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April 16, 2012

Softball made it a three-game sweep of LSU and the track and field squads turned in a strong showing at the Sea Ray Relays to highlight the Tennessee athletics weekend.

Softball (3-0 for the weekend)
Lady Vols 2, LSU 0
On Friday night in front of 1,514 fans at the Lee Softball Stadium, sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman homered for the fourth straight league contest and for the fifth time over her last five games overall to back another stellar effort from the circle by sophomore pitcher Ellen Renfroe as the No. 10 Tennessee Lady Vols won their sixth-consecutive game by topping No. 21 LSU in the two teams' series opener, 2-0.

Shipman was 1-for-3 at the plate with her career-best ninth HR, while junior third baseman Raven Chavanne was at her chaos-producing best by going 3-for-4 with a run scored and her team-leading 21st stolen base from the lead-off spot in the line-up. Junior right fielder Kat Dotson (1-for-3) and junior first baseman Melissa Brown (1-for-2) each posted one of Tennessee's six total hits in the match-up, while senior left fielder Shelby Burchell walked three times, including once in the fifth with the bases loaded for a valuable insurance RBI.

Renfroe allowed just three hits in tossing her NCAA Division I-leading 14th solo shutout and her 19th complete game of 2012. The Jackson, Tenn., native walked two and struck out five in improving to 22-3 overall and 10-3 in SEC action.

Lady Vols 4, LSU 2
With a crowd of 1,609 Orange-clad fans in attendance on a beautiful Saturday at the Lee Softball Stadium and a national television audience watching live on ESPN, junior pitcher Ivy Renfroe was solid in the circle, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning before permitting a hit as the No. 10 Tennessee Lady Vols picked up their seventh-straight win and secured a series victory over No. 21 LSU, 4-2.

Prior to the contest the Lady Vols senior class, consisting of Ashley Andrews, Holly Baker, Shelby Burchell and Cat Hosfield, was honored in a ceremony for their contributions to the Tennessee program.

Ivy Renfroe was very impressive in the circle while improving to 12-6 overall on the year, allowing two runs on just one hit with four walks and three strikeouts over 6.1 innings of work. The Jackson native took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before giving up a one-out single to pinch hitter Kailey McCasland. Sophomore Ellen Renfroe registered her third save of the season in relief, permitting just one hit with two K's in two-thirds of a frame.

Lady Vols 10, LSU 2 (6 inn.)
On Sunday afternoon in front of another ESPN national television audience and the largest crowd in Lee Softball Stadium history (1,845), the No. 10 Tennessee Lady Vols erupted for back-to-back, five-run outbursts during both the fifth and sixth innings, erasing a 2-0 deficit and powering UT to a sweep over No. 21 LSU, 10-2 in 6 innings.

The Big Orange (35-9, 16-6 Southeastern Conference) offense banged out an impressive 13 hits against a Tiger pitching staff that had been allowing league opposition to hit at just a .194 clip, led by a 3-for-4 effort from junior right fielder Kat Dotson.

Senior left fielder Shelby Burchell (1-for-4, three RBIs) posted the biggest hit of the contest as her three-run double during the fifth inning completed the rally from an early deficit, giving Tennessee a 4-2 advantage. Junior second baseman Lauren Gibson was 1-for-2 with two runs scored and a RBI, junior first baseman Melissa Brown was 2-for-4 with a RBI and junior Whitney Hammond was 1-for-1 with a run scored and a RBI. Freshman pinch hitter Hannah Akamine finished the victory "walk-off-style" with a two-out, two-RBI single in the bottom of the sixth.

Lady Vols junior pitcher Ivy Renfroe (13-6) won her eighth consecutive decision in the circle, working 2.2 perfect innings of relief with three strikeouts. Sophomore starter Ellen Renfroe allowed two runs on six hits with a walk and two K's in 3.1 frames.

Next: Tuesday vs. Memphis, 4 p.m. (DH); Friday-Sunday at South Carolina, 7 p.m., 4 p.m., 1 p.m. // FULL SCHEDULE

Women's Outdoor Track and Field (Sea Ray Relays)
Sea Ray Relays (Day 3)
Conserving a good portion of their firepower for Saturday's Sea Ray Showcase events, the Tennessee track & field teams still had enough firepower in their arsenal to scratch out a pair of victories and six other top-three finishes Friday at the 46th-annual Sea Ray Relays.

Junior Martinique Octave claimed the Big Orange's first victory of the day at Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium, winning the women's 200-meter dash in a season-best 23.95 seconds. The victory was the third outdoor 200m triumph of Octave's career and her first in 2012 after runner-up efforts the past two weekends.

