Follow along here for updates all day from Knoxville!
Alabama 4, Arkansas 1
by Christopher Novak
The Alabama Crimson Tide got things rolling on Wednesday with a 4-1 over the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Starring in the SEC Tournament opener was freshman Bailey Hemphill. The Tide’s reliable youngster went 2-3 at the dish with a home run, two runs scored and two RBI. Hemphill’s blast catapulted the lead up from 3-1 to 4-1 after ‘Bama put up that three spot in the first inning. The freshman took part in that as well, driving in fellow frosh Elissa Brown. Reagan Dykes and Sydney Booker then tacked on two more runs with two singles of their own, getting to stud Razorback pitcher Autumn Storms early.
Despite Storms settling down throughout the rest of her outing, the Hogs offense was held in check. Slugger Nicole Schroeder went deep in the sixth inning but Sydney Littlejohn and Alexis Osorio were otherwise terrific. Osorio didn’t allow a hit in her two innings of work and allowed just one baserunner on a walk she issued. Littlejohn scattered five hits over her five innings of work, allowed the one run off the bat of Schroeder, struck out five and issued no walks.
‘Bama will now go on to play the Texas A&M Aggies on Thursday at Noon ET.
Ole Miss 2, Mississippi State 1
by Robert O’Neill
The Ole Miss Rebels took care of in-state foe Mississippi State, 2-1, in the second game of the first round of the SEC Tournament on Wednesday afternoon.
The Rebels were anchored by a five-hit complete game from starter Kaitlin Lee. Lee struck out five and allowed a solo home run to the Bulldogs’ Olivia Golden for their lone run of the day.
Ole Miss got on the board right away, as Sarah Van Schaik drove in Elantra Cox with an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning. Golden’s home run tied it up in the second before Miranda Strother singled home Grayce Majam in the bottom of the second, giving the Rebels a 2-1 lead. Strother’s RBI single would ultimately decide the game.
Ole Miss will advance to face the Florida Gators in Thursday’s quarterfinal matchup.
Kentucky 7, South Carolina 3
by Christopher Novak
The Kentucky Wildcats advanced in the SEC Softball Tournament following their 7-3 victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks.
The bat of Abbey Cheek proved to be formidable in the win, as she powered the offense on Wednesday evening. The sophomore smacked two home runs and drove in four runs, going 3-4 at the plate in the meantime. The homers were Cheek’s 11th and 12th of the season, which lead the team by a pretty comfortable margin.
Erin Rethlake, Brooklyn Hinz and Jenny Schaper also drove in runs in the win. Hinz was able to collect a double to go along with that RBI and Alex Martens socked a two-bagger of her own.
Meagan Prince stood firm in the circle and continued her terrific season with another stout performance. Prince allowed just two earned runs, four strikeouts, two walks and just one extra-base hit allowed. That XBH was a solo home run by Alyssa VanDerveer in the sixth inning. Rethlake took the mound to start the seventh inning, but Tiara Duffy welcomed her with a solo shot of her own. Prince reassumed the mound afterward and finished the game off.
LSU 6, Missouri 5
by Niesha Middlebrooks
Missouri went on a late three-run rally but couldn't quite finish the job against the LSU Tigers in Wednesday night’s finale.
LSU held on after bringing starting pitcher Allie Walljasper back in the game as they saw the lead gradually slip away from them. Walljasper saved the day with a strikeout to end it and helped advance her team to the quarterfinals.
After a scoreless first, LSU wasted no time in getting to Mizzou pitcher Cheyenne Baxter in the second.. A single by Constance Quinn was followed up by a home run by freshman Sydney Springfield.
Missouri answered back in the top of the fourth inning and forced LSU’s coach to take Walljasper out of the circle and replace her with Sydney Smith. Natalie Fleming hit a two-RBI single after Walljasper gave up singles to Kolby Romaine and Anna Reed. A walk to Rylee Pierce followed those two singles and set the stage for Fleming’s single.
As it seemed that Baxter was pulling off a great game, striking out her first two batters in the bottom of the fourth, things started to slip away. She loaded the bases by giving up walks and then, Sahvanna Jaquish hit a bomb out in left field - a grand slam, no less - to put LSU up 6-2, her fifth career grand slam.
Mizzou rose up from the grave a few innings later, going on a spree started by a walk drawn by Reagan Nash. Cayla Kessinger hit an RBI double to score Nash and then Braxton Burnside then hit a single to bring Kessinger in. LSU then took Smith out and brought Walljasper back in, and Walljasper shut the door on the rally, striking Anna Reed out to give the Bayou Bengals the win.
LSU will play Tennessee on Thursday.