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An SEC Softball Weekend Wrap-Up, Vol. 2

Two weeks into the season, where do we stand?

The 2022 softball season is in full swing! Once again there was action everywhere and the SEC was no stranger to fun times. Let’s take a look at how each of the SEC programs fared in their first round of action this week.

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Record: 5-6

After a 1-3 start to the season, Mississippi State is inching towards the .500 mark. They now sit at 5-6 on the season and unfortunately are still in last place in the SEC. Let’s try and focus on some positives though. They swept a doubleheader of Alabama State last Wednesday, outscoring the Hornets 18-4. The Bulldogs also split the four games they played against Central Arkansas and ACC member, Georgia Tech. The most unfortunate loss of the bunch was to Southern Illinois on Friday afternoon. They fell 4-1 early on and unfortunately couldn’t get the bats going enough to usurp the lead.

Top Performers: Kenley Hawk gets the nod here after three strong performances against Alabama State, Central Arkansas, and Georgia Tech. Hawk was asked to pitch 12 innings of work this week and thrived. She allowed 11 hits over those 12 innings, two earned runs, five walks, and 22 strikeouts. That included a 13-strikeout outing against the Hornets, as Hawk was absolutely on her game, pitching in three different victories for the Bulldogs this week.

LSU Tigers

Records: 6-5

LSU’s 4-2 start is long forgotten now after going 2-3 this past weekend. LSU was given the tough task of facing three ranked teams this weekend. Unfortunately for the Fighting Tigers, they finished with a 1-2 mark against Oklahoma State, Washington, and Michigan. The Tigers beat up Oklahoma State 10-2 on Friday but would then fall 9-4 to UW and 6-1 to the Wolverines. They also earned a loss to an unranked Notre Dame squad before wrapping it all up with a 2-0 win over Texas Tech. The schedule gets a bit easier this coming weekend, as far as facing ranked teams of course, but they certainly drew a tough break this weekend.

Top Performers: Ali Kilponen finished the weekend off with a sterling performance. She twirled a complete-game shutout in the circle, allowing only three hits with eight strikeouts and zero walks. Shelbi Sunseri is now also up to four home runs this season.

Tennessee Volunteers

Record: 6-3

After getting out to a 5-0 start, Tennessee sputtered to end the weekend. The Volunteers went 0-3 against ranked teams — #6 FSU, #5 Washington, #12 Clemson — but did cap off the weekend with a 6-2 win over #24 UCF. Being absent Ashley Rogers is hurting the Vols quite a bit, as they’re hoping she gets herself out of her health issues very quickly. The depth at pitching for the Vols might not be there quite yet so right now, they may be due for some struggles until she can figure it out.

Top Performers: Ashley Morgan, Ivy Davis, and Kiki Milloy continue to be mashers. The trio of Tennessee sluggers already has 10 homers combined on the year.

Arkansas Razorbacks

Records: 7-3

Arkansas remains one of the better teams in the conference and the country. Amazingly, 7-3 has them in 10th place. The Hogs went 4-1 in their weekend stint in the Razorback Invitational.

Top Performers: Jenna Laird seemingly picked up right where she left off after a fantastic 2021 season. Laird led the Tigers in B with a mark of .438 over 16 at-bats. She smacked seven hits and three went for extra bases. That included one home run she hit that propelled her SLG to a gaudy .750. Jordan Weber got it done in the circle for the Tigers also, striking out 14 batters in three appearances. She’ll have to cut down on the free passes though as she allowed eight of them. They defeated Illinois, Wichita State, Longwood, and Western Illinois. They ate the one loss to the aforementioned Illini but still played great all weekend. They scored 47 (!) runs across the weekend of play and only allowed 22.

Top Performers: Mary Haff stood out yet again, tossing 19 strikeouts over the weekend of play. She is inching closer to 700 career strikeouts, as she’s now 11 away from that mark.

