Stay tuned with us all afternoon and evening, as we’ll be recapping and updating you with the scores from Day 3, the SEMIFINALS of the 2018 SEC Softball Tournament!
SOUTH CAROLINA 3, ARKANSAS 1
South Carolina won 3-1 in their Quarterfinals matchup with Mississippi State on Thursday. On Friday, they won 3-1 in their Semifinals matchup with Arkansas. Consistency is key, folks.
The Gamecocks first got on the board after after Kenzi Maguire hit an RBI single in the 2nd inning. The base knock brought Jana Johns in to score the game’s first run and would help catapult South Carolina forward. Two innings later, the bat of Tiara Duffy put up the second and third runs of the game. Duffy hit a 2-run homer that, once again, brought Johns in to score as well.
The score was 3-0 up until the top of the 6th inning when the Razorbacks finally plated a run. A.J. Belans hit a SAC fly to center field, which allowed Carley Haizlip to score from 3rd. That would be the only run that Arkansas would put up in the loss, as they could not score in the ensuing 7th and final stanza.
Dixie Raley pitched well in the circle to help lead her team to victory. She tossed a complete game while allowing just five hits, the one earned run, and had seven strikeouts to two walks. She only allowed one XBH, a double off the bat of Katie Warrick. Apart from that, she kept hits to a minimum.
Autumn Storms, meanwhile, was roughed up by the Gamecock batters. She threw only 3.1 innings, and allowed five hits and three earned runs. She failed to record a strikeout, but didn’t allow a walk, either. Mary Haff pitched 2.2 innings of 2-hit, shutout ball but it was too little, too late as their offense couldn’t muster anything up against Raley.
South Carolina faces off with the winner of Florida-Tennessee on Saturday night for the SEC Softball Tournament Championship.
FLORIDA 10, TENNESSEE 2
-- by Zach Remelius
Florida used a dominant performance to run-rule Tennessee en route to the SEC Softball Tournament Championship Game.
The Gators got started right away, scoring three in the bottom of the first. After a fly out, left fielder Amanda Lorenz walked on four pitches and third baseman Nicole DeWitt, on a 3-1 pitch, hit one over the right field fence to put Florida up quickly. Tennessee starter Matty Moss walked the next two batters and was removed from the game. Caylan Arnold came in and, Gators catcher Janell Wheaton hit one back up the middle for an RBI single. That was all the damage Florida would do in the inning but the tone was set.
In the second, Arnold came back out to pitch and after hitting the leadoff batter and an error allowed another batter to reach. DeWitt decided one home run wasn’t enough, and put one over the center field fence for a 3-run homer, and the rout was on. UF tacked on another in the inning on a double by Wheaton.
The top of the 3rd provided some hope for the Volunteers as they scored two on a double by first baseman Ashley Morgan, but that’s all they scored off Florida pitcher Kelly Barnhill. Florida tacked on one more in the fourth and two in the fifth to put them up by eight and end the game.
Tennessee helped Florida in a lot of ways to put this game out of reach. Walking nine batters and committing two errors. Tennessee starter Matty Moss was reinstated in the game in the third and pitched a total of three innings and contributed eight of the nine walks, giving up six runs (five earned) in the loss.
The Gators only got six hits off of Moss and Arnold, but they were timely hits to give the Gators a cushion for their pitcher Barnhill. She pushed her record to 26-1 while pitching a complete game. She struck out nine batters, allowing two runs on five hits to push her ERA to 0.99.
Tennessee will now await their fate by the selection committee to see if their resume is good enough to afford them the opportunity to host a Super Regional should they get that far. Their RPI sat at 8th as of May 6, and with a win over LSU whose RPI sat at 9th in the SEC Tourney, they should like their chances. Florida, meanwhile, will play Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, against the 3 seed of the tourney South Carolina, with a chance at an SEC title.