2017 College Softball Season: Week Two Review
We are through the second week of the 2017 college softball season after a very good opening weekend that produced some surprising results. Below, we will take a day-by-day look at how the second week unfolded.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Wednesday was pretty formful with the most top teams winning their contests. Top ranked Florida won easily over Jacksonville 6-0 on the road, #3 Florida State defeated Florida A&M 5-0, and #5 Alabama won 3-1 versus South Alabama.
The big matchup of the day was between #22 Kentucky and #6 UCLA with a weather causing the two teams to reschedule Saturday’s matchup into a doubleheader. The Wildcats started fast in the top of the first with two runs, but were matched by the Bruins in the bottom half. The Bruins put up three more runs in the bottom of the second and added a sixth run in the fourth inning.
The Bruins went on to win the first game 6-2. Rachel Garcia went 6 2/3 innings after the first two runs were given up by Selina Ta’amilo. Garcia allowed just two hits and struck out 10 Wildcats.
The Wildcats were able to split the doubleheader after winning the second game 2-1 in 11 innings. Kentucky’s Abbey Cheek had an RBI single in the top of third, but UCLA responded in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game. Jenny Schaper’s two out home run in the top of the 11th proved to be the difference as Meagan Prince pitched all 11 innings to get the win.
Nicholls got two outstanding pitching performances against Jackson State. First it was Megan Landry throwing a five inning no-hitter in a 13-0 win. Then it was Jackie Johnson allowing one hit and striking out eight batters in another run-rule shortened game.
#7 LSU’s Carley Hoover threw a no-hitter against Louisiana Tech in which she allowed four walks, but struck out 11 batters. It was her second career no-hitter. The Tigers won the game 5-0.
— LSU Softball (@LSUsoftball) February 16, 2017
Thursday, February 16, 2017
After an offensive power surge on Sunday, #21 Fresno State had a rough start to the second week. They led 1-0 against Mississippi State in the top of the second, but the bats could not get going as they fell 4-1. Alexis Silkwood pitched a complete game for Mississippi State allowing one run, one walk, and six hits while striking out four.
The day got even worse as Fresno State lost to Florida Gulf Coast in their second game. The Eagles took a 4-0 lead after two innings and held Fresno State to no runs and four hits through six innings. The Bulldogs made a furious rally to close the deficit to 4-3, but the Eagles were able to survive.
One team that had a very good day was the Wisconsin Badgers. They started with a 3-1 extra innings victory over #20 South Florida. The game was scoreless through seven before the Badgers broke through with three runs. Sara Novak’s two run single proved to be the difference as Kaitlyn Menz worked around an error to throw a complete game. The Badgers capped the day with a 9-1 victory over Binghamton in six innings. Stephanie Lombardo hit a three run shot to put the game out of reach.
#2 Auburn had to survive a scare against SIU-Edwardsville. The Tigers plated to runs early in the game thanks to a two run blast by Carlee Wallace. Auburn held a 3-1 lead until the sixth when back-to-back singles by Edwardsville made it a tie game. The Tigers won 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth on Carmyn Greenwood’s hit to wall that brought home Bree Fornis.
This is Carmyn Greenwood’s 1st career hit…
and it’s WALK-OFF! @AuburnSoftball wins!
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) February 17, 2017
Friday, February 17, 2017
Weather was a factor out west in California as well as in Louisiana. The deluges of rain forced many games to be postponed to later in the weekend.
No-hitters were thrown by #21 Fresno State’s Kamalani Dung in a 9-0 win versus Florida Gulf Coast and #25 BYU’s Kerisa Viramontes in an 8-0 win over Nevada. Meanwhile, #11 Michigan’s Kelly Christner had a massive day at the plate hitting three home runs and tallying seven runs batted in. Christner became the fourth Wolverine to tally three home runs in a game.
