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ROCKY TOP REWIND



April 23, 2012

The DISH Orange and White Game was the lone on-campus athletics event, but plenty of Tennessee squads were in action during a busy Big Orange weekend.

Softball (3-0 for the weekend)
Lady Vols 8, South Carolina 0 (5 inn.)
COLUMBIA, S.C. - On Friday night during the series opener at Beckham Field, sophomore shortstop Melissa Davin blasted a pair of HR's in a single game for the second time this year to back a three-hit shutout by sophomore pitcher Ellen Renfroe as the No. 7 Tennessee Lady Vols won their season-best, 11th-straight game in an 8-0 (5 inning) triumph over South Carolina.

Davin led the Big Orange offense by going a perfect 3-for-3 at the dish with a pair of solo HR's, her fourth and fifth big flies of the year, and four RBIs. Sophomore center fielder Tory Lewis was 1-for-2 with her third triple of 2012 and a RBI, junior second baseman Lauren Gibson was 1-for-2 with a walk and junior first baseman Melissa Brown was credited with a RBI via a bases-loaded walk.

In improving to 24-3 on the year and 11-3 in SEC action from the circle, Renfroe allowed three hits, walked two and struck out three over 5.0 frames of work. For the Jackson native the effort marked her 21st complete game and NCAA Division I-leading 15th solo shutout.

Lady Vols 4, South Carolina 2
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Clutch two-RBI singles from sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman and junior third baseman Raven Chavanne helped the No. 7 Tennessee Lady Vols rally from a two-run deficit in the sixth inning to a thrilling 4-2 victory over South Carolina on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in front of the largest Beckham Field crowd since 2003.

In the circle, junior starter Ivy Renfroe won her 10th consecutive decision in improving to 15-6 overall, allowing two runs on nine hits with two walks and five strikeouts over 6.1 innings of work. Sophomore Ellen Renfroe earned her fourth save of the year by tossing two-thirds of a frame of perfect relief.

Chavanne led the Lady Vols offense with a 2-for-4, two-RBI effort, reaching base safely for a career-best 28th consecutive game. The Thousand Oaks, Calif., native also registered her team-leading 18th multi-hit effort with the pair of base knocks off South Carolina starter Katelynn Howser. Shipman was 1-for-2 at the plate with a pair of RBIs, improving the Valencia, Calif., product's league-leading RBI totals to 54 (counting all games) and 30 (counting league games only). Junior right fielder Kat Dotson was 2-for-4 and is hitting a robust .406 overall since the second game of a doubleheader against No. 1 Alabama back on March 21, a span of 22 games.

Lady Vols 6, South Carolina 3
COLUMBIA, S.C. - A career-high four RBIs from senior catcher Ashley Andrews helped the No. 7 Tennessee Lady Vols win its season-best 13th-straight game, topping South Carolina 6-3 on Sunday afternoon at Beckham Field.

The victory streak is the longest for the Big Orange (40-9, 19-6 SEC) since winning 13 consecutive contests from April 3-22, 2011, and also marked UT's 24th-straight triumph over the Gamecocks. The Lady Vols also reached the 40-win mark for the 10th consecutive season dating back to a 45-25 record in 2003.

Andrews led Tennessee's 14-hit offensive assault, posting a career-high-tying three hits in four at-bats with her first HR of 2012 and the career-best four RBIs. Senior designated player Shelby Burchell was one of five Lady Vols with at least two hits in the match-up, going 2-for-4 with her third HR of the year, two runs scored and a pair of RBIs. Junior third baseman Raven Chavanne was 2-for-4, junior second baseman Lauren Gibson was 2-for-4 with her sixth double of the season and junior first baseman Melissa Brown was 2-for-3 with her ninth two-bagger of 2012.

In the circle sophomore Ellen Renfroe improved to 25-3 overall and 12-3 in SEC action, allowing three runs on seven hits with two walks and seven strikeouts over 5.1 innings of work as the starter. Junior pitcher Ivy Renfroe walked one and K'ed a pair in 1.2 frames of relief, earning her second save of the year and 10th of her career.

