Feb. 22, 2014
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. -- No. 2/3 Tennessee extended its season-opening win streak to 10 games on Saturday, beating No. 11/12 Nebraska, 5-3, at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, Calif.
Tennessee (10-0) and Nebraska (8-4) both pushed across runs in the first inning. The Lady Vols added two more in the top of the second but the Huskers tied it up with two runs of their own in the bottom of the third. Tennessee took the lead with two more runs in the top of the fifth inning and held the Huskers in check for the remainder of the game.
Senior Ellen Renfroe (5-0) pitched a complete game and held the Huskers to three runs and only one earned run on four hits while striking out nine. Her first strikeout of the game marked the 800th strikeout of her career. She became the second Lady Vol to reach that mark along with Tennessee legend and NCAA record holder, Monica Abbot (2,440 Ks)t.
Leading the way offensively for the Lady Vols were freshmen Megan Geer who went 1-for-5 with a two-RBI, ground-rule double to put Tennessee ahead late in the game and freshman Annie Aldrete who added two hits and an RBI. Sophomore Rainey Gaffin had a solo home run, her first of the year.
Tennessee came out with a bang as Aldrete singled home Madison Shipman with two outs in the first, giving Tennessee the early upper hand, 1-0.
Nebraska threatened in the bottom of the inning and Renfroe almost managed to get out of the jam but a wild pitch with the bases loaded and two outs allowed a run, knotting the game at 1-1.
Tennessee reclaimed the league quickly in the top of the second. Gaffin stroked a solo home run with one out in the inning, putting the Lady Vols back on top, 2-1. Two batters later, Melissa Davin drove in Shipman extending their lead to two - a quick start for Tennessee's offense.
Nebraska wouldn't lay down though. A hit batter and an error gave the Huskers runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the third. Nebraska's Tatum Edwards singled to center field, plating one run and leaving runners on the corners for the Huskers - cutting the Tennessee lead to 3-2. The tying run crossed the plate after a Hannah Akamine attempt to throw out a stealing runner went wide.
The Lady Vols tried to answer back in the top of the fourth but were unable to capitalize with two outs and the bases loaded.
Tennessee finally found an answer when Geer made big on an opportunity for the Lady Vols in the top of the fifth, hitting a bases-loaded ground rule double that scored two runs and put Tennessee back up 5-3.
From there Renfroe hit her stride, blanking Nebraska for the rest of the game. The win was Tennessee's first victory over a ranked opponent on the year.