— Michigan Softball (@umichsoftball) February 18, 2017
The ACC/Big 10 Challenge got underway and the ACC held a slight 5-3 advantage on the day. Virginia Tech, Louisville, #24 Pittsburgh, North Carolina, and #3 Florida State notched wins for the conference while #13 Minnesota, #11 Michigan, and Penn State won for the Big 10.
#4 Oklahoma started with an easy 14-0 win over Incarnate Word aided by an 11 run first inning. Nicole Pendley went 3 for 4 with five runs batted in and a home run. The bats kept going for the Sooners in their second game and they needed every bit of it. They defeated Ole Miss 11-8 in a wild affair. Shay Knighten went 4 for 4 with four runs batted in while Pendley added another home run.
Liberty suffered their first losses of the season after a 5-0 start. The Flames dropped a 10-8 game to Loyola Marymount, but the Flames made them work for it. Liberty trailed 10-3 in the sixth inning and put 5 runs across to close the deficit, but it was not enough. The Flames were blanked in the second game 3-0 to UC Davis with Katelyn Kibby throwing the complete game shutout.
Cal Poly took on Central Florida and #6 UCLA, but lost both games. The first game against UCF was scoreless through seven innings, however, both teams scored in the eighth to force a ninth inning. There, the Golden Knights walked off on Jazmine Esparza’s infield single. The Mustangs led UCLA 1-0 early, but the Bruins were able to tie the game in second and then take the 3-1 lead in the third.
Speaking of the Pac-12, they had a fantastic day going 13-0. That included a pair of one run victories by #9 Oregon. The first came against #22 Kentucky where the Ducks trailed 4-1 after five innings. A single by Shannon Rhodes and a subsequent error tied the game at four. Nikki Udria won the game in the top of the seventh with a solo shot.
The second game against Kent State saw the Ducks takes 2-0 lead early, but a three run third inning gave Kent State a 3-2 lead. The Ducks rallied in the top of the fourth with two runs and Maggie Balint, who won the game versus Kentucky, got the save in the 4-3 win.
#20 South Florida lost their second game in as many days against #14 James Madison. The Dukes won 5-0 behind Odicci Alexander’s complete game shutout. Alexander allowed only five hits and one walk while striking out six USF batters.
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Weather continued to hamper some tournaments including those in Las Vegas, Arizona, and California.
Southern Illinois head coach Kerri Blaylock recorded her 600th career win in a 7-0 Saluki victory over Massachusetts. All seven runs were scored in the fourth inning including Maddy Vermejan’s three run triple.
The shocker of the day was the #1 ranked Florida Gators suffering their first loss of the season in a 4-2 game against Maryland. Florida put two runs on the board in the first inning, but a three run fourth allowed Maryland to take a 3-2 lead and survive a seventh inning threat. The victory was the first of the season for Maryland, a team that had started 0-8 and was run ruled four times early in the season.
— Maryland Softball (@TerpsSoftball) February 18, 2017
As for the ACC/Big 10 Challenge, the ACC continued to build their lead. The ACC teams went 10-6 on Saturday to give the conference a 15-9 lead with eight games left to be played on Sunday.
Notre Dame handed #11 Michigan a loss early in the day, 6-4. The Irish led 4-0 after two innings and then withstood a three run rally by Michigan over the third and fourth innings. A two run fifth for Notre Dame proved to be the difference. Notre Dame would lose their second game to #13 Minnesota 3-2 in eight innings. Dani Wagner hit the walk-off single for the Gophers. Michigan came back with their second straight double digit run victory in as many days over NC State. The Wolverines won 12-0 on Friday and 11-0 on Saturday.
#24 Pittsburgh continued their undefeated start with victories over Nebraska and Northwestern. The first game was a 6-2 win versus Nebraska where the Panthers recorded a season high 13 hits. In the Northwestern contest, the Wildcats got just one hit, a single in the first that also produced their lone run. They nearly held on for the 1-0 win, but Kaitlin Manuel double in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game. It was Giorgiana Zeremenko who ended the game with a single in the eighth and gave the Panthers a 2-1 win. Kayla Harris went all eight innings allowing one hit and three walks and to move to 4-0 on the season.
