senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia. Alabama stole five bases on the day and was a perfect 11-for-11 in stolen bases on the weekend. Senior Jennifer Fenton had seven hits during the three regional games.
Alabama got the scoring started early in the bottom of the first inning. Fenton reached on a single, her sixth hit of the regional, and stole second. Sophomore Kaila Hunt drove her in with a RBI double, her 70th RBI of the year, to give Alabama the early 1-0 lead. Hunt became just the second player in school history to hit 70 or more RBI in a season.
The Tide added to its lead in the bottom of the second inning. Reilly-Boccia led off with a single. Pinch runner Keima Davis stole second, and came around to score on freshman Danae Hays' RBI single, extending the lead to 2-0.
UA kept it up in the third inning, as Traina got hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and pinch-runner Danielle Richard was able to come around to score on an RBI single by Reilly-Boccia to make it 3-0, in favor of Alabama.
Alabama was able to add some insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Freshman pinch-hitter Jadyn Spencer was able to reach on an error and moved to third on a double by junior Kayla Braud. Both came around to score on a double by Fenton, increasing the lead to 5-0. Traina helped out her own cause when she followed up with a run scoring single, bringing Fenton around to bring the score to the final 6-0 margin.
The NCAA will announce the dates for the Tuscaloosa Super Regional once the field of 16 is set. It will be the fifth straight super regional hosted by the Crimson Tide.
NCAA Super Regional Bound: Softball Dumps No. 8 Texas A&M
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Brittany Mack put together a masterful pitching performance and the LSU softball team manufactured two runs in the fourth inning en route to a 2-1 victory over No. 8 national seed Texas A&M Sunday to claim the 2012 NCAA College Station Regional championship.
In the process, LSU (37-22) punched its first ticket to the NCAA Super Regional round since the 2007 season. The Tigers will travel to future SEC rival and No. 9 national seed Missouri. Games dates and times will be announced by the NCAA after the completion of Sunday’s NCAA Regional contests.
Mack limited the potent A&M offense (41-18) to one run on three hits. In its other two NCAA College Station Regional contests, the Aggies knocked 10 home runs along with an average of nine runs and 10 hits per game.
“We couldn’t be more excited about the game today and going to the super regionals,” head coach Beth Torina said. “Our team played LSU softball by pitching well, playing solid defense and capitalizing on our timely runs sparked by Kailey McCasland’s sacrifice fly. Texas A&M is a great team. We watched them have huge offensive numbers in the other two games. A lot of credit goes to them, and we appreciate them hosting us this weekend. It’s a really excited day for our program.”
Mack registered seven strikeouts versus three walks and improved to 15-11 for the season. The senior right-hander navigated her way through six scoreless innings before A&M rallied for a run during the seventh inning.
Amber Garza drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second base on pinch hitter Lindsey Sisk’s ground out to third baseman Tammy Wray. She scooted over to third base on a wild pitch. Down to its final strike, Natalie Villarreal laced a RBI single through the middle to draw Texas A&M back to within 2-1.
Mack regrouped and got Kelsea Orsak to ground out five pitches later to secure the final out. The chopped two-hopper was fielded by second baseman Allison Falcon, who flipped the ball over to Heidi Pizer to send the Tigers into a regional championship dog pile right in-front of the pitcher’s circle.
“I knew it was a huge deal for Brittany to avenge her loss from last season to Texas A&M,” Torina said. “I was 100 percent confident and I didn’t have a doubt about the type of performance I was going to get from her.”
“I kept focusing on this pitch, this batter,” Mack said. “I might have thrown more change-ups last year than I did this year. We definitely had a plan to throw more hard stuff to keep them off balance. We got them with a lot of drops and screws today.”
Offensively, LSU pounded out six hits sparked by Ashley Applegate’s 2-for-3 effort with a run scored. The Tigers scored both of their runs during a drama-filled fourth inning.
With one out, Falcon reached on a fielding error by Garza at third base. In between an ejection of assistant coach Howard Dobson, Applegate ripped a single up the middle followed by a Tammy Wray walk to load the bases.
Torina turned to her bench and pinch hitter Kailey McCasland provided the game’s first run with sacrifice fly into the left centerfield gap to allow Falcon to sprint home.
“I have confidence in Kailey McCasland,” Falcon said. “I knew she would step up and do her job. All I was looking for was anything deep enough that I could tag on. I know I am not the fastest, but I can score on anything that is deep enough. Kailey came through huge for us.”
Dylan Supak legged out an infield single on deep ground ball in the 5-6 hole. A throwing error by A&M shortstop Brittany Walker enabled Applegate to cross the plate and push the LSU advantage to 2-0.
“Our kids scratched and clawed for these three regional wins,” Torina said. “That’s what we’ve done all season long. We know teams are going to have a hard time scoring runs against us with our pitching staff. We’re going to find a way to score runs however we can.”
Texas A&M’s All-America pitcher Mel Dumezich was dealt the setback and completed her junior campaign with a 28-13 record. She was touched up for a pair of unearned runs on six hits and notched five Ks against a pair of free passes.