The #12 ranked Jaguar softball team earned their second sweep of a Sun Belt opponent over the weekend when they hosted Louisiana-Monroe.
The weekend began with a double-header on Saturday with a 2-0 win despite being helt hitless for the first time in 119 games, which dates back to March 24, 2012 when Florida Atlantic no-hit the Jaguars yet USA still picked up a 3-1 win as well.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Kaitlyn Griffith got on base when she was hit by a pitch. She then stole second and third bases to get into scoring position. Then Chloe Rathburn lifted a sacrifice fly which allowed Griffith to score and take a 1-0 lead over the Warhawks.
In the next inning, Emily Messer drew a walk, then stole second base to get into scoring position. Then Stephanie Pilkington grounded out but allowed Messer to round third base and baited a throw to third base from the Warhawk third baseman. She dashed home on the putout attempt and scored to give the Jaguars their 2-0 margin of victory.
Hannah Campbell tossed her fourth shutout of the season and shrunk her ERA to 0.65 and improved her season record to 10-2.
In game two, USA put up 11 hits and scored runs in four of the six innings they batted in. They started out quickly with a run in the bottom of the first when Pilkington led off with a single to center field. Then she scored on the first of two doubles in the game by Griffith.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Jags opened a big lead that started with Blair Johnson and Amanda Minahan scoring on Griffith’s second double of the game to take a 3-0 led. Rathburn then reached on a fielder’s choice which allowed Griffith to score. Chloe would score when Taylor Rodgers was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make it 5-0.
In the bottom of the sixth, Griffith drove in another run to make it 6-0 Jags.
The Jags ended their scoring for the day with a lead off solo homer to center field straight into a 20-mile per hour wind to put the Jags up 7-0.
The Warhawks ended their shutout after Farish Beard was relieved by McKinnon, who began by striking out her first batter, but allowed back-to-back singles, with the second allowing the runner to score. She then forced a groundout and a pop out to end the game.
Beard improved her record to 16-1 on the season and lowered her nation-leading ERA to 0.43.
The Jaguars ended the series on Sunday with a 7-0 shutout thanks to a trio of Jaguar pitchers. Offensively the Jags churned out 11 hits in the game to extend their winning streak to 13 games.
The Jags got started early again with three runs in the bottom of the first inning get off on the right foot. Stephanie Pilkington lead off the game with a walk, then Blair Johnson hit an RBI single through the right side to drive her in. Rathburn later hit a one-out, two run single to drive in Minahan and Johnson for the 3-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the second, back-to-back singles prompted the Warhawks to yank out their starter Samantha Hamby, who no-hit the Jaguars in the first game on Saturday. Jessica Colliver would pitch the Warhawks out of the inning without any further damage.
In the bottom of the third, she would walk Rathburn which would lead to the Jaguars fourth run of the game when Gwen Jones came in to pinch run for her. She would steal second then score on Alex Breeden’s RBI single to center field.
In the bottom of the fourth, Pilkington would lead off the inning with a single, then Minahan followed with a double. Johnson would drive in Pilkington with her second RBI single of the day. Colliver would be relieved by Haylie Wilson which Rathburn would lift a sacrifice fly to right field off of to allow Minahan to score. Johnson would score when Amanda Herron’s singled up the middle to put the Jags up by their winning margin 7-0.
Campbell would pitch five innings with six strikeouts and five hits allowed. Kaleigh Floore would walk three to load the bases before she was relieved by Farish Beard in one out remaining in the game. Beard of strike the last batter out to finish the game.
Pilkington led the Jags at the plate by going 5-for-8 with four runs cored and one RBI.
With the sweep, the Jags improve to 29-3 overall and a perfect 7-0 in conference play.
The Jags will travel to Tuscaloosa to face the #5/7 ranked Crimson Tide on Wednesday. First pitch is set for 6pm.
The Jaguar baseball team had their friday evening game postponed until Saturday due to field conditions with the rain.
