The sixth weekend of the 2017 college softball season has concluded. The past two weeks have been light on upsets, but the sixth week made up for the past two weeks. We will look at the headlines and some of the notable performances below in a day-by-day format.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
#1 Florida State opened the week with a 7-0 win over Florida Gulf Coast. Jessica Burroughs allowed one walk and three hits while striking out 12 batters in the complete game. #7 Texas A&M easily handled Memphis 15-1 in a five-inning game. The Aggies got equal production on offense with five different batters driving home at least two runs.
The game of the day belonged to #4 Arizona and #9 Oklahoma. The Sooners began the scoring in the second inning on a fielder’s choice and held the 1-0 lead through four and a half innings. Tamara Statman gave Arizona the lead in the fifth with a two-run shot, but OU came right back in the sixth to reclaim the lead. Macey Hatfield delivered a two-run single to make it 3-2 for OU.
The Wildcats were able to mount a rally in the bottom of the seventh. They loaded the bases with two outs when Mandie Perez came up and hit a shot to first. Shay Knighten’s throw was off the mark and that allowed Arizona to score two runs and take the game 4-3.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Weather caused mayhem in the scheduling as games all over the country were canceled or postponed.
Tulsa delivered a big win over Arkansas and did so comfortably. Tulsa defeated Arkansas 8-0 in five innings with Emily Watson throwing a one-hitter. She struck out 8 batters and allowed no walks while Rylie Spell had a great game at the plate. Spell had a two-run single in the second and a three-run home run in the third to give her 5 RBIs on the day.
— Tulsa Softball (@TulsaSoftball) March 15, 2017
Elsewhere in the SEC, Missouri swept Iowa in shutout fashion for both games of their doubleheader, 9-0 and 2-0. #11 Alabama did the same to Winthrop and Georgia Southern. The latter produced a combined no-hitter between Alexis Osorio and Madi Moore. Osorio had three perfect innings with 7 strikeouts while Moore allowed only one walk and struck out two. #2 Florida dismantled North Dakota State 13-0 in five innings thanks to five RBIs apiece from Janell Wheaton and Chelsea Herndon.
#1 FSU continued its domination this year with two more impressive performances. The Noles defeated Canisius 9-1 in six innings and Florida Gulf Coast 13-1 in five innings. Callie Harrod had six RBIs while going 4 for 6 in over the two games.
#8 Minnesota had a great 10-0 win over #23 California in a milestone effort for pitcher Sara Groenewegen. She struck out 9 batters and allowed only one hit and one walk in six innings of work. Groenewegen eclipsed 1,000 strikeouts for her career in the win, making her just the third player in Minnesota history to reach that mark.
— Minnesota Softball (@GopherSoftball) March 16, 2017
Thursday, March 16, 2017
It was a light day on the number of games played. #13 LSU needed a late rally to dispatch Wichita State 4-3. The Tigers led 1-0 in the second, but Paige Luellen tied the game in the second for the Shockers with a solo shot. Ryleigh Buck made it 3-1 Wichita State on a two-run shot and set the stage for a late-inning rally for the Tigers. A run in the sixth made it 3-2 while the Tigers needed an error by the Shockers to tie the game in the seventh. LSU made the most of their gift by taking the lead in the eighth on a solo shot by Sydney Springfield. The Shockers went down in order to end the game.
An upset that did occur was Missouri State defeating Oklahoma State 7-3. The Bears led 2-0 and 3-1 early in the game, but the Cowgirls clawed their way back to a 3-3 tie on a solo shot by Vanessa Shippy. The Bears had a four-run sixth aided by an OSU error to reach the 7-3 final score and improved to 12-9 overall.
#9 Oklahoma swept their two games on the day over UC Santa Barbara 8-1 and Loyola-Marymount 6-4. The first game saw five different Sooners drive in a run and Paige Parker allow the one run on one hit and two walks with five strikeouts. The second game was more of the same with five different Sooners recording an RBI. OU was tied at three going into the fifth inning, but RBIs from Vanessa Taukeiaho, Nicole Mendes, and Fale Aviu gave the Sooners a lead they would not relinquish.
