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    SEC Softball Today: Wednesday, February 19

    Mississippi State 6, Central Arkansas 0
    South Carolina 12, Charlotte 0
    Arkansas 9, Northwestern State 1
    Florida 6, Jacksonville 0


    Bulldogs Tops Central Arkansas 6-0
    STARKVILLE, Miss. – A career-high four runs batted in from senior Sam Lenahan combined with another strong performance in the circle by sophomore Jacey Punches lifted Mississippi State to a 6-0 victory over Central Arkansas on Wednesday afternoon. Lenahan tallied an RBI single and three-run home run to lead the offense while Punches allowed just one single in helping MSU improve to 11-0.
    The 11-0 start is tied for the second best in program history, behind only the 2006 team’s 16-0 mark. The 2006 group also began the year at 11-0.
    Punches (4-0) earned her fourth win of the campaign and surrendered only one single and two walks in five innings pitched. She retired 10 of the final 11 batters she faced, including the last six. Senior Shana Sherrod threw the sixth, sending the Bears down in order. She faced the first two batters of the seventh before freshman Mackenzie Toler entered and recorded the final three outs. Kayla Gomness (0-3) tossed the first four-and-two-thirds innings for Central Arkansas, yielding six runs on eight hits. She issued two free passes and fanned a pair. Kylee Studioso threw the final inning-and-a-third and allowed one hit  and struck out one.
    After sending down the Bears in order in the first, the Bulldogs took a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the frame. Senior Jessica Offutt led off with a single, stole second base and came home on classmate Logan Foulks’ one-out single to left center. A strikeout and Foulks caught stealing allowed Gomness to escape without further damage.
    Punches worked out of trouble in the top of the second as Central Arkansas (3-8) loaded the bases with two outs, but could not score. Taylor Dear hit a one-out single and, after a lineout, Ashley Boswell drew a walk. Amy Gunnells reached on an error to fill the bases, but a groundout to first baseman Lenahan ended the threat.
    In the bottom of the third the Bulldogs added to their lead with two more runs for a 3-0 advantage. Sophomore Loryn Nichols led off with a four-pitch walk, stole second base, moved to third on a groundout and scored on a single up the middle by senior Heidi Shape. She moved to second on a wild pitch and, after a pop out, advanced to third on a passed ball before a Lenahan single to center plated Shape. A groundout to third closed the frame.
    Central Arkansas had another scoring chance in the fourth, but a good defensive play from Punches kept the Bears off the scoreboard. Jessie Taylor led off with a walk and was replaced by pinch runner Tylor Dodson. A sacrifice bunt advanced Dodson to second and after a fly out, Boswell hit it on the screws, but Punches reached out, knocked down the ball, picked it up and threw to first for the inning-ending out.
    The Bulldogs tacked on their last runs in the bottom of the fifth for a 6-0 final. Nichols again was the spark, leading off with an infield single and stealing second base. After a pop out, a Shape fly out moved Nichols to third with two outs. Foulks drew a walk and stole second base to extend the inning before Lenahan went deep to right center. Freshman Caroline Seitz followed with a double to left center and Toler singled, but a caught stealing ended the threat.
    In the top of the seventh, the Bears again loaded the bases but could not convert. Dear led off with a walk and Briana Whisenhunt followed with a single. Toler entered for Sherrod and walked Boswell to load the bases with no outs. A double play off the bat of Gunnells proved to be the key play as the Bulldogs got the force at home and third before a lineout to Lenahan at first ended the game and preserved the shutout.
    MSU returns to action this weekend, hosting Iowa (3-6) for a three-game series. The Friday and Saturday contests start at 3 p.m. while the Sunday clash is set for a 10 a.m. first pitch.