Lady Vol senior Brittany Jones carded a runner-up showing in the women's 100m dash. The senior zipped down the straightaway in 11.66 seconds to finish just behind the winner, Adella King of Indiana Tech, who checked in at 11.58 in heat one.

Sea Ray Relays (Day 4)
Competing on a splendid Saturday afternoon at Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium, the Tennessee track & field teams combined for nine event victories, including six in the higher-caliber "Showcase" races, on the final day of the 46th-annual Sea Ray Relays.

On a day in which 23 UT student-athletes were recognized on Senior Day, Ellen Wortham made her final home appearance one for the record books. The local product from Maryville cruised to an NCAA-leading and meet-record-tying time of 55.93 seconds to win the Showcase 400m hurdles by three seconds. It marked the third-straight season she won that event at this meet, and she matched the 2005 effort of South Carolina's Tiffany Ross-Williams to do it.

While Annie Alexander wasn't able to earn her third Tony Wilson Award this year, the senior from Trinidad &Tobago started her day by winning her fourth Sea Rays discus crown, stretching the tape measure to a season-best 181-11 that ranks No. 4 nationally. She attempted to win her third meet title in the shot put later in the day, but she came up short with a season-best mark of 56-8¾ that left in her second behind Smith, the new NCAA leader this season. Alexander stands fifth on that list.

Next: Friday-Saturday at Vanderbilt Invitational, Nashville // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Outdoor Track and Field (Sea Ray Relays)
Sea Ray Relays (Day 3)
Conserving a good portion of their firepower for Saturday's Sea Ray Showcase events, the Tennessee track & field teams still had enough firepower in their arsenal to scratch out a pair of victories and six other top-three finishes Friday at the 46th-annual Sea Ray Relays.

Redshirt freshman Tavis Bailey seized the first Vol triumph of the meet. After winning the discus throw at the Tennessee Challenge at 171-1 last Saturday, Bailey posted a top mark of 176-9 to claim the invitational men's discus crown at Sea Rays. He has not finished lower than second in any of his four discus competitions this season and currently ranks No. 4 in the SEC.

Vol Arnez Hardnick followed suit with a second-place finish in the men's 100m dash. The junior covered the distance in a career-best 11.60 in heat one, edging Tremaine Gordon of Rend Lake in a photo finish. Unattached competitor Brad Davis, however, produced a time of 10.56 out of heat three to get the victory.

Sea Ray Relays (Day 4)
Competing on a splendid Saturday afternoon at Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium, the Tennessee track & field teams combined for nine event victories, including six in the higher-caliber "Showcase" races, on the final day of the 46th-annual Sea Ray Relays.

Vol freshman Jamol James and Lady Vol junior Kia Jackson made it a Big Orange sweep of the Showcase 100m dash crowns. James took care of business in the men's race, winning in 10.24 with a slightly-illegal breeze of 2.2 meters per second at this back. Jackson won her battle with a career-best time, shooting down the straightaway in a legal 11.49.

"It was really good for our guys," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said. "Jamol beat a very good field, with Kyle Stevenson (former Vol) and some others in there. A very noble mark by Terry Benson in the 400m hurdles (51.79). That's the type of performance we're looking for. We got what we needed.

"We got the stick around well in the 4x100 and ran another good, solid mark for the team in 40.22. Overall, we had some other PRs. Daniel Tobin and Chris Bodary stepped up and ran PRs for us. It's good to have Joe Franklin back in the mix, as he's knocking his times down every week. We just have to keep our nose to the grindstone and keep moving in a positive, forward direction."

Next: Friday-Saturday at Vanderbilt Invitational, Nashville // FULL SCHEDULE

Rowing (Michigan Dual Meet)
Michigan Dual Meet
The Lady Vols V4+ shell was the star again, earning a silver and bronze medal at Michigan on Saturday.

UT's first varsity four finished more than six seconds ahead of the Wolverine's shell, crossing the finish line in 7 minutes 44 seconds in the morning session and finishing second behind Oregon State. Later in the day, the Lady Vol boat took third behind Oregon State and Michigan, finishing in 7:57.72 seconds.

The first varsity four shell has twice earned Conference USA's Boat of the Week Honor this season after impressive performances at Central Florida and the San Diego Crew Classic.

Tennessee's 2V8+ finished third behind Michigan and Oregon State in six minutes 55.27 seconds, while the V8 finished fifth in 7 minutes 2.76 seconds. During the afternoon session, the Lady Vols 2V8+ took fourth in 7 minutes 14.55 seconds. The first varsity eight also finished fourth in 7 minutes 4.56 seconds.

