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April 9, 2012

Tennessee posted pair of golf wins and a softball sweep to highlight the Big Orange athletics weekend.

The Vols and Lady Vols both won golf tournaments, with the men capturing a one-day event in Connecticut and the women claiming a three-day tourney against a stacked field in North Carolina. It was the first team win for the Vols since 2009, while the Lady Vols won for the second time this spring. Junior Rick Lamb took medalist honors at the Yale event.

Softball swept three games at Auburn for the first time in program history, outscoring the Tigers 20-6 in the process. The Lady Vols improved to 31-9 overall and 13-6 in the SEC, good enough for second place in the Eastern Division.

Baseball picked up an important win at South Carolina during a weekend series. The Vols won Friday night to reach 20 wins in just 30 games for their fastest pace to 20 victories since 2005 (20-8). UT remains third in the SEC East at 6-6.

The tennis teams split matches against Alabama and Auburn, both squads winning against the Tigers on Friday and losing to the Crimson Tide on Sunday. The Vols are 13-11 overall and 5-5 in league play heading into Saturday's finale against Georgia, while the Lady Vols are 13-10 and 4-6 and must travel to Georgia to close out their regular season.

And men's and women's outdoor track and field used the Tennessee Challenge to help prepare for this week's annual Sea Ray Relays at LaPorte Stadium on the UT campus. The squads combined for 15 event wins Saturday.

Women's Golf (1st at Bryan National)
Bryan National (Day 1)
The 14th-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols sit in third place at the conclusion of day one of competition Friday at the Bryan National Collegiate hosted by Wake Forest University.

In a field featuring six teams in the GolfStat top 25, UT fired a 5-over 293 and is three shots back of clubhouse leader Northwestern at Bryan Park's Player's Course outside Greensboro, N.C.

Junior Erica Popson fired Tennessee's lone round under par with a 1-under 71 and is tied for second entering the second round.

Junior Sara Monberg is tied for 13th at 1-over 73, while senior Nathalie Mansson is deadlocked at 23rd after a 2-over 74 score. Sophomore Kaitlyn Rohrback sits in a tie for 28th with a 3-over 75 and freshman AJ Newell rounded out scoring for UT, carding an 80 in the event's first round.

Bryan National (Day 2)
Tennessee Lady Vols junior Erica Popson will enter Sunday's final round tied for the individual lead at the Bryan National Collegiate Championship.

The Davenport, Fla., native carded a 2-under 70 on Saturday at the par-72 Player's Club course and has a 71-70--141 (-3) total with 18 holes remaining.

Tennessee began the day in third place, but maneuvered its way to the top of the leaderboard with a 3-over 291 team showing Saturday.

"Today was a solid day for everybody," head coach Judi Pavon said, "but again we lost a few shots at the end."

UT's four counters tallied six holes over par on the back nine, including two bogeys on 18, after combining for only four bogeys before the turn.

Bryan National (Day 3)
Tennessee captured its second victory of the 2012 spring season by grabbing first place at the Bryan National Collegiate this weekend at the Player's Course at Bryan Park.

Atop the leader board by two shots heading into the final round, Tennessee fired a 10-over 298 on Sunday to capture the team championship in a playoff. The Lady Vols finished with a 293-291-298--882 (+18) total going into the playoff on hole 18. The Big Orange made four pars on the 18th hole to top Duke and win the tournament.

"It was an exciting day," head coach Judi Pavon said. "We played with Florida State and UNC and did a good job beating them. Duke was one pairing ahead and had a really good round."

Duke recorded the best round of the day with a 1-over 289 finish.

"The playoff was exciting with AJ [Newell] and Kaitlyn [Rohrback] going out first and both making pars, while Duke had a par and two double bogeys. Sara [Monberg] and Erica [Popson] made two pars as well to seal the victory."

Next: April 20-22 at SEC Championship, Fayetteville, Ark. // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Golf (1st at Yale Spring Opener)
Yale Spring Opener
Tennessee lived up to its role as the favorite Saturday at the Yale Spring Opener, winning by 17 shots for its first tournament triumph since 2009.

The Vols played The Course at Yale in 14 over par, carding scores of 288 and 286 amid windy and cool conditions for a 36-hole total of 574. Dartmouth was next at 591, followed by Seton Hall (602), Yale (618) and Brown (623).

Rick Lamb won his first collegiate tournament, finishing at 1-under 139 for a one-shot victory. Lamb's previous best result was a solo second at last year's Del Walker Intercollegiate when he was a sophomore at Santa Clara.

"We did a pretty good job and obviously it was great to see Rick win," UT head coach Jim Kelson said. "We still left a few out there, but overall it was good to get a win and build some momentum and confidence. We accomplished that.

