We are now into March and one thing remains true: the only constant is change. As is the custom for this 2017 season, there were good games, good performances, and upsets. We take a day-by-day look at what happened in week four.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Just a day after moving up 13 spots in both polls, the #5 Texas A&M Aggies were knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten. The Aggies faced Houston and lost a 1-0. Houston pitcher Savannah Heebner helped her own cause and in doing so, drove home the game’s only run. Kaylin Crumpton scored on the single and Heebner went the distance. She allowed three walks and four hits while striking out five. Texas A&M loaded the bases on the bottom of the sixth with only one out but failed to push the tying run across.
Texas A&M, who fell to 15-1 overall, was not the only SEC team to struggle on Wednesday as #25 Ole Miss was taken to extra innings by Louisiana Tech. Both teams got off to a fast start with one run apiece. The Rebels took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second on a sacrifice fly from Dylinn Stancil. It became 3-1 in the fourth inning after Stancil hit a solo shot to center field.
Louisiana Tech rallied in the top of the sixth by loading the bases with no outs. The Lady Techsters were able to get two runs across on two wild pitches. In the bottom of the eighth, it was Brittany Finney who hit a solo shot very close to where Stancil hit hers earlier to center field for the 4-3 win.
You want highlights? We got ’em.
— Ole Miss Softball (@OleMissSoftball) March 2, 2017
Another game on Wednesday was #9 Oklahoma dispatching Wichita State 7-3 thanks to a complete game from Paige Parker. She allowed the three runs on three hits and one walk, but she struck out 11 batters.
Meanwhile, Arkansas had to rally from a 3 run deficit to defeat Oklahoma State 7-6. After falling behind 3-0, the Razorbacks tied the game on back-to-back home runs by Nicole Schroeder and Tori Cooper. Oklahoma State took back the lead 4-3 in the fourth, but it was Schroeder who ended up with the decisive blow. In the top of the sixth, she hit a grand slam to put Arkansas up 7-4. The Cowgirls made it close with two runs in sixth as well as having a runner in scoring position in the seventh, but they could not find the tying run. Arkansas moved to 12-1 on the season with the win.
Finally, we have the Texas State 2-1 victory over Texas. It looked like it was going to be a hitter’s day with all three runs coming in the first inning. Ariel Ortiz hit what proved to be the winning home run in the first to make it 2-0. The Longhorns got one run back when Texas State’s Randi Rupp was called for an illegal pitch that sent home Stephanie Wong. From there, it was all about the pitchers and defense for both teams. Rupp went the distance giving up three walks and five hits while striking out six to improve to 7-1 in 2017. Tiarra Davis took the loss for Texas and dropped to 2-3. She allowed four hits and seven walks with five strikeouts.
Thursday, March 2, 2017
The #3 ranked Florida Gators had a doubleheader and they allowed just one hit all day. It started with a perfect game against Iowa in an 8-0 win. Delanie Gourley threw five innings and struck out 12 of the 15 batters faced while Jamie Hoover drove in three runs. The second game was a complete destruction of Long Beach State. The Gators got a complete game from Kelly Barnhill where she allowed one hit and no walks and struck out 9 batters. Five different Gator hitters drove home multiple runs in a 17-0 rout.
#14 Michigan defeated #20 Arizona State for the second time in four days in their 2-0 victory. The Wolverines pushed across a run in the first inning on a wild pitch with Faith Canfield scoring. Katie Alexander brought a second run home in the sixth inning, but it was Megan Betsa who stole the show. She tied a career-high in strikeouts with 16 while allowing only one walk and two hits.
— Michigan Softball (@umichsoftball) March 3, 2017
The Wolverines faced off against #7 UCLA in their second game and were unable to complete the sweep of their games. The Bruins broke the deadlock with back-to-back RBI doubles in the third inning from Zoe Shaw and Delaney Spalding. The Bruins added two more in the sixth as Rachel Garcia threw 5 1/3 innings in relief where she allowed five hits with no walks and six strikeouts in the 4-0 win.