UT-Arlington came out hot on Saturday with two runs in the top of the first inning. They would score two more runs before the Jaguars got on the board in the bottom of the third inning on Cole Gleason’s two-out RBI single to make it 4-1, Mavericks.
The Jags would fall 8-3 in the first game.
UTA would strike first in the second game by taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. But the Jags would take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth before the Mavericks answered with the equalizing run in the top of the fifth.
Multiple run innings in the seventh and eighth inning would let the Mavericks clinch the series with a 6-2 win.
The Jags didn’t fare any better on Sunday when the Mavericks earned the series sweep with a 6-1 win.
The Jags fall to 13-13 on the season and 3-5 in conference play. The Mavericks improve to 12-16 overall and 4-5 in SBC play.
Due to weather, South Alabama has announced their game this evening against UT-Arlington has been postponed. They will play a double-header on Saturday with the first game starting at 3pm at Eddie Stanky Field.
The Jaguars will host a three game series against Sun Belt newcomers UT-Arlington this weekend beginning tonight at 6:30pm if the weather permits. Game two on Saturday is set for 3pm and will be televised by the Sun Belt Network and also will be available on WatchESPN.com. The final game of the series will get underway at noon on Sunday.
All three games will be streamed from the University website as well as broadcast on 105.5 FM WNSP and WNSP.com.
The Lady Jaguars will also be hosting a three game weekend series against Louisiana-Monroe starting with a double-header on Saturday starting at 1pm with the second game set to start at 3pm. They will wrap up the weekend series on Sunday with a 1pm start.
The Jaguars will have their annual Red-Blue Spring Game on Saturday at 11am at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Though this will not be their final spring practice. Gates will open to the parking lot around 8am.
Track and Field
On Thursday, the men’s track and field team set three new school records at the 87th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.
Senior Connor Smith earned individual honors in the Section ‘B’ men’s pole vault with a 5.20m vault which was good enough to break his own all-time Jaguar best by 1/10 of a meter and to lead the field of 16.
Garrett Schumacher toppled his own record in the decathlon by finishing with 6,991 points to claim 11th overall. He entered Thursday with 3,644 points through five events. He then set new personal records in the pole vault (4.80m), discus throw (40.51m) and 100-meter hurdles (15.94m).
Freshman Renaldo Frechou set a new record in the hammer throw for the third time this season. His throw of 63.27m on his sixth and final attempt put him 5th in the 25 man field.
Bobbie Williamson also put up a career-high measure of 59.53m in the women’s hammer throw which was good enough for second place all-time in the Jaguar history books.
They will continue today in Texas with Jan-Louw Kotze in discus and Tyler Agee in the 110-meter hurdles.
The team practiced in full pads for around two hours with sessions focusing on multiple situations. They also worked on kickoff coverage and returns. Some of the situational drills included first, second and third down situations, red zone drills and two-minute drills.
Prior to the situational drills the team worked on inside run drills and 7-on-7 skeleton passing drills. The defense continued to install coverage and blitz packages. All phases of the game saw time devoted toward individual skills and position workouts.
The teams for the spring game will be determined later this week.
The Spring Game is open to the public with free parking at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. They will get started at 11am. Afterwards on campus the #12 ranked Jaguars softball team will host ULM for a double-header starting at 1pm and the baseball team will host UT-Arlington at 3pm.
The #12 ranked South Alabama softball team extended their latest winning streak to 10 games after defeating their in-state conference rival Troy 9-1 on Wednesday evening.
The Jags (26-3, 4-0 SBC) were held hitless through the first three innings before their bats came to life and starting pushing the runs across the plate. In the next four innings the Jags would score nine runs on nine hits.
Farish Beard moved to 15-1 on the season as she struck out nine Trojans and allowed four hits and one earned run.
Freshman Chloe Rathburn and Amanda Minahan both led the Jaguars in the game. Rathburn went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Minahan had three RBI on a three-run homer in the fifth inning and scored a pair of runs herself.