"It was a good course and it blew about 20 miles per hour for most of the day. They played a challenging course with tough hole locations, so Rick's was a good score and it would have held up well against some really good teams and good players."

Next: April 20-22 at SEC Championship, St. Simons Island, Ga. // FULL SCHEDULE

Softball (3-0 for the weekend)
Lady Vols 9, Auburn 1 (5 inn.)
AUBURN, Ala. - On a beautiful Friday evening at Jane B. Moore Field, the No. 9 Tennessee Lady Vols registered nine two-out runs, posted a seven-tally second inning and got the third career grand slam from sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman in taking its series opener from Auburn, 9-1 in 5 innings.

Shipman was 1-for-3 with two runs scored and equaled her career-high with four RBIs via her grand slam, giving her a team-leading 41 RBIs for the season. Junior right fielder Kat Dotson was a perfect 2-for-2 at the dish with two RBIs, sophomore Melissa Davin was 1-for-1 with two RBIs as a pinch hitter, sophomore center fielder Tory Lewis was 1-for-2 with a RBI and freshman designated player Cheyanne Tarango went 1-for-3 with her fifth career double.

In the circle sophomore pitcher Ellen Renfroe picked up her 20th overall victory of the year, taking a perfect game into the fourth inning before eventually settling for a one-hitter with a walk and seven strikeouts over five frames of effort.

Lady Vols 5, Auburn 3 (10 inn.)
AUBURN, Ala. - In a crazy contest full of collisions and hit batters on Saturday here at Jane B. Moore Field, the No. 9 Tennessee Lady Vols got four more RBIs from sophomore clean-up hitter Madison Shipman and stellar relief work from sophomore pitcher Ellen Renfroe in outlasting Auburn in a 10-inning marathon, 5-3.

The match-up was marred by a massive collision at home plate during the bottom of the third inning as Auburn's Brooke Lathan ran into senior catcher Ashley Andrews, forcing a lengthy injury delay for the UT player and the ejection of the Tiger second baseman.

Shipman led the Lady Vol offense by going 2-for-5 at the dish with two runs scored, a triple, her sixth HR of the season and four RBIs, giving her a squad-best 45 RBIs in 2012. The Valencia, Calif., native is hitting .375 during the series with a triple, two doubles and an impressive eight RBIs over two games. Junior second baseman Lauren Gibson was 2-for-3 with a pair of tallies and a stolen base, junior right fielder Kat Dotson was 1-for-5 and junior third baseman Raven Chavanne was 1-for-4 with her team-leading 18th stolen base of the campaign.

Ellen Renfroe picked up her 21st victory of the season in relief, allowing just one hit with a walk and nine strikeouts over 6.0 innings of work. Junior Ivy Renfroe permitted three runs on four hits while striking out three over 4.0 frames as the starter.

"I've been coaching softball for 25 years in college, in the Olympics and all over the world, and I've never seen a collision like that at home plate," Lady Vols Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said. "Ashley (Andrews) is one tough player and the heart of our team, so I didn't think we played as well as the game went on. Madison (Shipman) is quickly becoming a go-to player for us, and she's definitely leading us offensively right now. I'm very proud of our kids for their effort in fighting back from a deficit and winning in 10 innings."

Lady Vols 6, Auburn 2
AUBURN, Ala. - The first career two-HR game by sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman and the team-leading 11th big fly from junior second baseman Lauren Gibson powered the No. 9 Tennessee Lady Vols to its first-ever series sweep on "the Plains" of Auburn with a 6-2 victory over the Tigers on Sunday at Jane B. Moore Field.

During the series the Lady Vols (31-9, 13-6 SEC) outscored the Tigers by a 20-6 count, posted eight extra-base hits, including five HR's, and the UT pitching staff held AU to just a .133 batting average.

Shipman led Tennessee again on Sunday with a 2-for-4, two-HR, three-RBI effort, posting a .417 batting average with a triple, four HR's and 11 RBIs during the three-contest set. Gibson was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored, and her 11th HR. Junior third baseman Raven Chavanne was 2-for-4, junior first baseman Melissa Brown was 1-for-3 with a run, and both freshman designated player Cheyanne Tarango and rookie catcher Hannah Akamine were each credited with a RBI.

Junior pitcher Ivy Renfroe (10-6) picked up her 10th victory of the campaign, allowing two runs on four hits with a walk and five strikeouts over 6.0 innings of work. Sophomore Ellen Renfroe fired a single frame of relief, striking out the side during the seventh to finish off the triumph.