#15 Tennessee swept their doubleheader against Southeastern Louisiana and Ohio. The Vols won 8-0 against Southeastern Louisiana led by Meghan Gregg’s grand slam along with Matty Moss throwing 5 2/3 innings. The second game against Ohio was a defensive battle with Gregg driving home the two Tennessee runs. Moss threw 3 2/3 shutout innings with five strikeouts against one walk and one hit. The Vols won 2-1 and ended the day 15-2.
Fresno State and Long Beach State played extra innings to decide their game. The Bulldogs scored three eighth-inning runs as Kamalani Dung (8-3) went the distance with 10 strikeouts in the 4-2 win. The second game versus Iowa was far more offensive with both teams scoring at least one run in the first three innings. Morgan Howe went 3 for 4 with three RBIs while Vanessa Hernandez and Kierra Willis both drove home two runs apiece. The Bulldogs won 11-7 with Dung earning her first save of the season.
Friday, March 3, 2017
The SEC had quite the successful day going 20-2 led by #3 Florida. The Gators defeated two Pac-12 teams on the day starting with #23 California. The Gators got home runs from Kayli Kvistad and Nicole DeWitt along with five shutout innings from Aleshia Ocasio. Ocasio allowed only three hits and struck out four in the 4-0 win.
The bigger and more impressive win for Florida came over #7 UCLA. UCLA struck first with a run in the top of the first on a wild pitch, but the Gators quickly responded. Janell Wheaton capped a four-run first inning for Florida with a two-run home run. The Gators matched that run total in the second with RBI doubles by Sophia Reynoso and Kvistad. Delanie Gourley, now 8-1, went the distance allowing four runs on four hits and a walk, but struck out 11 in the 9-4 victory.
The two losses for the SEC on Friday were #24 Missouri to still undefeated #4 Oregon, 10-3, and South Carolina to Northwestern 6-4. Northwestern also defeated #23 California with Sammy Nettling drive home two runs and Morgan Nelson scoring on a wild pitch. The Wildcats held a 3-0 lead and then needed to survive some late scoring from Cal to win 3-2. The Wildcats entered the day 3-10, but came away with two very good wins.
The ACC saw their first conference games of the season with Virginia Tech defeating Virginia (13-5), #1 Florida State defeating Georgia Tech (4-0), and North Carolina defeating #21 Pittsburgh (5-1). The Virginia Tech win was deceiving because the game was tied at five after five innings. The Hokies pushed across 8 runs in the sixth including Vanessa Gonzalez’s three-run home run to end the deluge of runs. Gonzalez, Olivia Lattin, and Emma Strouth each had 3 runs batted in.
The North Carolina victory was a milestone for coach Donna Papa. She became the 11th coach in NCAA softball history to win 1,200 games. Katelyn Shifflett hit a two-run double in the fifth while Brittany Pickett threw a complete game allowing the one run on one walk and three hits and struck out six.
— ACC Softball (@ACCsoftball) March 4, 2017
The Ivy League took part in some blowout games, but were on the wrong end of all but one. Penn defeated St. Bonaventure 9-1 in the only Ivy League win on the day. The Quakers lost their other game 11-1 to Ball State in five innings. Dartmouth lost 11-5 to UAB and 8-0 to Kennesaw State (six innings) and Princeton lost 12-1 to Louisiana-Monroe and 14-1 to Houston. Cornell was also defeated twice in run-rule fashion, first to Long Island 17-6 (six innings) and then 14-2 versus South Dakota (five innings).
Providence may have been in two of the more exciting games on Friday, but unfortunately was on the losing side of both. They faced Central Florida and fell behind 4-1, but rallied to claim a 5-4 lead in the top of the fourth. In the bottom of the fourth, UCF answered with six runs with five coming on three separate doubles. The Friars responded once again in the sixth with five runs with the final two coming on a dropped fly ball. The game went to extras where Brittany Solis scored on an error to send UCF to the 11-10 win in eight innings.
