Feb. 13, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. - Lady Vol freshman shortstop Ashley Andrews tripled in the eventual game-winning score, junior first baseman Tiffany Huff knocked in two more runs and sophomore hurler Ashton Ward struck out five over six innings of work as No. 11 Tennessee (6-1) downed UT-Arlington, 6-1, on Friday afternoon at the UCF Early Bird Tournament in Orlando, Fla.
Despite going 0-for-1 at the plate, Huff upped her season RBI total to 19 with two successful sacrifices that plated runs. Andrews, sophomore center fielder Kelly Grieve and junior second baseman Erinn Webb each tallied a 2-for-3 day at the plate, while freshmen Jessica Spigner and Shelby Burchell both tallied single RBIs.
"I thought Ashton Ward pitched a great game against UT-Arlington," Lady Vol co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. "She's been working hard on the process of pitching over the last week and a half and everything worked out for the best today. Tiffany Huff continues to be a big offensive threat for us, and we got a lot of mileage out of our speed game with five hits and a RBI. We need to continue to improve every day to reach our season goals."
Ward set the tone against the Mavericks in the bottom of the first inning by striking out UTA shortstop Jaimee Stinson and third baseman Whitney Simpson as part of a one-two-three frame.
After leaving Grieve stranded at second base after a lead-off double in the first, Tennessee reaped another lead-off base runner in the second as Burchell was struck by a pitch from Texas-Arlington hurler Cara Hulme. Webb dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt out in front of home plate, advancing the runner up 60 feet. Freshman designated player Dee Dee Fryer followed by ripping a 2-1 pitch through the left side of the infield to place runners at the corners with just one retired. Sophomore catcher Jen Lapicki popped a routine fly to center but UTA's Brittany Washington had the ball bounce out of her glove for an error as Burchell raced across the plate with a 1-0 lead. Andrews stepped into the box next and laced a triple just over the third base bag and down the left field line, scoring Lapicki and making it 2-0, Tennessee.
UTA right fielder Heather Fortenberry became the Mavericks initial base runner of the contest with one down in the bottom of the third inning as her high chopper traveled over the head of Spigner at third and into left field. Ward responded immediately with a strikeout of left fielder Courtney Enocksen and caught Stinson looking at strike three on the outside corner to leave the runner standing at first.
Leading off the top of the fourth, Webb attempted to get things going for the Lady Vol offense by doubling down the right field line. Unfortunately for the Big Orange, Fryer fouled out to third, Lapicki flew out to left center and Andrews grounded out to short to up UT's left on base count to four.
Texas-Arlington second baseman Courtney Zink granted the Mavericks just their second base runner of the contest with a clean single into left center leading off the bottom of the fourth. Simpson advanced the occupant up 60 feet into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Ward forced Rebecca Collom to pop-up to first as Huff squeezed the orb for an important second retirement. Washington stepped to the dish and quickly fell behind 0-2 against UT's 6-0 right hander before taking ball one high. The hitter worked the count to 2-2 before flying out harmlessly to Hammond in left field.
For the second time in the contest, Grieve reached safely leading off an inning as the Asheville, N.C., native beat out an infield single to short starting the fifth. The speedster swiped second and improved to third on a sacrifice off the bat of Hammond. Huff came through with some insurance by dropping a surprise squeeze bunt up the first base line allowing Grieve to plate Tennessee's third run.
Ward continued to cruise through the Maverick line-up, retiring the side in order in both the fifth and sixth innings.
Looking to add to its advantage, Andrews christened the top of the seventh with a clean slap single through the right side of the infield. UTA right fielder Heather Fortenberry misplayed the ball allowing it to hop over her glove and race 20 feet by as the runner rolled into second on the play. Grieve walked and Hammond beat out a bunt single to load the bases with still none retired in the frame. Huff stepped into the box facing a huge RBI opportunity and came through with a sacrifice fly into foul territory down the right field line allowing Andrews to score for a 4-0 advantage. Spigner followed with an RBI groundout to short and Burchell with a single back through the middle as the lead grew to six runs. Webb kept the assault going with a clean single through the right side of the infield before a foul pop-up ended the frame with three runs having crossed on four hits, a walk and an error.
Down to their last chance, the Mavericks got consecutive singles from Simpson and Collom to kick-off the bottom of the seventh. That ended Ward's day in the circle as the Tennessee coaching staff made the move to the bullpen, bringing in freshman Cat Hosfield in relief. UTA pinch hitter Kari Karr sacrificed the runners up to second and third with still only one down. An infield misplay on a groundball allowed the third base occupant the opportunity to come home and break-up the shutout. Trailing 6-1 with runners still at first and second, Texas-Arlington could get no closer as Hosfield induced a groundout to third and a pop-up to short to end the match-up.
The Big Orange will return to action at the UCF Early Bird Tournament on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET in a match-up against home-standing UCF. Live stats are expected to be available through utladyvols.com via Gametracker while periodic voicemail updates are being recorded on the Lady Vol Hotline at 865-974-8700 (select box #6).