Next: Tuesday vs. Radford, 3 p.m.; Friday-Sunday vs. LSU, 6 p.m., Noon, 4 p.m. // FULL SCHEDULE

Baseball (1-2 for the weekend)
Vols 5, South Carolina 4
COLUMBIA, S.C. - An error on a popped-up bunt allowed Tennessee to score the go-ahead run in the ninth inning and junior Nick Blount came on to record his seventh save in seven consecutive games as the Volunteers edged No. 10 South Carolina 5-4 in front of a sold-out crowd of 8,242 at Carolina Stadium on Friday night.

For the Vols, it was their 20th victory and is the fastest they have reached the 20-win mark since going 20-8 to start the 2005 season, which culminated in an appearance in the College World Series.

With the score deadlocked at 4-4 in the top of the ninth after three lead changes, the Big Orange put runners on the corners with one out after back-to-back singles by Zach Osborne and Will Maddox. With the count at 0-2 to Zach Luther following two unsuccessful bunt attempts, he was able to get the bat on the ball but popped the two-strike bunt back to the mound. Osborne was caught off third, but the throw to double him up by SC pitcher Matt Price sailed into left field, allowing the eventual game-winning run to score.

"It's baseball," Tennessee head coach Dave Serrano said. "I don't think anyone out there can figure out this game, I can't figure it out. That's why we continue to tell our players to play hard. Play hard and try to win the next pitch because if you try to analyze why this game does certain things, you are going to go crazy with it."

South Carolina 2, Vols 1
COLUMBIA, S.C. - A walk-off single by LB Dantzler gave No. 10 South Carolina a 2-1 victory over Tennessee in another thriller on Saturday night at Carolina Stadium. The loss snapped UT's seven-game winning streak.

"That was a tough loss," Tennessee head coach Dave Serrano said. "We're going to have to rebound and come back to win the series tomorrow. I thought the game was there for the taking for us, but we weren't able to take advantage and get quality at-bats late in the game. We weren't perfect on the mound, but we kept them at bay and gave our team a chance to win."

The Vols danced around fire all night, stranding 15 Gamecock baserunners over the first eight innings. It finally got to them in the bottom of the ninth as a leadoff single, sacrifice bunt and wild pitch put a runner at third with one out before Dantzler laced a pitch to deep center for the walk-off win.

South Carolina 6, Vols 1
COLUMBIA, S.C. - No. 10 South Carolina scored unearned four runs in the fifth inning and Tennessee's only tally came on a solo home run by Chris Fritts as the Gamecocks claimed the series rubber match 6-1 on a picture-perfect Easter Sunday at Carolina Stadium.

"I was very disappointed in how we showed up today," Tennessee head coach Dave Serrano said. "I thought both teams were feeling each other out and we didn't do what we needed to do today to come out on top in this series.

"What's so disappointing for me today is the opportunity we had to kind of separate ourselves from other teams in our division and we didn't take advantage. It's just going to make it harder for us down the line and I hope we don't look back and kick ourselves for not taking advantage of the opportunity we had."

Sophomore Nick Williams (2-3) suffered the loss for Tennessee (20-12, 6-6 SEC), yielding four unearned runs on three hits in 4.2 innings. Junior Drew Steckenrider was stellar out of the bullpen once again, striking out four in 2.2 frames. Over the weekend, Steckenrider finished with 10 punchouts in five total innings against the Gamecocks.

Next: Wednesday at East Tennessee State, 7 p.m.; Friday-Sunday vs. Florida, 6 p.m., 3 p.m., 2 p.m. // FULL SCHEDULE

Women's Outdoor Track and Field (Tennessee Challenge)
Tennessee Challenge
The Lady Vols and Vols took advantage of their first home appearances of the season, rolling up a combined 15 event victories at the Tennessee Challenge on a gorgeous Saturday at Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium.

The Lady Vols tallied 10 of those victories, headlined by national-caliber marks in the 800 meters by senior Chanelle Price, the shot put by senior Annie Alexander and the 1500 meters by senior Brittany Sheffey. The Vols, meanwhile, captured five wins, with redshirt freshman Matthew Hoty (shot put) and senior Terry Benson (110m hurdles) picking up victories in those events for the second straight meet.

Price produced the fastest 800m collegiate clocking of the young season, and her best season-opening time in that event, easily winning in two minutes, 3.36 seconds. Teammate Kianna Ruff was well back in second with a career-best 2:07.11 readout.

Alexander, who entered the meet ranked number four nationally in the shot put, remained undefeated in that event this outdoor season with a heave of 54-6. It was her runner-up discus effort of 183-5, however, that was her best mark of the day. That outburst pushed her to number five nationally. She wound up second behind Louisville's Chinwe Okoro, whose 183-5 toss was good for third on the NCAA list.