Missouri Tigers
Ole Miss Rebels

Records: 8-3

Both Mizzou and Ole Miss kept their great starts going. The Rebels racked up victories over Nicholls, two against Eastern Kentucky, and then split games with Troy on Saturday and Sunday. The offense showed up, as the Rebels scored 31 runs over the weekend of play while allowing 15. It wasn’t the stiffest competition obviously, but victories are victories as they say. So the Rebels can sleep comfortably.

Mizzou, meanwhile, went 4-1 in their weekend of action. The Tigers collected victories against South Alabama, UNC, Bethune-Cookman, and FAU. Their only loss came against Maryland, as they fell to the Terrapins by the measly score of 1-0. They are teed up for a huge weekend in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. They’ll be facing three ranked Pac-12 teams including Oregon, Washington, and UCLA. They will need to bring their A+ game.

Top Performers: Savannah Diederich built off some strong showings in the first weekend of play. She had a dazzling showing against EKU on Friday. She tossed 14 strikeouts in a complete-game effort, allowed four hits with one earned run. Fifth-year senior infielder Kimberly Wert went off at the plate for Mizzou meanwhile. Wert racked up two dingers and two doubles during the weekend of action, standing out at the plate and then some.

South Carolina Gamecocks

Record: 8-2

South Carolina went a strong 5-1 since we last checked in with them. After a 3-1 start to the season, the Gamecocks made it their mission to keep their foot on the gas. They dropped one to Charlotte last Wednesday but then ripped off five consecutive victories. The Gamecocks defeated Marshall twice, Fordham Twice, and concluded their run in the Coastal Carolina Tournament with a win against... you guessed it, Coastal Carolina. A weekend slate that includes a meeting with seventh-ranked Virginia Tech lies in their future.

Top Performers: Katie Prebble raked over the weekend. The Gamecock slugger, whose average is up to .367 on the season now, clocked three home runs over the fence. Her season total is now up to five and she is now slugging 1.000 on the year. Jordan Fabian hit her first home run of the season as well and her average is still high, up at .400 at the moment.

Georgia Bulldogs

Record: 9-2

Georgia ripped off a 4-1 record over the six games they played last week. Their lone loss was to Boston U, who they ultimately came back around to beat on Saturday. They otherwise scored wins over Delaware and two against the Purdue Boilermakers. Their offense stayed on top of their game as well. The Dawgs scored 40 (!!) runs and allowed only 11 runs from their opponents to come around and score. UGA doesn’t have many ranked teams to worry about the rest of the way in the nonconference so far, so their record should be quite gaudy by the time conference play starts if they keep taking care of business like this.

Top Performances: Ellie Armistead had an outstanding week. Armistead socked three home runs and two triples, showing off her slugging prowess in a big way. Armistead currently sits second behind Sydney Chambley in SLG with a mark of .846.

Auburn Tigers
Kentucky Wildcats

Records: 9-1

Auburn fell from the ranks of the unbeatens, but still has a sweet 9-1 record to boast. The Tigers’ lone loss came to third-ranked UCLA, as they were unable to score a run against the vaunted Bruins in a 9-0 defeat. Otherwise, they had an impeccable week. They started it off with a 7-1 win over Texas Tech. Then, they followed that up with a 9-3 victory over Wisconsin. The Tigers finished up with a 5-1 win on Sunday against USF, but the biggest win came on Friday night. They knocked off ninth-ranked Texas 6-2 in one of the biggest nonconference wins of the season so far.

While Kentucky had a 4-1 start, they posted a 5-0 record this week! The Wildcats earned wins over UCSB, LMU, Long Beach State, and 11th-ranked Arizona. The Cats scored a RIDICULOUS TWENTY-THREE RUNS against UCSB in the first meeting on Friday and concluded their run with an 11-1 win over the Gauchos on Sunday. Sandwiched between there was a 5-0 win against LBSU, and two 7-6 wins: One over LMU and one over the 11th-ranked Wildcats of Arizona.

Top Performers: Shelby Lowe got knocked around a bit by UCLA, but she stood out against the Badgers. The lefthander pitched five innings with eight strikeouts, two walks, two hits allowed and only one earned run. Maddie Penta, though, continues to excel as well. Penta has a team-best 1.18 ERA after this week and had two outings where she had at least five strikeouts with no more than three hits allowed, including nine K’s in the win over ranked Texas.