Friday, March 17, 2017
The upset of the day belonged to Cal Poly over #9 Oklahoma. The Sooners struck in the first inning with a solo shot from Sydney Romero, but Sierra Hyland shut Oklahoma down the rest of the game. Hyland, who threw a perfect game early in the season, did not allow a hit the rest of the game while striking out seven. Cal Poly had a three-run fifth with RBI hits by Makenna Young, Hailey Martin, and Amanda Sandoval. The Mustangs won 3-1 and also threw another one-hitter versus Dartmouth on Friday in an 11-0 victory.
Saint Francis got a massive performance from Jordan Seneca versus Texas Tech. TTU took a 5-0 lead, but it was cut down to 5-4 on a grand slam by Seneca. TTU went up 8-4 on a three-run shot by Raina O’Neal, but Seneca tied the game with her second grand slam of the game. The game went to extras where Saint Francis won 12-10. Seneca had quite the stat line: 2 for 3 with eight RBIs, four runs, and two walks.
This one is over! A 5-3-2 double play ends it as Saint Francis outlasts Texas Tech 12-10 in 8 innings behind two grand slams from Seneca pic.twitter.com/T9QlOvSaOL
— Saint Francis U SB (@RedFlashSB) March 18, 2017
Another thriller took place between Illinois and Chattanooga. The Illini held a 4-2 lead after three and then built up a 13-3 lead thanks to four runs in the fifth and five runs in the sixth. A series of four straight walks to start the bottom of the sixth set up a 9 run inning for Chattanooga. They came up just short in a 13-12 loss with 9 different hitters recording an RBI. Illinois had six different batters finish with an RBI.
Long Beach State, a team who has played a brutal non-conference schedule, rebounded from three losses earlier in the week to defeat both Grand Canyon (5-2) and Northwestern (2-1 in 9 innings). Lauren MacLeod hit a grand slam in versus GCU while Christina Clermont threw six innings of one-hit ball versus Northwestern.
St Louis and Memphis played the day’s longest game needing 13 innings to decide a victor. St Louis started with a two-run double in the first inning from Allie Macfarlane while Memphis scored one in the bottom of the inning. The teams exchanged runs in third and Memphis tied the game at 3 on a double by Addison Maxwell. After six straight scoreless innings, Memphis finally won the game 4-3 in the 13th on a bunt by Tyler Johnson.
#20 Utah secured an excellent 2-1 win over #10 UCLA to open Pac-12 play. Utah scored two runs in the third inning on back-to-back singles from Alyssa Barrera and Hannah Flippen. The Bruins mounted a last-ditch rally and nearly came back to tie the game. Brianna Tautalafua cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the seventh with a solo home run followed by a double from Rachel Garcia to make it a nervous ending. The Utes were able to get the final two outs to take the first of a three-game set on the road.
Arkansas won 4-3 over #15 Tennessee thanks to A.J. Belans’ grand slam in the third inning. The Razorbacks held on for the victory despite the Vols having late success with three runs after the grand slam. #7 Texas A&M defeated #22 Ole Miss behind Trinity Harrington’s complete-game outing. She allowed two runs (one earned) on one walk and three hits while striking out five. Riley Sartain broke a 2-2 deadlock in the fifth with a solo shot on a 3-2 count. Ashley Walters doubled home Kaitlyn Alderink for an insurance run in the seventh run with the Aggies claiming the 4-2 road win.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
For the second day in a row, Cal Poly upended #9 Oklahoma by the same scoreline of 3-1 as the first upset. The Sooners scored in the first inning again, this time on a sacrifice fly by Fale Aviu. Cal Poly responded with runs in the second and third innings to take a 2-1 lead. The Mustangs added a third run on an error while Oklahoma had a solid rally in the bottom of the seventh by putting runners on first and second with no outs. Sierra Hyland settled down and retired the next three in order to complete the game. She finished the game allowing the one run on one walk and six hits with five strikeouts.