Next: Wednesday vs. Tennessee State, 5 p.m. (DH); Friday-Sunday vs. Mississippi, 6 p.m., 1 p.m., 1 p.m. // FULL SCHEDULE

Rowing (SIRA Championships)
SIRA Championships (Day 1)
OAK RIDGE - Tennessee's first and second novice eights led the pack on day one of the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships, placing first and third in the semifinals.

"I think it goes to show the amount of work that they've put in this spring learning how to race," novice coach Sarah Arms said. "Today definitely showed that work is making them solid competitors and they're learning from each race."

UT's first novice eight won its semifinal heat in 7 minutes 8.0 seconds. That shell, coxed by Megan Eaton and including Sarah McAuliffe, Sarah Castilaw, Jessica Anderson, Whitney Wolfe, Sarah-Beth Nelius, Leighanne Self, Rachel Whitaker and Allison Toth, posted the fastest time of the morning, winning their heat in 7 minutes 17.9 seconds.

The second novice eight finished third in its morning heat as well as third in its semifinal heat. The morning session saw the Lady Vols post a 7-minute 47.3-second time before improving more than 16 seconds, crossing the finish line in 7 minutes 31.0 seconds in the semifinals. That shell was coxed by Oak Ridge, Tenn., native Jessica Herwig, and included Makenzie Hoffmeyer, Kaitlin Aries, Emily Cornelius, Katelyn Carr, Magan Berman, Maggie Collins, Hayley Clark and Sarah Copeland.

SIRA Championships (Day 2)
Tennessee's first novice eight shell claimed the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Women's N8+ title Sunday morning on Melton Hill Lake.

The boat, coxed by Meagan Eaton, crossed the finish line in 7 minutes 1.4 seconds, more than seven seconds ahead of second-place Purdue. Eaton's shell included Sarah McAuliffe, Sarah Castilaw, Jessica Anderson, Whitney Wolfe, Sarah-Beth Nelius, Legihanne Self, Rachel Whitaker and Allison Toth.

"I wasn't sure what to expect coming into the weekend, but I knew this group has put a lot of hard work into their training," novice coach Sarah Arms said. "With the improvement we made over spring break and over the last few weeks, I expected them to have a pretty strong showing."

UT's second novice eight placed sixth overall. The shell coxed by Jessica Herwig, and including Makenzie Hoffmeyer, Kaitlin Aries, Emily Cornelius, Katelyn Carr, Magan Berman, Sarah Collins, Hayley Clark and Sarah Copeland, finished in 7:24.03.

This is the best showing for UT since the novice squad completed a 1-2 finish at the 2005 SIRA Championships. The 2005 1N8+ is the only other Tennessee novice eight to claim a title.

Next: May 12 vs. Conference USA Championships, Oak Ridge // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Tennis (5th at SEC Championship)
Mississippi State 4, Vols 2
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Tennessee Volunteers pushed ninth-ranked Mississippi State to the brink but could not complete the comeback Friday in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tennis Championship.

The Vols fought off match points and went three sets on three courts but eventually fell 4-2 to the host team in front of a capacity crowd at A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.

Though they lost the deciding point in doubles, freshmen Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese led the way for the Vols in singles at the top of the lineup. Both provided the Vols' points on the scoreboard, with Libietis recording his first career top-10 win, beating No. 10 Artem Illyushin 7-6 (6), 6-2.

"There's a lot of room for growth, and I can see the growth happening. I can see Mikelis growing. He came out timid in doubles but in singles played to win. There are some other guys out there just battling and doing an awesome job, but we have to be able to turn that fighting into a little meanness. To turn that fight into a win."

The Vols (14-13) are currently ranked 16th nationally and are on the verge of being a first- and second-round host for the NCAA Championships. The Vols will learn when and where they play May 1, when NCAA.com's selection show airs at 5:30 p.m. Eastern.

Next: May 11-13 at NCAA Championship First and Second Rounds, TBA // FULL SCHEDULE

Women's Tennis (5th at SEC Championship)
Florida 4, Vols 0
Eighth-seeded Tennessee was competitive with top-seeded Florida on the first three courts in singles before a half-hour rain delay interrupted play and halted those matches, as the Lady Vols (14-12) were eliminated from the SEC Tournament on Friday, falling 4-0 to the Gators.

Although Florida's top three players are all ranked in the Top 25, including No. 1 Allie Will, 3-2 scores were on every scoreboard at the time of the delay, including junior Kata Szekely's lead over No. 23 Joanna Mather.