Next, Erin Coffel deserves much praise. Coffel won the SEC Player of the Week award this week and for very good reason. Coffel produced nine hits, nine RBI, two walks, two doubles, and a home run. She also came away with two stolen bases! Coffel did a little bit of everything for the Wildcats and paid dividends for them in their 5-0 run.

Now, we move to the unbeatens...

Alabama Crimson Tide

Record: 9-0

Alabama is moving and grooving this year in softball. The Tide is 9-0 after the first two weeks of action and looks pretty awesome this year. They scored victories over Evansville and two over MTSU as well. But the biggest wins came on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. The Tide defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies 1-0 and 2-0 to score a major double-stack of victories against a fellow Top 10 team. The Tide offense and defense stood tall, as they scored 30 runs and allowed only three, with THREE shutouts posted. The fact is that ‘Bama has made it clear they’re one of the teams to beat this season and look outstanding in the first two weeks.

Top Performers: The great Montana Fouts won SEC Pitcher of the Week honors. It’s very easy to see why. Fouts recorded two wins and a save in the Bama Bas, including a complete-game shutout over the ranked Hokies. She logged 11 strikeouts against VaTech and 24 (!) total in the five-game event and held hitters to an average of just .130 throughout.

Florida Gators

Record: 10-0

UF kept the wins rolling as they improved to 10-0 on the season. They won two midweek games against Jacksonville by the tallies of 13-1 and 8-0. Then the weekend came around and they rolled again. #14 Duke was no match for the Gators, as the Blue Devils were Gator bait, victims of a 9-3 defeat. Florida then went on to beat Villanova 4-0, Louisville 9-1, and Florida A&M 8-0. UF has claimed two wins over ranked opponents — Duke and Michigan — and has so far been very unchallenged. The pitching staff, per usual, has been outstanding as they’ve allowed just five earned runs all season so far.

Top Performers: For the second straight week, a Florida freshman won Freshman of the Week honors. Last week it was Lexie Delbrey and this week it’s Kendra Falby. The freshman outfielder recorded 11 hits and hit .550 (!) this week. She blasted two triples off and a double and showed off her speed as well. Falby never faltered on any steal attempt she made, going a perfect 6-for-6 on attempts. it’s the second-longest streak for ANY Gator in program history for stolen bases.

Texas A&M Aggies

Record: 11-0

Texas A&M is at the TIPPY-TOP of the SEC. Their 11-0 mark has been one of the most impressive things so far this softball season. They started right with a 13-6 win over Sam Houston on Wednesday. Then senior pitcher Makinzy Herzog decided to make history. Herzog tossed the second no-hitter of her career with nine strikeouts to go along with it. Herzog no-hit the Kansas Jayhawks, but the Jayhawks were able to scrape a run across in a rare feat in that instance.

The Aggies followed that historic showing up with wins over Missouri State, Stephen F. Austin, Pitt, and then Kansas again. The Aggie offense bludgeoned opponents in their five victories, scoring FIFTY-FIVE runs (13 vs. Sam Houston, 21 combined vs. Kansas, 4 vs. Missouri State, 7 vs. Stephen F. Austin, and 10 against Pitt). Through it all, after allowing six runs vs. Sam Houston, they then allowed seven runs throughout the rest of the weekend.

Top Performers: Makinzy Herzog deserves heaps of praise for tossing her second-career no-hitter. Mayce Allen hit two home runs over the week too. Haley Lee kept her hot hitting up, as while she fell from her .818 average the first weekend, she’s still clocking in with a slash of .655/.762/.966 through 11 games played.

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SEC Softball in D1Softball.com’s Rankings

2. Alabama
3. Florida
8. Arkansas
14. Mizzou
15. Kentucky
19. Georgia
20. Tennessee
21. Auburn
25. LSU

And that wraps up this second update post! Softball is in full swing and so are we and we’re happy to keep bringing you coverage. Stay with us all the way here until the WCWS later this summer!