For the second time this week, Tulsa defeated a team from the SEC. This time it was a 1-0 win over #13 LSU with Tulsa recording just one hit in the victory. Maddie Withee drove home the only run on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first. Pitcher Emily Watson held LSU in check going the distance allowing one walk and five hits with 8 strikeouts.
Also in the SEC, some conference matchups produced surprising results. Mississippi State defeated #11 Alabama in a pitcher’s duel 1-0. Amanda Ivy’s RBI single in the 2nd inning was enough for the Bulldogs to hand Sydney Littlejohn her first loss of the season (9-1). Holly Ward threw the complete game shutout allowing two walks and two hits with 3 strikeouts.
#17 Kentucky and #16 Georgia played a low-scoring and tight affair. Erin Rethlake scored both of the runs for Kentucky while Meagan Prince threw a complete game allowing one run on four hits and four walks with 9 strikeouts. Kentucky won 2-1 and it marked the first time in a decade they won at Georgia.
— UK Softball (@UKsoftball) March 18, 2017
Arkansas scored their second one-run victory over #15 Tennessee in as many days with a record crowd on hand. A scoreless game until the seventh inning, Tennessee took a 1-0 lead on an RBI groundout by pinch hitter Savannah Huffstetler. The Razorbacks rallied in the bottom of the inning to tie the game with Tori Cooper delivering a single to center just past the diving shortstop to drive home the winning run for the 2-1 win. Like Kentucky, this win ended some dreaded streaks for Arkansas. Combined with their win on Friday, Arkansas claimed their first SEC series win since 2013 and their first against Tennessee since 2002.
Bogle Park was ROCKIN’ today 🙌
— Razorback Softball (@RazorbackSB) March 18, 2017
A full game of 7 innings were not enough for Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech to decide a winner. The teams needed two full games for Louisiana Tech to emerge as the 4-2 victor. Southern Miss struck in the first inning with a run, but the Techsters came back in the second to claim the lead on RBIs from Ali Galaz and Jessica Ball. USM tied the game at 2 in the third inning on an error, but the scoring went silent for the next 10 innings. Louisiana Tech loaded the bases when Galaz came up and hit a two-run double to make it 4-2 while the Eagles went down 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the inning.
#5 Arizona won a doubleheader over Oregon State. The first game was a 6-2 final with home runs by Kaityana Mauga in the sixth and seventh innings while Alyssa Palomino drove home the other two runs. The second game featured late offense as well with the Wildcats scoring five runs across the final two innings for a 7-1 win.
#20 Utah defeated #10 UCLA for the second consecutive day by a score of 7-2. The Utes took a 3-0 lead in the fifth, but it was a seventh-inning grand slam from Hannah Flippen that really put them over in the driver’s seat. Katie Donovan nearly threw a perfect game as she went 6 1/3 innings before the attempt ended on a single. The Bruins scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh on a single by Brianna Tautalafua, but the damage was already done. Donovan finished the game allowing just one walks two hits to improve to 11-4.
#3 Oregon defeated #23 California 2-1 to stay unbeaten at 26-0. Annie Aldrete drove home a run in the first inning to give Cal an early 1-0 lead, but Miranda Elish (6-0) held the bats in check the rest of the game. Elish went the distance allowing the one run on two walks and six hits with 7 strikeouts. A Nikki Udria solo shot in the fourth inning tied the game and Danica Mercado’s triple the next inning brought home Sammie Puentes for the eventual game-winner.
Saint Francis made headlines for the second time in as many days, this time with pitching. Ethel Santai threw a perfect game against East Carolina a five-inning, run-rule shortened game. Seven different Red Flash players recorded an RBI in the 11-0 victory as well.
