Stay tuned with us all afternoon and evening, as we’ll be recapping and updating you with the scores from Day 2, the QUARTERFINALS of the 2018 SEC Softball Tournament!
SOUTH CAROLINA 3, MISSISSIPPI STATE 1
Day 1 started with Mississippi State pitching a shutout. Day 2 began with the script being flipped on them, as South Carolina knocked the Bulldogs out of the Tourney with a 3-1 win.
Cayla Drotar was in command all afternoon in the circle. The righthander allowed only four hits, two for extra bases (doubles by Kat Moore and Reggie Harrison) but beyond that, she was dominant. She only allowed two hits before the final stanza, and earned what was her 20th win of the season. She threw a strikeout and a walk and was able to keep State off the board for the most part up until their lone run was scored in the final inning.
The first two runs of the game were scored in the 3rd inning. Kenzi Maguire reached base on an error, which led to Jana Johns coming home from 3rd base. Later, Cayla Drotar hit a foul ball that Sarai Niu laid out for to make what was a fantastic catch. In doing so, though, that allowed for Krystan White to run in from 3rd for the second run of the game.
Alyssa Kumiyama then delivered a big blow in the ensuing inning. Kumiyama drilled a long home run that hit the cameraman craned up in right field. It went that far, yeah. It was a moonshot that gave South Carolina their 60th home run of the season as a team. Quite the feat, eh?
The Gamecocks are in the semifinals for the first time since 2002. They’ll play the winner of Georgia-Arkansas, which is set to go down shortly.
ARKANSAS 8, GEORGIA 3
Our first major upset of the SEC Softball Tournament has occurred. The Arkansas Razorbacks defeated the 8th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs on Thursday afternoon to advance to the Semifinals.
Arkansas was led to victory partly due to a huge 3rd inning. The Razorbacks plated a run after a Katie Warrick double, and then A.J. Belans went liftoff, as she clubbed a 3-run bomb to make it 4-0 in favor of the Hogs.
Georgia wouldn’t go away quietly, though. Justice Milz hit a sacrifice groundout in the 3rd inning that scored Cortni Emanuel. In the ensuing frame, Kendall Burton made it 4-2 after an RBI single that plated Jordan Doggett. However, Georgia paid the price for not capitalizing in the next inning. They had the bases loaded, but scored no runs as Arkansas wiggled their way out of trouble. The Hogs then jumped on the Dawgs for three runs in the sixth, after a Tori Cooper RBI single, a walk by Haydi Bugarin and a sacrifice fly by Hannah McEwen.
While UGA put up a run in the following inning to make it 7-3, Cooper again got on the board with another RBI single that scored Katie Warrick to make it 8-3.
Autumn Storms started the game for the Razorbacks, but only got through 3.2 innings pitched. She scattered six hits and two runs allowed in that stretch, but Mary Haff helped to preserve the win. Haff pitched 3.1 innings of relief to earn the victory, and allowed four hits and just the one earned run to the 16 batters she faced. Haff improved to 26-6 after being deemed the pitcher of record.
It’s the first Semifinals appearance for Arkansas since all the way back in 2001. They’ll play South Carolina on Friday afternoon.
TENNESSEE 1, LSU 0
-- by Zach Remelius
One run in the bottom of the 1st inning was all that Tennessee needed to advance to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. Their matchup with LSU was the classic definition of a pitcher’s duel.
Aubrey Leach led off the game with a single, and scored quickly on a double by Meghan Gregg. That’s all that Tennessee pitcher Caylan Arnold was afforded, as she carved up the LSU lineup, scattering three hits in seven shutout innings.
The biggest threat she faced was in the top of the second when she walked the leadoff batter of the inning, Shemiah Sanchez, and LSU had runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs. Arnold quickly put out the fire, getting a ground ball and a force out at third. A random single in the sixth was all Arnold would give up as she got the complete game shutout
LSU started Allie Walljasper again after she went seven strong yesterday and arguably pitched better. Walljasper let her defense work and only gave up four hits and didn’t walk anyone. Three of those hits came in the first inning, where Walljasper made the pitches she needed to to only allow one run. After Gregg’s RBI double, Tennessee third basemen Chelsea Seggern singled. A fielder’s choice forced Gregg out at third followed up by nicely turned double play ball by LSU second baseman Becca Schulte, who got to the bag and threw over to first to end an eventful inning. She cruised through the rest of the game surely hoping her offense could get one run.
LSU’s season is far from over as they now wait for selection day to see where they are going for a regional. Tennessee meanwhile will play the winner of Alabama/Florida on Friday in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament.
FLORIDA 5, ALABAMA 2
-- by Niesha Middlebrooks
The Alabama Crimson Tide kept the game close until Florida’s Amanda Lorenz hit a 3-run bomb (9th of the season) to take the lead in the sixth inning, advancing the Gators to Semifinals of the SEC Tournament.
Aleshia Ocasio also contributed to the Gators’ offense, as she hit her third homer of the season with two RBIs. Amanda Lorenz had three RBIs as well in the win.
Kelly Barnhill started the game, pitching five innings, allowing three hits, two runs, walking five, and struck out five. Ocasio took the win in the pitching circle, allowing one hit and struck out one in two innings pitched.
The Crimson Tide received an RBI from Kaylee Tow and Gabby Callaway respectively. Courtney Gettins started out pitching, allowing four hits, two runs, walking five and struck out two in four innings. Alexis Osorio came in to provide relief, but couldn’t quite hold the Gators down in two innings pitched, allowing two hits, three runs and struck out four in the loss. She also took the L in the pitching circle.
Florida will go on to play Tennessee on Friday in the Semifinals.