Rain eventually forced the match inside to the Gillom Sports Center, which has three indoor courts, on the Ole Miss campus. As matches on courts 4-6 were further along, those were played out first.

"I think we played as well as we could have played tonight," co-head coach Mike Patrick said. "We played a good team and we did everything we could do. They're the defending National Champions and honestly we're going out there and doing a lot without a lot of work and still some broken parts. I thought we competed hard and our effort was good. Our execution's not great, but it's not going to be great when you don't practice very much."

Next: May 11-13 at NCAA Championship First and Second Rounds, TBA // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Golf (8th at SEC Championship)
SEC Championship (Day 1)
Rick Lamb's introduction to the Sea Island Golf Resort is first-rate so far.

The Tennessee junior shot 3-under-par 67 Friday to lead his team into sixth place after 18 holes at the 2012 SEC Men's Golf Championship in St. Simons Island, Ga. The Vols as a team opened with 5-over 285.

Garrick Porteous added a sparkling 69, followed by Brandon Rodgers at 74 and Jay Vandeventer at 75 to close out the Tennessee scoring. Danny Keddie opened with 77.

It was the first competitive round at posh Sea Island for Lamb, who transferred to UT after playing two seasons at Santa Clara. But Lamb carded four birdies against just one bogey in tying for the day's second-best score. He sits only two strokes behind leader Bobby Wyatt of Alabama.

SEC Championship (Day 2)
Rick Lamb fired his second straight 67 and, thanks to a competitor's late misstep, finds himself tied for the overall lead through two rounds of the 2012 SEC Men's Golf Championship.

Tennessee held on after a rough start Saturday to settle into a tie for seventh place with 18 holes remaining at Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Ga. The Vols shot 10-over-par 290, and their two-day total of 15-over 575 puts them on even terms with Vanderbilt and three shots behind Mississippi (572).

In addition to Lamb, Garrick Porteous fired a 2-over 72, Jay Vandeventer added 74 and Danny Keddie his second straight 77 to close out the Tennessee scoring. Brandon Rodgers shot 82.

Alabama (546) stretched its team lead during the day from one shot to 11 over second-place Auburn and Georgia (both 557). This despite the fact that the hottest Crimson Tide golfer of the weekend, Bobby Wyatt, doubled the 18th hole to fall into a tie for the individual lead with Lamb.

SEC Championship (Day 3)
Tennessee landed top-10 individual finishes from Rick Lamb and Garrick Porteous but fell to eighth place in the final team standings at the 2012 SEC Men's Golf Championship.

Porteous and Lamb were Tennessee's top two scorers each of the three days at Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Ga.

Porteous on Sunday finished strong en route to a 2-under-par 68 that lifted him to a tie for seventh place at 1-under 209. Lamb, meanwhile, suffered a rough start that eliminated his chance at tournament medalist honors. He closed with a 3-over 73 to wind up alone in sixth at 3-under 207.

The Vols combined for a final-round score 13-over-par 293 to finish at 28-over 868. Sunday's numbers for the rest of the team had Jay Vandeventer and Danny Keddie with matching 76s, and Brandon Rodgers with 77.

Next: May 17-19 at NCAA Regional, TBA // FULL SCHEDULE

Women's Golf (11th at SEC Championship)
SEC Championship (Day 1)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Playing a challenging course in trying conditions, No. 13-ranked Tennessee got off to a slow start on day one of the 2012 SEC Women's Golf Championship.

The Lady Vols are in 12th place after registering a 32-over 320 team total at the par-72, 6,112-yard Blessings Golf Club course. UT is 23 strokes back of leader No. 2 Alabama in the strong field that features eight teams in the Golfstat top 25.

"This was a tough day for us all around," head coach Judi Pavon said. "The golf course is extremely difficult and it was cold and windy. The players were doing OK considering Erica [Popson] was having a tough day and wasn't going to count toward the team score.

"But our finish was terrible. In the last four holes we dropped 13 strokes, which ends up being the difference."

Tennessee recorded seven bogeys, two doubles and a triple bogey in the final four holes of the round.

