Top Performances From College Softball March 23
An all-time record, a massive comeback and a milestone win, all packed into one wild afternoon. The junior right fielder had the first three-homer game in North Texas history, fueling a furious rally as UNT shocked Louisiana Tech 10-9 in the first game of a doubleheader in Ruston, La. In danger of being run-ruled with a 8-0 deficit after three innings, Rebar hit a solo homer in the fourth to light the spark, then a three-run homer during a five-run sixth as the Mean Green fought back to tie it at 8-8. After Tech retook the lead in the bottom of the sixth, Rebar hit her record-breaking third homer in the top of the seventh, a game-winning two-run blast. The dramatic victory also marked UNT's first-ever win over the Lady Techsters in Ruston.
The sophomore silenced one of the nation's best offenses, striking out a career-high 15 as No. 18 Arkansas blanked No. 5 Tennessee 1-0 in Knoxville. She scattered six hits, walked none and was backed by a fourth-inning solo homer from senior right fielder Katie Warrick as the Hogs evened up the series 1-1. In just under two seasons in Fayetteville, Haff has already accumulated 17 career complete-game shutouts, leaving her just three short of second in career shutouts in a Razorback uniform with more than half her career remaining.
The Salukis had their highest run total in almost 26 years, pounding Valparaiso 20-1 in game one of a doubleheader sweep in Carbondale, Ill. Junior first baseman Kyleigh Decker went 5-for-6 on the day and scored six times, including 3-for-3 with a homer, three RBIs and four runs scored in the opener. Sophomore utility player Megan Brown had four hits, capped by her first career walk-off homer to clinch a 5-4, eight-inning win in the nightcap. Senior Brianna Jones earned both wins in the circle with a complete game in the opener and then two key innings of no-hit relief to set the stage for Brown's dramatics.
The senior shortstop took just two innings to pound her way into the Boise State record book, driving in a program-record eight runs as the Broncos dominated San Diego State to win the rubber game 16-1 in Boise. Cervantes opened the scoring with a three-run shot, then hit a two-run triple later in the same inning as BSU batted around for 11 runs in the bottom of the first. She then finished a five-run second with a three-run homer, breaking past the previous record of six RBIs, held by five different players. The 16 runs in a conference game also tied a school record.
The senior third baseman became North Florida's all-time hits leader as the Ospreys opened A-Sun play by sweeping North Alabama 3-1 and 10-7 in Florence, Al. She went 5-for-7 on the day with a home run, a stolen base and three runs scored. Her leadoff single to start a six-run outburst in the second inning of game two tied Kelly Lee (1998-2001) for the top spot on the UNF leaderboard, then a two-out single in the fourth gave her sole possession of the title. She would add a solo homer in the sixth to help hold off a UNA rally as the Ospreys clinched the series.
The Hokies rolled out 27 runs in a doubleheader sweep as they routed Pitt 18-0 in five innings and 9-1 in Pittsburgh. Freshman third baseman Kelsey Bennett homered twice and drew three walks. Sophomore catcher Mackenzie Lawter drove in six runs, including a career-high five in the first game. The Hokies set records both on the day and for the season: the 18-run margin in the opener marked the largest win in a conference game in school history, and the five homers in game one tied a school record. At 26-4, No. 23 Virginia Tech is off to the best record through 30 games in school history; Tech started 25-5 in 2005.
The freshman utility player had her first career multi-homer game as No. 2 Oklahoma clinched the series with a 8-3 win over No. 13 Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas. All three of her hits went for extra bases, as she doubled and scored the first run of the game in the second. The first of her two homers chased TTU ace Erin Edmoundson after just 2-plus innings, then she added a solo shot to lead off the seventh. Green and senior third baseman Sydney Romero (2-for-2, home run, double, two walks) provided the offense to back a terrific relief outing by junior Shannon Saile, who threw 5.1 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits, no walks and nine strikeouts to earn the win.
The No. 14 Gophers matched their best-ever offensive output in a Big Ten game, scoring in every inning on their way to a 19-5, five-inning win over Maryland in College Park. Junior second baseman MaKenna Partain went 2-for-2 and walked three times as she broke the Minnesota record and tied the Big Ten record by scoring five runs. Freshman utility player Natalie DenHartog opened the floodgates in the first with a grand slam, finishing with a career-high six RBIs.
A day after Wisconsin scored 15 runs against the Illini, the most either team had ever scored against one another, the senior turned the tables and led Illinois to a 2-0 shutout of the No. 20 Badgers to tie up the series in Champaign. Edwards allowed four hits, walked one and struck out two in 6.1 innings, as freshman Sydney Sickels came in for the final two outs to record her third save.