Stephanie Pilkington was 1-for-3 with two runs scored whiel Blair Johnson, Alyssa Linn, Gwen Jones and Taylor Rodgers all also scored runs. Alex Breeden and Amanda Herron both had an RBI each.
Troy’s lone score came after Kacie McAllister hit the first triple against the Jaguars all season. She would score on a sacrifice hit by Erica Davis.
South Alabama will host Louisiana-Monroe this weekend for a three game series. They will get started on Saturday with a double-header beginning at 1pm and the second game at 3pm. Then the series finale at 1pm on Sunday.
Nicholls State jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Justin Holt hit a two-out, three-run double down the left field line after the bases were loaded on consecutive walks and a one-out single.
The Jags responded with three runs in the bottom of the second inning when Cole Jarman and Cameron Cummings got on base with back-to-back one-out walks. Andrew Tindell then reached on a fielding error by the second baseman which allowed Jarman to score from second base to cut the lead to 3-1. Drew LaBounty then hit an RBI single to right-center shave another run off the lead. Knapp then tied the game two batters later with a two-out RBI single to right center which scored Tindell from second base.
In the top of the third, the Colonels regained the lead by one run after Keith Cormier would get on base with a one-out walk. He could then be diven home by an RBI single to right field. Though they threatened by loading the bases on starter Matt Bell, but Hunter Soleymani entered in relief and pitched out of the jam without allowing another run.
In the bottom of the fourth, LaBounty would hit a two-out single to center field, then advance to third on a single to right field by Ballew and eventually tie the game on a throwing error by the catcher on a stolen base by Ballew to knot the game at 4-all.
In the bottom of the ninth, Cummings and Tindell both reached base on back-to-back walks to lead off the inning. Both advanced a base on a sacrifice bunt by LaBounty then Knapp would take a 1-0 and hit it through the left side of the infield to drive in Cummings for the winning run.
The Colonels fall to 13-13 on the season as the Jaguars improve to 13-10 on the season.
Jaguar right-hander Ben Taylor earned the win on two scoreless innings of relief while striking out three and walking one. Knapp went 2-for-5 in the game with two RBI to lead the Jags.
USA will host UT-Arlington for a three-game SBC series this weekend starting at 6:30pm on Friday.
The 25-3 Jaguars moved up to #12, their highest ranking ever in the program’s history, in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 but remained at #13 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 poll. They are the second highest ranked team from the state of Alabama, behind the University of Alabama who are ranked 7th in the USA Today poll and 5th in the ESPN.com poll.
Auburn is the only other school in the state ranked in the top 25 with a 22nd place in the USA Today and a 21st position in the ESPN.com poll. Also, the only other member from the Sun Belt Conference in the top 25 is Louisiana-Lafayette who is 20th in the USA Today poll and 22nd in the ESPN.com poll.
But they have an even higher ranking in the NCAA Softball RPI rankings. The Jags are currently ranked 7th in the nation among NCAA Division I teams. They hold wins over a number of teams currently or previously ranked in the top 25 this season, including a 3-2 win over then ranked 13th (USA Today/NFCA poll) that currently holds the #1 ranking in the RPI.
The Jags are the highest ranked Sun Belt team with ULL coming in at 20th, WKU 67th, Troy 84th, Texas State 96th, Georgia State 97th, UT-Arlinging 108th, ULM 157th.
The University of Alabama holds the #2 spot in the RPI to be the highest ranked team in the state, USA is next and followed by Auburn 21st, UAB 32nd, Troy 84th, Jacksonville State 106th, Samford 113th, Alabama State 283rd and Alabama A&M 284th.
USA will travel to face Alabama in Tuscaloosa on April 2nd at 6pm. But before then they have a game this evening at Troy followed by a weekend series at home against ULM.
Saturday morning the Jaguar football team held their first scrimmage of spring practice. Highlighting the scrimmage was Brandon Bridge with three touchdown passes and Xavier Johnson rushing for three more as well.
