The Walk-Off: Tennessee, OU take series openers in pivotal conference matchups

Courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

Top 25 Matchups

No. 1 Oklahoma 5, No. 6 Texas 2

Kelly Maxwell looked phenomenal for six innings, allowing one hit against the Texas lineup. While Joley Mitchell and Reese Atwood spoiled her shutout, it’s still another key moment for the Sooners and their quest for a four-peat. Maxwell continues to pitch at the level she did a few years ago. Meanwhile, Jayda Coleman kept her hot bat with an RBI single to open the scoring and a three-run homer.

No. 5 Tennessee 5, No. 3 Georgia 1

Outside of Emily Digby’s solo home run, the Bulldogs didn’t have many good at-bats against Karlyn Pickens. The heart of the order for Georgia had a few swings that weren’t even close on Pickens’ off-speed and overall it was another tough day at the plate. Pickens has truly emerged as a star and has Tennessee in a position to repeat as SEC champions. The Lady Vols were without Kiki Milloy, who is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, but it was nice to see McKenna Gibson and Zaida Puni step up in her absence. Gibson smashed a two-run homer off Lilli Backes and Punni, who is still getting back to full form from her own injury, doubled in a pair of runs.

No. 17 Arkansas 5, No. 11 Missouri 2

Arkansas appears to be turning a corner in the past week. The offense appears to be meshing with DJ Gasso’s philosophies. Bri Ellis has been Bri Ellis, hitting another home run early on. Hannah Gammill had a key hit that wasn’t a homer but Rylin Hedgecock provided the power instead. Morgan Leinstock was brilliant for six innings as Missouri couldn’t pick up her changeup at all.

No. 15 Mississippi State 6, No. 25 South Carolina 0

Madisyn Kennedy hit another home run to set the tone. South Carolina intentionally walked her twice to load the bases in her next two at-bats. The Gamecocks got out of one jam but Paige Cook and Jessie Blaine made them pay with RBIs. Lexi Sosa also had a key two-RBI single with the bases loaded. Josey Marron gave Mississippi State the start it needed after a rough pitching stretch.

Softball Around America

The Wacky Day in the ACC

NC State 5, No. 13 Virginia Tech 4

The two teams home runs to end up tied at three. Hannah Goodwin dropped a double perfectly inside the right field line for a go-ahead two-run RBI. Rylee Wyman gutted out the complete game for the win. Lindsay Leftwich’s team has made strides throughout the season. Virginia Tech has hit its first major rut of the season.

Louisville 5, No. 22 Florida State 4

The Cardinals have been a scrappy time all season and that didn’t change on Friday. Despite giving up the tying runs in the sixth on an error, Louisville rallied in the seventh inning. Bailee Richardson delivered the walk-off single up the middle to secure the series opener.

No. 2 Duke 6, North Carolina 4

The Blue Devils had to earn this win. Duke scored three in the third, then the Tar Heels battled back. They manufactured a pair to cut the lead in half before a pair of home runs from Francesca Frelick and Claire Davidson put the game away for Duke despite a seventh-inning homer from Isabela Emerling.

No. 14 Texas A&M 5, Kentucky 4

The Aggies fell behind early and it was gut-check time. Texas A&M had coughed up three leads to LSU the prior weekend and all the early progress made in the SEC standings could easily dissipate with another poor series. Jazmine Hill kickstarted a three-run third inning and the Aggies scored the tying run in the fourth. Hill walked it off with a double against Stephanie Schoonover in the seventh.

Players of the Day

Hailey Cripe, Kansas

The Jayhawks needed someone to step up to snap a four-game losing streak. Cripe did that with her six-RBI day against Iowa State. Her grand slam put Kansas on top for good.

Maddie Gordon, Penn State

The Nittany Lions couldn’t find the clutch base hit to get against Nebraska. It appeared that the Huskers were going to spoil a good Bridget Nemeth start. Instead, Gordon hit a two-run homer in the sixth to back up her pitcher and give her the lead she needed in the 2-1 win.

Katie Gardner, Western Kentucky

Gardner nearly had to be perfect with the way Kaylan Yoder was throwing. The WKU righty held the Flames to one hit in the 1-0 series-opening win.

Makaiya Gomez, GCU

The center fielder had six hits and four RBIs in the Lopes’ doubleheader sweep over UT-Arlington.

Plays of the Day

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