The Friars second game was versus Florida Gulf Coast and it looked bad early on. Providence scored in the top of the first, but FGCU scored eight runs in the first two innings to hold a commanding 8-1 lead. Providence scored two in the fifth to make it 8-3, but the Eagles came back with two of their own to hold a 10-3 lead. Vanessa Portillo hit a three-run shot in the sixth and the Friars made the last inning uncomfortable for FGCU. The bases were loaded with one out when a ground out brought a run home. The rally ended with runners on second and third plus the winning run at the plate. Florida Gulf Coast won 10-7, but it was not an easy victory.
Saturday, March 4, 2017
There were no shortage of runs between Bethune-Cookman and South Dakota though the beginning of the game did not foreshadow what was to come. BCU held a 4-0 lead after three and a 7-2 lead after four innings. In the fifth, South Dakota tied the game with a five-run inning, but both teams had plenty left. After six innings it was 10-8 South Dakota, but their seventh inning was impressive. They scored 10 runs in the seventh and no runs came via home run.
Bethune-Cookman hit a grand slam in the seventh from Kaitlin Alamprese though they lost 20-12. The teams combined for 32 runs and 33 hits in a game that took over 3 hours to finish.
FINAL | COYOTES WIN‼️
— Coyote Softball (@SDCoyotesSB) March 4, 2017
Another entertaining game took place between North Texas and Wichita State. Wichita State took a 2-0 lead after one, but NT took their own lead 3-2 after the top of the second. The Shockers then dropped eight straight runs on North Texas for a 10-3 lead. However, North Texas did those 8 runs one better in the fifth inning. Lindsay Gregory bookended the scoring in the fifth with RBI singles. North Texas went on to win 14-10.
Virginia and Virginia Tech produced another wild game. Tech took a 4-0 lead in the second off a three-run shot by Chelsea Whitcomb. The Cavaliers rallied by back by the third tying the game at four and the seesaw battle was on. Tech took a 7-4 lead after the top of the fifth, but Ivana Hughes‘ two-run shot and Olivia Gott’s solo shot in the bottom of the fifth tied the game at 7. Tech took their third lead of the game, but like the previous two, they did not hold it. Katie Park tied it in the seventh and Kaitlin Fitzgerald was brought on to pinch-hit. She delivered a single down the right-field line and Virginia won 8-7.
#10 Minnesota continued their perfect start with a big 3-0 road win over #13 LSU. Sara Groenewegen went all seven innings and allowed just one walk and three hits while striking out 9. She had a perfect game after five, but a few LSU hits prevented that from happening. In the fourth, Minnesota got a double from MaKenna Partain and then Groenewegen had a sac fly. The Gophers added a third run in the sixth inning to give even more cushion. Groenewegen moved to 9-0 on the season while Minnesota was 17-0 through Saturday.
Another team that remained perfect on Saturday was #4 Oregon. That had two wins versus #24 Missouri and Butler. Versus Missouri, the Ducks opened a 3-0 lead after two, but the Tigers cut the deficit to 3-2 after four. The Ducks immediately came back in the fifth with four runs including a three-run homer by Lauren Lindvall. The Ducks went on to win 7-2 over Missouri. The second game was an 8-0 win over Butler in just five innings. Maggie Balint threw five great innings allowing only two hits and striking out 10 to improve to 9-0 on the season. The Ducks finished the day 18-0, which tied a school record for the best start in program history.
The Big 12 had quite a few close games. Eight of their 12 games were decided by two runs or less with seven decided by one run. In those eight games, the Big 12 went 6-2 including #22 Baylor defeating #8 Washington 3-1. Baylor broke the scoreless contest in the bottom of the fourth on a sacrifice fly via Shelby McGlaun. Kaija Gibson tied the game in the next half-inning with a solo home run.
Baylor took back the lead in the bottom of the fifth on a throwing error and then a ground out to make it 3-1. The Huskies had just one base runner the final two innings with Baylor’s Kelsee Selman throwing a complete game. She allowed the one run on one walk and five hits with five strikeouts.