Bridge was 7-of-15 for 135 yards and also added 37 yards on the ground, including a four-yard touchdown run on his final carry of the scrimmage to total 172 yards of total offense.
Bridge found Shavarez Smith for a 40-yard touchdown about midway through the scrimmage. His final two completions of the scrimmage both went for touchdowns with a 23 yard pass to Braedon Bowman and a 22 yard pass to Smith again.
Johnson rushed 11 times for 44 yards to share the team lead for the Jaguars. He scored from distances of 2, 15 and 1 yard out. Berren Tyson also rushed for 44 yards on nine carries including a three yard touchdown on the final snap of the scrimmage. Terrance Timmons rushed for 38 yards on seven carries, Martavious Stewart added 37, Trey Fetner added 33 and Grant Powell added 28 on the day. Kendall Houston scored the first touchdown of the scrimmage on a two-yard run.
Fetner went 6-of-9 passing for 123 yards while Powell completed 5-of-8 passes for 52 yards.
Smith led the receivers with 62 yards receiving. Johnson added a catch for 40 yards and Jereme Jones caught a pass for 22 yards. Caleb Hayman also had a catch for 41 yards as well.
The Jaguar offense averaged nearly six yards per play and gained a total of 624 yards on the day.
The Jaguar defense held strong early and did not allow any points in the first seven drives until Aleem Sunanon hit a 35-yard field goal to end the shutout. The first-team defense was led by the trio of Terrell Brigham, Antonio Carter and Desmond LaVelle who each had five tackles. Carter intercepted a deflected pass which ended the offense’s opening possession. Theo Rich had two of the six sacks on the day.
On the second team defense, Raheem Robinson led with seven tackles while Nigel Green and Josh Carroll both had interceptions.
Zac Henry hit a 40-yard field goal during the scrimmage.
“Brandon made some big plays and he ran the ball well, he didn’t make many mistakes,” head coach Joey Jones said after the scrimmage. “I think he can make some better choices where he is throwing the ball at times, but overall I thought he had a good day.”
“Our defensive front is playing extremely well, especially our ones,” Jones continued. “When our twos get in you can definitely see a difference, so we have to develop some depth there. But our ones on defense look pretty good, they are flying to the football and having a good time.”
“I thought it was good, our guys have improved,” Jones stated. “We’ve gotten better over the last two weeks and eight practices, but if we don’t improve over the next two weeks we’re going to waste time. We’ve got to get better while we have pads on because in football the only time you can really improve is by being out there in full gear tackling.”
“If we can continue to get better it will be a good spring, but we have to finish strong.”
After a day off the Jaguars returned to the practice field on Monday with a practice lasting over two hours to begin the third week of spring drills.
The Jags used 45-minutes to work on fundamentals with the rest of practice devoted to mostly offense versus defense work. A 15-minute session of 7-on-7 skeleton passing drills occured before the final 40 minutes of practice beign devoted to team drills.
The first period of team drills worked on defensive blitzes and the second period focused on red zone drills. The final 32 plays of the practice were situational drills where the offense started at their own 20 yard line. Earlier in the practice, the offense practiced a situational drill facing 2nd-and-long, needing seven yards for the first.
As is a bit of the norm for the team, they open practice with some special teams work and end it with some special teams work. Likewise, they began with punting and ended with punt return.
“There was great energy today, sometimes you have a little lull when you come back from a scrimmage after that second week of practice of the spring but I thought it was great,” Jones said after the practice. “They brought it today and I am real proud of them. Offensively I thought Brandon had a great day throwing the ball, our receivers caught the ball well and ran real sharp routes. One thing we are struggling with a little bit is our snaps, they are all over the place at times, we have to fix that.”
“We could see we have a few guys who are starting to step up in a role where they can play,” Jones said concerning the film study after the first scrimmage. “Offensively we improved from week one, Clay Machen had a real good day and the line blocked well overall. Our ones played really, really well on defense, but we have to find some more depth.”
The team will have Tuesday off before returning to the practice fields on Wednesday. The annual spring game is slated for Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium beginning at 11am.
