Feb. 9, 2012
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
TEMPE, Ariz. - Lady Vol sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman and junior second baseman Lauren Gibson each blasted solo homers to back a complete-game, one-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts from sophomore pitcher Ellen Renfroe as No. 9 Tennessee (1-0) rolled past UCSB (0-1), 7-0, in the Big Orange's 2012 season opener at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz.
The Orange & White softball squad managed to out-hit the Gauchos, 9-1, plating three runs during both the second and fifth innings.
Shipman was 2-for-2 with a home run, two RBIs and a pair of runs scored, Gibson was 2-for-2 with a homer and RBI and both senior right fielder Shelby Burchell (1-for-1, two walks, run) and senior third baseman Ashley Andrews (1-for-2) were credited with an RBI. Sophomore left fielder Melissa Davin (1-for-2), junior center fielder Whitney Hammond (1-for-3, run) and junior pinch hitter Morgan Fowler (1-for-1) each recorded base hits. Freshmen Cheyanne Tarango (first base) and Hannah Akamine (catcher) each drew their first starts at Tennessee, while rookie Hannah Trainer pinch hit during the fifth inning.
Renfroe struck out 10 or more hitters in a single contest for the eighth time during her brief career at Rocky Top while starting off 2012 a perfect 1-0 overall.
"Karen (Co-Head Coach Weekly) and I were very pleased with the effort today by our whole team," Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said. "UCSB gave us a lot of problems last year in our 2-0 victory. Andriana Collins (Gaucho starter) is a tough pitcher, but we made some adjustments today and managed to score some runs. We struggled at the top of our order with Raven Chavanne out this weekend with an injury and Kat Dotson not at full speed. Tomorrow brings two more tough challenges, but that's what it's all about, playing high-level competition to get ready for the rugged Southeastern Conference schedule."
The pitchers controlled the early going as Renfroe and UCSB's Collins each worked one-two-three innings in the first. UT's 6-0 right-hander struck out both left fielder Brooke Putich and right fielder Allison Taylor, while her Gaucho counterpart K'ed the Big Orange side.
After Renfroe improved her total to five strikeouts through a pair of frames by striking out the side in the top of the second, Shipman crushed Collins' first pitch of the bottom half of the second over the temporary fencing for a 1-0 lead. Burchell managed a five-pitch walk, bringing freshman first baseman Cheyanne Tarango to the plate for her first collegiate at-bat. The Anaheim Hills, Calif., native dropped a bunt that was fielded quickly but thrown away to second by UCSB third baseman Keilani Jennings. The error allowed Burchell the opportunity to race around and score all the way from first for a 2-0 advantage. A single off the bat of Davin, her first stolen base and an RBI blooper to left by Andrews helped improve the lead to three tallies.
Renfroe had retired eight straight Gauchos until UCSB shortstop DeJanee Moore managed to line a sharp single to left with two outs in the top of the third. The runner remained at first, however, as UT's hurler punched out center fielder Jessica Soria for her seventh K of the contest.
Gibson followed Shipman's lead by hammering the very first pitch of the bottom of the fourth over the wall to lift Tennessee's advantage to 4-0.
With Renfroe on cruise control, having retired seven straight after the lone UCSB single in the third, Hammond opened the bottom of the fifth with a perfect lead-off bunt single. That got a Big Orange offensive assault started as Gibson registered an infield single, and then Shipman blasted an RBI base-knock to plate Hammond for a 5-0 lead. The move was made by the Gaucho coaching staff to summon in Shelby Wisdom to relieve Collins, but the move immediately backfired. The new hurler uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Gibson to race home from 60 feet away as the advantage expanded to 6-0. With Shipman stationed at third, Burchell laced an RBI single through the infield to make it 7-0. Senior Holly Baker and Akamine walked to pack the bags full of Lady Vols with two retired. Trainer came on in a pinch-hitting role and battled to a full count, but popped up to third to leave the bases loaded.
From there it was just left to Renfroe to finish the contest off from the circle. The Jackson, Tenn., native did just that, striking out a total of three Gauchos over the final two frames with back-to-back, one-two-three innings in the sixth and seventh to secure the 7-0 victory.