#21 Fresno State played one of the more wacky games on Saturday. The Bulldogs were well in control versus Cal State Fullerton after giving up an early run. The Bulldogs put up 9 runs combined in the 2nd and 3rd innings on their way to what looked like a comfortable win. The Titans rallied in fifth with nine runs of their own to reclaim a 10-9 lead. Fullerton had seven straight hits that produced at least one run.
As if that was not enough, Fresno State came back in the sixth to take an 11-10 lead, but the Titans tied the game at 11 in the top of the seventh with two outs. Vanessa Hernandez ended the madness with a walk-off double in the eighth inning to give the Bulldogs the 12-11 victory.
One under the radar game that took place was between undefeated Wisconsin and one-loss #14 James Madison. It was the Dukes who controlled the game and went on to win 4-0. RBI singles from Megan Good, Madison Naujokas, and Niki Prince in the first inning provided more than enough support. Good went on to a complete game one hitter and she was throwing fire in the circle as well with 13 strikeouts.
— JMU Softball (@JMU_Softball) February 18, 2017
Sunday, February 19, 2017
The Atlantic 10 had a rough day. They went 1-6 in their seven games including blow out losses by #12 Georgia (over Dayton 12-0) and Ole Miss (over Bryant 18-5). The lone win came from Fordham’s 16-0 demolition of Bryant. Fordham sits at 7-3 after the first two weeks of the season.
The ACC/Big 10 Challenge concluded and the Big 10 made up ground early in the day. They opened 4-1 with wins by #11 Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, and #13 Minnesota. That closed the deficit to 16-13, but the ACC finished off the challenge with three wins by #3 Florida State, North Carolina and Georgia Tech to make it 19-13 in the end.
The SEC was in a cruising mood on Sunday. Seven of their 12 games ended in the fifth inning because of the run rule. Ole Miss (twice), Arkansas, #12 Georgia, #15 Tennessee (twice), and #2 Auburn all recorded run rule victories.
Perhaps the biggest series of the weekend was between #5 Alabama and #18 Louisiana-Lafayette. Friday’s game was moved to Saturday to force a doubleheader and it was the Tide who came away with the 3-0 win. Alexis Osorio and Sydney Littlejohn combined to allow just three hits.
In game two, UL-Lafayette quickly took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first on RBI singles from DJ Sanders and Lexie Comeaux. After adding a run in the third, the Cajuns blew the game wide open with a solo shot by Comeaux and a two run double by Haley Hayden. Despite two runs from Alabama in the fifth, the Cajuns ended the game early with Beth Ashley’s three run home run for an 11-2 win in six innings. Alex Stewart threw six innings allowing two runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out six.
The final game took place on Sunday and the Ragin’ Cajuns once again dominated the contest. Sanders hit a two run blast in the bottom of the first and added a solo shot in the fifth inning. Alyssa Denham shut down the Alabama bats giving up only two hits and three walks in the complete game shutout.
Sunday’s win gave your Ragin’ Cajuns the series win over #4 Alabama:
G1: UA 3, LA 0
G2: LA 11, UA 2 (6 inn.)
G3: LA 7, UA 0 #GeauxCajuns
— Ragin’ Cajuns SB (@RaginCajunsSB) February 19, 2017
The Pac-12 had another stellar day going 8-1 overall. The lone loss was the aforementioned Oregon State loss to Tennessee (14-0).
Some mid-major teams have shown great promise early in the season. Belmont is undefeated at 8-0 among a contested Ohio Valley Conference and Grand Canyon is 10-1 with their lone blemish a 1-0 loss to Baylor. Nicholls is 9-2, Stetson is 9-1, and South Carolina Upstate is 9-2. UNLV sits at 7-2, South Alabama 9-1, Troy is 8-2, and Florida Atlantic is 8-2.