SEC Championship (Day 2)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Two 3-over 75 performances from senior Nathalie Mansson and junior Erica Popson powered the No. 13-ranked Tennessee women's golf team to an 11-stroke improvement Saturday during second round action at the 2012 SEC Women's Golf Championship.

Opening the day on the back nine at the par-72, 6,112-yard Blessings Golf Club course, Popson overshot the green with her third shot on No. 12 to double-bogey the par-5 hole. The Davenport, Fla., native was 3-over through the first three holes, but righted the ship as she birdied two of the next five holes. The second nine of the round was not all smooth sailing, however, as she added two bogeys on her way in.

Popson, who shaved eight strokes off her first round performance, heads into the final day tied for 31st place.

Mansson also carded a 75 in round two, punctuated by back-to-back birdies on No. 2 and No. 3. The Stockholm, Sweden, product also gave up strokes on the way in, tallying three bogeys in the last six holes.

On the whole, Tennessee was 13-over through the last six holes of the day.

SEC Championship (Day 3)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Junior Erica Popson fired a 3-over 75 to lead 13th-ranked Tennessee during the final round of competition at the SEC Championship on Sunday.

The Lady Vols finished 11th in a competitive field that featured eight teams in the GolfStat top 25 rankings. The conference championship event, hosted by Arkansas, was held here at the Blessings Golf Club.

The Big Orange totaled 320-309-322=951 (+87) over three days at the tournament.

"This was a huge disappointment," head coach Judi Pavon said. "We are a better team than we showed and we need to learn to handle pressure better. We dug ourselves a deep hole the first day and there was really no way to build the confidence to ourselves out dig out.

"Now we will have two hard weeks of practice to get prepared for regionals."

Next: May 10-12 at NCAA Regional, TBA // FULL SCHEDULE

Women's Outdoor Track and Field (Vanderbilt Invitational)
Vanderbilt Invitational (Day 1)
Luke Hadden claimed a win in the javelin throw Friday, and Tennessee added four other runner-up finishes on day one of the Vanderbilt Invitational in Nashville.

Junior Kia Jackson posted the top Lady Vols mark of day one, soaring to a career-best 19-9½ in the long jump. Her runner-up showing was her best finish in that event since taking second at the 2010 Tennessee Invitational and moved her to No. 8 in the SEC this season.

Sophomore Katherine Dresch added a fourth-place effort in the women's javelin at 121-11, while senior Desmond Brown checked in fourth in the men's long jump at 24-1.

Vanderbilt Invitational (Day 2)
Tavis Bailey, Bianca Blair and Varick Tucker picked up victories Saturday afternoon, as the Tennessee track & field teams closed out their stay in the Music City for the Vanderbilt Invitational.

In the women's 100-meter hurdles, Blair zipped to her fastest time as a Lady Vol. That readout of 13.65 seconds, ninth-fastest in the SEC this season, also carried the senior to her first victory in that event in her two years at Rocky Top.

While she didn't win, Lady Vol sophomore Linda Hadfield had a career-best performance in the pole vault to finish second. Her clearance of 13-4 1/4 was the fifth-best in school history and moved her to No. 3 on UT's all-time list behind Jessica Reust and Alicia Essex. It also ties her for sixth in the SEC this season.

Annie Alexander added another runner-up finish. The senior, who ranks No. 1 in the SEC this season and in the top five nationally, produced a throw of 171-10.

"Overall, for what we were trying to do to tune up for next weekend and the upcoming SEC meet, we had a lot of good PRs and event wins this weekend," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said. "From the men's 1500m to the women's pole vault, we had PRs throughout the meet, and it was a nice performance for Tavis in the discus to close out the meet.

Next: Thursday-Saturday at Penn Relays, Philadelphia; Friday-Saturday at UCSD Triton Invitational, La Jolla, Calif. // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Outdoor Track and Field (Vanderbilt Invitational)
Vanderbilt Invitational (Day 1)
Luke Hadden claimed a win in the javelin throw Friday, and Tennessee added four other runner-up finishes on day one of the Vanderbilt Invitational in Nashville.

Hadden, a junior from Berlin, Vt., won for the second time in the past three meets, stretching the tape measure to 197 feet, seven inches. The transfer from Wake Forest was part of a one-two Big Orange finish, as sophomore Chase Brannon snared runner-up distinction with a career-best fling of 196-1.