Sunday, March 19, 2017
#1 Florida State ended the weekend in style with a 16-0 win over Notre Dame in five innings. The Seminoles swept the Irish without giving up a run and allowed just 12 hits over the three-game series. The Noles are 9-0 in ACC play while Notre Dame has slumped to 1-5.
Another ACC undefeated is Louisville (3-0) who swept Pittsburgh over the weekend. The last of the three wins was an 8-2 win with Maryssa Becker throwing a complete game with 9 strikeouts against one walk and four hits. Pittsburgh dropped to 0-6 in the ACC. North Carolina suffered their first loss in ACC play (now 5-1) on Sunday after Virginia Tech scored 10 runs in the second inning. The Hokies were powered by 3 RBIs apiece from Breanna Davenport and Emma Strouth.
There were also sweeps in the Pac-12 starting with #6 Washington finishing off Arizona State twice on Sunday. The Huskies posted 4-0 and 1-0 shutouts with Samantha Manti throwing 10 innings over the two games allowing just two walks and six hits with 10 strikeouts. #5 Arizona swept Oregon State after a 7-4 win in 8 innings. The Wildcats led 4-1 going into the bottom of the seventh, but Natalie Hampton sent the game to extras with a three-shot to center field. Arizona put up three runs in the eighth capped off by Mandie Perez’s home run to right field.
The final Pac-12 sweep was a surprising one with #20 Utah over #10 UCLA. The Utes won 4-0 on Sunday and their three games saw them allow just three runs over three games to one of the best hitting teams in the nation.
As if there were not enough sweeps above, there were more in the SEC. #2 Florida took care of South Carolina in three straight games with the final one resulting in a combined no-hitter between Delanie Gourley and Aleshia Ocasio. Jaimie Hoover went 2 for 3 with five RBIs in the 10-0 win over South Carolina. The Gators moved to 26-1 (5-0 in the SEC) on the season and South Carolina is now at 19-10 overall (1-5 SEC).
#22 Ole Miss had a great opportunity to claim some excellent conference wins at home versus #7 Texas A&M, but could not win any games versus the Aggies. The Aggies won 3-1 behind Riley Sartain’s RBI hits in the first, second, and fourth innings along with Lexi Smith striking out 14 in her six innings of work.
In the Missouri Valley Conference, Wichita State, Illinois State, and Evansville had perfect 3-0 starts in conference over Drake, Indiana State, and Loyola, respectively. The Mountain West saw four teams start 2-1 to their conference schedule in Boise State, Utah State, Fresno State, and San José State.
One of the most entertaining games took place between Belmont and Mercer that needed 10 innings to be decided. The game was tied at five after seven innings, but the fun was just getting started. Belmont plated two runs in the top of the eighth, but Mercer’s Danielle Castleberry tied the game with a triple. She was thrown out at home trying to score an inside the park home run. The teams exchanged runs in the ninth inning to force a 10th inning tied at eight.
Belmont was able to take a 9-8 lead on a single from Hayley Baker and looked to have the game sealed on a grand slam by Jess Andree, which was her second grand slam of the game. Mercer quickly cut the deficit to 13-10 on a two-run shot from Megan Lane and then put two runners on with no outs. Quirisa Mauga doubled home two runs to make it 13-12 before Belmont got the final two outs for the win.
Jess Andree became the 12th player in NCAA history to hit 2 grand slams in one game. The 11th was Jordan Seneca of Saint Francis, who she did so on Friday versus Texas Tech (see above).
UPDATE: Jess Andree becomes the 12th player in NCAA history to hit 2 grand slams in a single game. Another player also did it this weekend
— Belmont Softball (@BelmontSoftball) March 19, 2017
The lone unbeaten in Division 1, #3 Oregon, remained that way with a 10-2 run-rule victory over #23 California. Cal broke through in the first inning while the Ducks scored runs in the second through fifth innings. Seven different Oregon hitters finished with an RBI led by Jenna Lilley with three.
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