Next: Saturday vs. Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships, Oak Ridge // FULL SCHEDULE

Baseball (1-2 for the weekend)
Florida 3, Vols 1
Tennessee stranded 12 runners, including 10 in scoring position, and No. 4 Florida got a pair of run-scoring doubles in the fifth inning to claim the series opener 3-1 in front of 3,401 Orange and White faithful, the 12th-largest crowd in school history.

Junior Zack Godley suffered the tough-luck loss for the Volunteers after allowing just three runs and scattering nine hits in seven strong innings. Jonathon Crawford picked up the win for the Gators, yielding a single run on six hits in five frames. Austin Maddox worked the final two innings to collect his 10th save of the year.

"I thought (Zack) threw well," UT head coach Dave Serrano said. "I thought he threw really well. (Florida) is a great baseball team, a great offensive team in my opinion. So when you hold them to three runs it gives us a chance to win. He threw some pitches that I can look at myself. We threw a first-pitch change that gets hit down the line for a double, we throw a first-pitch curveball that a guy gets a hit on. He threw some good pitches, they put some good swings on it. The difference was they put some good swings on pitches and we didn't."

Vols 5, Florida 4
Tennessee scored three runs on safety squeezes to take a 5-4 lead over No. 4 Florida through five innings and held on for the win, getting a game-ending 5-3 double play on a diving play by Zach Luther with the bases loaded in the ninth to even the weekend series against the Gators in front of 2,838 Saturday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

With the win, the Volunteers improved to 21-14 overall and 7-7 in Southeastern Conference play, matching their league win total for all of last season.

"I don't look back at last year, I only look forward," UT head coach Dave Serrano said. "I'm proud of these guys and what we have overcome but we're not trying to match anything from last year. We are just trying to do what we can do this year with this team."

UT freshman Richard Carter, who entered the game with just three hits and two RBIs for his career, was 2-for-3 and drove in three runs in Saturday's contest alone. Chris Fritts and Davis Morgan each had a pair of hits for the Orange and White as well.

Florida 8, Vols 1
No. 4 Florida scored early and often on Sunday, pouncing on Tennessee for eight runs over the first four innings en route to an 8-1 victory in front of 3,332 Orange and White faithful at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

"I hope everyone can tell that I am a competitor and I don't like losing, but I walk away with a different feeling today," UT head coach Dave Serrano said. "We just got beat. We couldn't get it stopped early. Our starting pitching wasn't what I expected it to be with Nick Williams and he didn't come out sharp. We got beat and this team has a hard time coming back from deficits. We didn't have the firepower to do that today. We did it against Alabama, but that is a very good team over there and we can't give them a four-run lead.

"I am proud of the guys we brought out of the bullpen, we fought to get a run, and we got it in the last inning, and we made some spectacular (defensive) plays. There is no quit. I can't walk away happy that we lost, but I am proud that we continued to compete for nine innings. That is all we ask our guys to do."

Sunday's crowd put the weekend attendance total at 9,561, the second-highest mark for a home series in school history behind only the 11,280 that saw UT play the Gators during the 1994 campaign.

Next: Tuesday vs. East Tennessee State, 7 p.m.; Friday-Sunday at Mississippi State, 6:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 1 p.m. Central (7:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 2 p.m. Eastern) // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Tennis (0-1 for the weekend)
Georgia 7, Vols 0
The Tennessee Volunteers lost their regular season finale Saturday against fourth-ranked Georgia 7-0 at Barksdale Stadium.

Facing a lineup with five players ranked in the top 60, the 15th-ranked Vols (13-12, 5-6 SEC) dropped the doubles point to start the afternoon and lost a three singles matches in straight sets to seal the team loss. The remaining three matches went three sets, but the Vols did not win any of them.

"It's a 7-0 loss, but it's a match that we're capable of winning," Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham said. "That sums it up. Georgia's higher ranked and they're probably stronger top to bottom, but we're capable of winning that match. We've got to compete to win, not just compete to keep it close. That's where these guys have to grow up."

Next: Thursday vs. Alabama at SEC Tournament, 11 a.m. Central (Noon Eastern) // FULL SCHEDULE

Upcoming This Week in Other UT Sports
Women's Tennis vs. Auburn at SEC Tournament, Thursday, 6 p.m. Central (7 p.m. Eastern), Oxford, Miss.
Men's Golf at SEC Championship, Friday-Sunday, St. Simons Island, Ga.
Women's Golf at SEC Championship, Friday-Sunday, Fayetteville, Ark.
 
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