UT also got runner-up finishes in the men's 3000m steeplechase and men's pole vault.

Senior Tom Gilmartin and sophomore Daniel Tobin each produced personal-record times in the men's 3000m steeplechase. Gilmartin completed the race in 9:15.80 to check in second, while Tobin was fourth at 9:21.37. Those times ranks seventh and eighth in the SEC this season.

Robert Rasnick and Brannon also went two-four in the men's pole vault. Rasnick, a senior, continued to display consistency, clearing 17-2 3/4 for his fourth-straight top-four placing. Brannon, meanwhile, sailed over 16-0 3/4 to wind up fourth.

Vanderbilt Invitational (Day 2)
Tavis Bailey, Bianca Blair and Varick Tucker picked up victories Saturday afternoon, as the Tennessee track & field teams closed out their stay in the Music City for the Vanderbilt Invitational.

Bailey, a redshirt freshman, captured his third-straight victory in the discus. His mark of 176 feet, four inches was his second-best this season. It marked the fifth time in five meets this year that he has posted either a win or runner-up finish.

Tucker, meanwhile, won for the second time in three outings, circling the track in 47.53 to take the 400m dash crown. He has finished in the top three in all four races at that distance this season.

"Overall, for what we were trying to do to tune up for next weekend and the upcoming SEC meet, we had a lot of good PRs and event wins this weekend," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said. "From the men's 1500m to the women's pole vault, we had PRs throughout the meet, and it was a nice performance for Tavis in the discus to close out the meet.

Next: Thursday-Saturday at Penn Relays, Philadelphia; Friday-Saturday at UCSD Triton Invitational, La Jolla, Calif. // FULL SCHEDULE

Baseball (0-2 for the weekend)
Mississippi State 7, Vols 1
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Tennessee managed just a season-low tying three hits off of Mississippi State starter Kendall Graveman, who fired a complete game, retiring 13 of the last 14 batters he faced, as the Bulldogs defeated the Volunteers 7-1 Friday night at Dudy Noble Field.

"Very discouraging to say the least," UT head coach Dave Serrano said. "We saw it as a coaching staff in BP today. We didn't take good swings in BP and it is very discouraging, but I know that I'm not a quitter, my coaching staff doesn't quit and we won't allow anyone to be around us that are quitters. We are going to play this thing out and we are still fighting for something. Nothing has been taken away from us."

Graveman induced 15 groundball outs and struck out eight as he went the distance for the second time in his career. He improves to 3-2 with the win while UT freshman Robbie Kidd (2-1) suffered the first loss of his collegiate career after giving up six runs on five hits in a career-high 4.2 innings.

Senior southpaw Josh Allman also posted a career high on the mound for the Big Orange, yielding just a single run on two hits over 3.1 innings of work in his second appearance of the season. His longest previous outing was 1.1 frames against Western Kentucky in 2010 and Mississippi Valley State earlier this season.

Mississippi State 3, Vols 2 (14 inn.)
STARKVILLE, Miss. - For the second time in three games, Tennessee dropped an extra-inning heartbreaker at Mississippi State, falling 3-2 after a bases-loaded wild pitch in the bottom of the 14th inning brought home the winning run in front of 9,233 on a chilly Saturday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.

"That was tough," UT head coach Dave Serrano said. "There really aren't words to describe what transpired this weekend. We'll go back to the drawing board and have to come up with some things to get this team over the hump of what we've experienced this weekend, but we are not dead in the water.

"It's a tough feeling right now, it's a horrible feeling to be honest with you, but I think we'll have their attention that there are some details that we need to continue to get better at. It is demoralizing when you look across the field and see a team executing inning after inning when we had some opportunities and didn't execute."

The contest was just the fifth of 14 or more innings in Volunteer history and the first since May 9, 1999 against South Carolina. UT is now 2-3 in game of 14+ innings.

Tennessee falls to 22-18 overall and 7-11 in SEC play with the loss, while Mississippi State ups its record to 24-16 on the year and 8-10 in league action.

Next: Tuesday vs. Austin Peay, 7 p.m.; Friday-Sunday at Auburn, 6 p.m., 3 p.m., 1 p.m. Central (7 p.m., 4 p.m., 2 p.m. Eastern) // FULL SCHEDULE

 
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