Next: Wednesday-Saturday vs. Sea Ray Relays // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Outdoor Track and Field (Stanford Invitational/Tennessee Challenge)
Stanford Invitational
Chris Bodary made the cross-country trip to Palo Alto, Calif., worth his while.

Competing at the Stanford Invitational on Friday morning, the Tennessee junior cranked out an outdoor personal-record time in the 5000 meters at Cobb Track and Angell Field.

The product of Downingtown, Pa., covered the distance in 14 minutes, 23.08 seconds to place 11th out of 34 runners in section two. It bettered the previous PR of 14:41.06 that he registered at last year's Penn Relays. The mark currently stands as the fastest in the SEC this season and No. 22 on the NCAA East Preliminary Round qualifying list.

Tennessee Challenge
The Lady Vols and Vols took advantage of their first home appearances of the season, rolling up a combined 15 event victories at the Tennessee Challenge on a gorgeous Saturday at Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium.

After setting a Vols freshman outdoor shot put record of 59-9¾ last weekend at the UCLA/Washington State Duals, Hoty wasn't able to match that mark on Saturday. He did, however, win for the second straight week, posting a top mark of 58-3¼. He also added a third-place showing in the discus at 160-9.

Benson, who fancies himself more of a 400m hurdler, continued to look sharp over the barriers at 110 meters. After winning in 14.05 at UCLA last weekend, he produced a 14.32 output at the Tennessee Challenge and collected his third career victory in that event as a Vol.

Next: Wednesday-Saturday vs. Sea Ray Relays // FULL SCHEDULE

Women's Tennis (1-1 for the weekend)
Lady Vols 4, Auburn 3
Despite finishing with just two tandems in doubles and four players in singles, the 22nd-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols overcame injuries and picked up their second consecutive win, defeating Auburn 4-3 Friday at Barksdale Stadium.

It was the same old story, but with a different result.

"I'm real proud of the girls," co-head coach Mike Patrick said. "We've faced a lot of adversity in the last few weeks. To win a conference match already giving away a point is really tough to do. Our veteran kids came out and did a good job. Jesse did a good job in doubles, helping Brynn pull that out. That gave us the momentum to win."

With Caitlyn Williams out of both lineups, the Lady Vols defaulted the third spot in doubles and the sixth position in singles to Auburn. But the Lady Vols wouldn't let the match be scripted out. It was the seventh time Tennessee played with an incomplete singles lineup, but the first time the Lady Vols pulled out a win.

Alabama 6, Lady Vols 1
Senior Natalie Pluskota, who was honored prior to her final career home match Sunday at Barksdale Stadium -- a 6-1 loss to No. 11 Alabama -- will have quite the lessons to share when she coaches collegiate tennis someday.

For the eighth time this season, No. 22 Tennessee (13-10, 4-6 SEC) was forced to play with an incomplete singles lineup, defaulting the bottom two spots to Alabama.

Also forced to default the third position in doubles because of injuries, Tennessee lost the doubles point for just the fourth time this season, placing the Lady Vols in a 3-0 hole before singles play started.

Next: Saturday at Georgia, Noon // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Tennis (1-1 for the weekend)
Vols 5, Auburn 2
AUBURN, Ala. -- With a team effort across lineup, the Tennessee Volunteers got the points they needed to deal 16th-ranked Auburn its first home loss of the season Friday.

The Vols lost four of six opening sets in singles but regained momentum midway through the match in a 5-2 victory at Yarbrough Tennis Center to start the team's final road trip of the year.

Sophomore Jarryd Chaplin clinched the Vols' win at 4-2 by holding off Dennis Lengsfeld 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 in an up and down third set in which Chaplin won five games in a row, lost four and then served for the match a final time at 5-4 on court 4.

Tennessee also picked up singles wins from Brandon Fickey on court 3, Edward Jones on court 5 and Hunter Reese on court 2 after the match was decided.

Alabama 6, Vols 1
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The Tennessee Volunteers lost the doubles point and could not regain momentum in singles Sunday, losing to Alabama 6-1 at the Alabama Tennis Complex.

Coming off a 4-2 win against 16th-ranked Auburn on Friday, the Vols (13-11, 5-5 SEC) lost the doubles point for the fourth time in five matches despite Edward Jones and Jarryd Chaplin notching their seventh consecutive win on court 2.

From there, Tennessee won just two of six first sets in singles. Hunter Reese was first off the court for the Vols with a fast 6-3, 6-1 win against Jarryd Botha on court 2, but the Crimson Tide got what it needed on three courts.

Next: Saturday vs. Georgia, 1 p.m. // FULL SCHEDULE

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