The USA Softball team swept their first conference series of the season against UT-Arlington over the weekend.
The first two games were both shortened by the mercy rule with 9-0 and 8-0 wins.
Farish Beard and Hannah Campbell both tossed shutouts and combined to only allow three hits. Actually the Jags outhit the Mavricks 19-3 on Saturday.
Kaitlyn Griffith and Amanda Minahan led the Jags at the plate with four hits each. Amanda Herron, Blair Johnson and Stephanie Pilkington all had three RBI each.
In the first game Beard shrunk her nation-leading ERA to just 0.35 after allowing only one hit and no runs against the Mavricks. She struck out 11 batters for her seventh shutout of the season.
Campbell was seventh in the country in ERA and also saw hers shrink further to 0.72 as she allowed two hits with four strikeouts and no walks in her shutout.
On Sunday, the Jags needed an extra inning to finally put away the Mavricks to earn their weekend sweep with a 2-1 win. The Jags outhit the Mavricks 7-3 but committed four errors.
Blair Johnson led the Jags at the plate by going 3-for-4 and scoring the game-winning run when Amanda Herron hit a two-out double in the bottom of the eighth inning. Herron ended the weekend with a team-high four RBI.
Gwen Jones scored the game-tying run in the bottom of the seventh inning when UTA’s shortstop’s routine throw to first sailed into the visitor’s dugout.
Beard struck out seven in six innings and allowed one run before Hannah Campbell came in for relief. Campbell tossed a shutout to move to 9-2 on the season after striking out one and no walks to earn the win.
The Jags will play at Troy on Tuesday before returning home to host Louisiana-Monroe for a three game weekend series on Saturday and Sunday.
The #13 ranked Jaguars will host UT-Arlington for a three game weekend series on Saturday and Sunday at Jaguar Field.
The Jags (22-3) are on a six game winning streak after going 3-0 last week with Hannah Campbell’s second career perfect game, a 9-0 run-rule win over New Mexico State and a 5-1 win over Oklahoma State in Stillwater.
USA pitchers currently leads the nation with an overall ERA of 0.95 with Farish Beard leading the NCAA with a 0.38 ERA and Campbell with a 0.76 ERA as well.
The Jaguars are undefeated at home so far this season, going 6-0. Last season they were 8-3 at home in conference play and 17-3 overall. They clinched the second overall seed in the conference tournament and won the 2013 SBC Championship to win the conference tournament title for the second consecutive year.
This will be the Jags first time to face UT-Arlington who are 14-15 on the season and batting .283 and are 1-3 on the road. This is also the Mavricks first season playing in the Sun Belt Conference.
They will face off at 1pm and again at 3pm on Saturday before wrapping up the series at noon on Sunday.
The 10-9 Jags will be in Little Rock, Arkansas to face UALR in a three game weekend series. The Jaguars are 10-9 on the season and 1-1 in conference play and are coming off of a 9-0 loss to #6 LSU on Wednesday.
UALR is also 10-9 on the season and 0-3 in conference play as they were swept by Arkansas State last weekend in Jonesboro, Arkansas. They have lost six of their last eight games but defeated #30 Oklahoma 11-2 on Wednesday in Norman, Oklahoma.
USA’s Kevin Hill will make his fourth start of the season tonight at 6pm. UALR lefty Travis McDonald (2-1) will bring his 1.95 ERA to the game against the Jaguars who are batting .235 as a team.
Locke St. John (2-0) will make his sixth start of the season at 4pm on Saturday and no starter has been named for Sunday’s 1pm game.
Track and Field
After two straight contests at home, the Jaguar men and women are in Tuscaloosa for the Alabama Relays, which started on Thursday. Events start today at 2pm with women’s javelin throw and running events begin at 5pm. Saturday at noon will open with the women’s discus throw.
The Jags won the Battle of I-65 last weekend over Samford and Alabama State and look to continue that momentum this weekend against even stronger competition. Live results can be found here.