    Gamecocks Defeat Charlotte 12-0
    CHARLOTTE, N.C. – South Carolina (7-2) posted 11 runs in the seventh to run away from Charlotte (1-2) with a 12-0 win on Wednesday afternoon at D.L. Phillips Complex.
    Junior Sarah Mooney gave South Carolina the 1-0 lead in the sixth with a leadoff homer, her third of the season. That led to freshman Nickie Blue (6-1) getting the win in relief, as she pitched three scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out four. Redshirt junior Julie Sarratt started and scattered four hits and a walk in her four innings, fanning three. 
    The Gamecocks sent 14 batters to the plate in the final frame, scoring 11 times. Sophomore Ansley Ard, who led off the frame with a bunt single, hit a grand slam against Charlotte relief pitcher Mackenzie Hauser to land the biggest blow of the inning. Freshman Kaylea Snaer and sophomore Alaynie Page both doubled home two runs in the inning as the 10th and 14th batter, respectively. Junior Olivia Lawrence got an RBI while reaching on an error, freshman Kate Shereyk scored on a wild pitch, and sophomore Jordan Bizzell got an RBI on a hit by pitch. Charlotte had three errors to extend the inning.
    The fourth inning saw Charlotte threaten to score, getting runners at the corners with one out. Hayley Lewis had an infield single, but when the ball got behind the third-base bag, Chelsea Ingersoll tried to score. Senior shortstop Codee Yeske, backing up the play, quickly got the ball and threw home in time to get Ingersoll. The final out of the inning came on a low popup behind the plate that Mooney raced out of her spot behind the plate to snag.
    Charlotte’s Lexi Betancourt (1-1) took the loss, allowing nine runs, three earned, on eight hits and four walks in 6.1 innings. She struck out six. Samantha Slade went 2-for-2, while Paige Wall doubled in the seventh for the only 49er extra-base hit.
    Snaer went 3-for-5 with the double and two RBI, while Mooney went 3-for-4 with the homer. Senior Ashlyn Masters went 2-for-4, while Ard posted a 2-for-3 game with two runs scored and four RBI.
    South Carolina hosts the Gamecock Invitational this weekend at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field, facing Gardner-Webb and Boston University in the final two games at 3 and 5:30 p.m. on Friday. On Saturday at 3 p.m., the Gamecocks face Michigan State, and Sunday’s tourney closer pits South Carolina against UNC Wilmington at 5:30 p.m. Live video will be available for all Gamecock games, while Gametracker is set for every game in the 12-contest event.

    Hogs' Fast Start Leads to Sixth-Consecutive Win
    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas softball team extended its winning streak to six games Wednesday with a 9-1 win over Northwestern State at Bogle Park. Jayme Gee and Chloe Oprzedek paced the offense with two RBI each while Grace Moll pitched her third complete game of the season. With Wednesday’s result, the Razorbacks improve to 8-3 on the season.
    The Razorbacks batted around in the bottom of the first and plated six runs on six hits including a lead-off triple by Devon Wallace and a pair of doubles from Kasey Fagan and Clarisa Navarro. With four runs already in and runners on second and third, Oprzedek capped the scoring with a two-run single into center field. Wednesday’s first inning marked the fifth time this season the Razorbacks scored five or more runs in one frame.
    Moll pushed her record to 4-1 with her outing against Northwestern State (4-5) and struck out five hitters while giving up just three hits and one earned run. After allowing a run in the second, she faced the minimum over the final three innings, working around a walk in the fourth thanks to Gee throwing out a runner at second base. Over her last four starts, Moll has lowered her ERA more than five points to its current 1.88 figure.
    Arkansas stretched its lead to 8-1 in the fourth with an RBI double by Fagan and a sacrifice fly by Gee. In the bottom of the fifth, pinch hitter Sierra Bronkey delivered the game-ending hit to score pinch runner Ashley Martindale who stole second after coming in to run the bases for Jessica “Reggie” Harrison who drew a walk to begin the scoring sequence.

    No. 1 Gators Run Season-Opening Win Streak to 12, Defeat Jacksonville 6-0 in Home Opener
    GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The No. 1 Gator Softball team won its home opener Wednesday, defeating Jacksonville University 6-0 on Wednesday night at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium.  
    Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) pitched a four-hit shutout with no walks and seven strikeouts, improving to 4-0 on the year. The junior also contributed offensively, blasting a two-run home run for her team-leading fifth homer of the year in the fifth inning.
    Left fielder Taylore Fuller (Trenton, Fla.) opened the scoring with a leadoff homer in the third, her third home run of the season. First baseman  Taylor Schwarz (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) singled to start the next inning, then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on an errant JU throw to put the Gators ahead 2-0.
    Freshman Justine McLean (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) hit a two-out single in the fifth, setting up Haeger’s home run that gave Florida a 4-0 lead. The Orange and Blue then loaded the bases in the sixth on a walk and two singles. Fuller notched her second RBI with a single that plated center fielder Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.). A sacrifice fly from second baseman Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) brought in catcher Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) for UF’s sixth run to produce the final margin and extend the Gators’ winning streak to a dozen games to begin the season.