The one-run victories for the Big 12 came from Kansas (2-1 over South Alabama), Oklahoma State (2-1 over Tennessee Tech), Iowa State (2-1 over Utah State) Texas Tech (6-5 over North Texas), Oklahoma (5-4 over Evansville).
Sunday, March 5, 2017
The number 8 was popular in the SEC. Eight different games saw SEC teams post exactly 8 runs and seven were victories. #16 Georgia, Arkansas, #5 Texas A&M (twice), #24 Missouri (twice), #2 Auburn, and Mississippi State all posted eight runs with only Missouri not winning their game against Maryland. They lost 9-8 in nine innings to the Terps, who have been quite the thorn in the SEC’s side this season.
Missouri led the game 7-1 after six innings thanks to a 7 run sixth. Maryland responded in the seventh with six runs on six hits and both teams had a run in the eighth inning. Kassidy Cross drove home the go-ahead run in ninth while the Tigers could not drive home the tying run in the bottom of the frame. The Tigers came back with an 8-0 victory over Butler to end their weekend.
Two other teams came close to the exactly 8 runs, but ultimately missed it by one. #13 LSU won 9-1 over Florida Atlantic and #11 Alabama won 7-0 versus Jacksonville.
Of the six Northeast Conference games on Sunday, five of them saw at least one team score 10 runs. The double-digit run games were Wagner (15-1 loss to Iona), St. Francis (10-2 win over Incarnate Word), Central Connecticut State (11-5 loss to Michigan State), Mount St. Mary’s (15-2 loss to Albany), and Long Island (12-5 win over South Dakota). Bryant’s 4-2 loss to Florida International was low scoring compared to the other contests.
#1 Florida State completed their weekend sweep of Georgia Tech in run-rule fashion. FSU won 4-0, 13-8, and 8-0 (five innings) with the latter producing a one-hitter from Jessica Burroughs (six strikeouts and no walks). The Seminoles have a midweek doubleheader against North Florida and then face Virginia Tech next weekend on the road.
A day after erasing a 7 run deficit versus Wichita State, North Texas erased a six-run deficit against Texas Tech. NT lead 2-0 after an inning and a half, but the Red Raiders made it a 7-2 game after putting up seven runs in the bottom of the second inning. Susan Welborn made it 8-2 in the third with a solo shot. North Texas rallied in the fourth with back-to-back home runs by Kelli Schkade and Lindsay Gregory to cut the TT lead to 8-6.
The Texas Tech lead was 9-7 after five innings and NT tied the game in the sixth on a two-run single from Hannah Gerecke. They added three more on a single and a throwing error for a 12-9 lead. Texas Tech closed it to 12-11 on a solo shot by Devon Thomey and Welborn scoring on an error. However, they could not reclaim the lead and North Texas produced yet another thrilling victory.
Bucknell and Quinnipiac also produced over 20 runs combined in their game. Bucknell led 7-1 in the top of the second, but a five-run bottom of the second made it 7-6. Meghan Kovac hit a grand slam to propel the lead back to five runs and Bucknell went on to win 15-11 with Kovac finishing with five RBIs.
#4 Oregon set a school record for a best to start a season by defeating Stephen F. Austin 8-2. Gwen Svekis drove home four runs in the game for the Ducks. Oregon faces Hofstra (twice), Idaho State (twice), and Pacific next weekend.
— GoDucks (@GoDucks) March 5, 2017
Also keeping their undefeated start going was #10 Minnesota. The Gophers moved to 18-0 after defeating Illinois State 7-3. Minnesota needed a five-run outburst across the sixth and seventh innings to keep the win streak intact. Minnesota will take on Seattle (twice), #8 Washington (twice), and high scoring South Dakota next weekend.
There are just four teams still undefeated, including the aforementioned Oregon Ducks and Minnesota Gophers. The others are Loyola-Chicago and Drexel. Drexel has only played two games and they are scheduled to face Dayton, Kent State, #19 Kentucky, and Evansville next weekend. Loyola faces #11 Alabama on Tuesday.
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