Feb. 25, 2012
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Chalk up a Saturday sweep for the #9 Tennessee Lady Vol softball squad (9-3) at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla., as the Big Orange got RBI's from junior second baseman Lauren Gibson (0-for-2) and junior designated player Kat Dotson (1-for-4) in helping register a 3-2 victory over Hofstra.
Junior third baseman Raven Chavanne (2-for-4), sophomore left fielder Tory Lewis (2-for-3, run) and senior outfielder Holly Baker (2-for-2) each posted a pair of UT's 10 total hits in the match-up. Chavanne currently boasts a .625 batting average (10-for-16) over four games during her initial weekend on the field in 2012.
In the circle junior pitcher Ivy Renfroe got the win, improving to 2-3 on the season while allowing three hits, walking one and striking out four over 4.0 innings of effort. Sophomore reliever Ellen Renfroe earned her second save of the campaign after permitting a pair of runs on three hits in 3.0 frames.
"I was really pleased with the attitude our kids had today," Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Karen Weekly said. "They came out fired up and understood that Illinois State and Hofstra are two really tough teams. We kept our nose to the grindstone and really had to grind out the last one (Hofstra), but the kids did a really good job putting some insurance runs on the scoreboard in the seventh."
Hofstra got a two-out rally started in the bottom of the first against Ivy Renfroe, loading the bases via a walk issued to shortstop Becca Bigler and consecutive infield singles off the bats of right fielder Tessa Ziemba and first baseman Jess Hirschbuhl. UT escaped the jam with no damage done, however, as catcher Courtney Crews lifted a fly ball to left that Lewis caught routinely to conclude the frame.
After managing a single base runner during both the first and second innings via hit batters, Tennessee's offense managed to break in front in the top of the third with the help of the Lady Vol speed game. Lewis blooped a single into the outfield to start the frame and was soon joined on the bags by Chavanne on a perfectly placed bunt single. Andrews drew a walk off Hofstra starter Erin Wade to load the bases, setting the stage for a long sacrifice fly off the bat of Gibson as the Big Orange nabbed a 1-0 advantage.
The Pride got something going opening the bottom of the fourth on the benefit of an error and a hit batter. Ivy Renfroe responded to the threat by striking out designated player D.J. Slugh, inducing a grounder to third and a routine pop-up to short as Hofstra's left stranded total climbed to six.
Tennessee's Lewis again managed to reach opening an inning as her shot to short in the top of the fifth was misplayed by shortstop Bigler. Chavanne picked up her second hit of the match-up on a drive through the infield, improving her to a staggering 10-for-15 (.667) to that point in her initial weekend of action in 2012. Unfortunately, a popped up sacrifice bunt attempt, a fly ball to center and a strikeout left the Big Orange duo stranded on the base paths.
The move was made to summon Ellen Renfroe in for a relief appearance beginning the bottom of the fifth, and she was immediately greeted by a bloop single to left off the bat of Hofstra center fielder Rachael Senatore. The Jackson, Tenn., native settled down, however, inducing a ground ball to third, striking out Bigler and getting Ziemba to lift a fly ball to left as another Pride runner was left in scoring position.
Tennessee loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the sixth via consecutive singles from Baker, junior Whitney Hammond and Lewis. Chavanne stepped to the dish and blasted a promising shot to the deep outfield. The Thousand Oaks, Calif., native just missed getting all of it, however, as the drive was tracked down just short of the fence for the third out.
Starting the bottom of the sixth, Hofstra's Hirschbuhl managed to draw a walk off Ellen Renfroe and soon moved into scoring position via a perfect sacrifice bunt. Following a fly out to right center, second baseman Tori Rocha received a free pass, placing the potential go-ahead tally at first. Third baseman Krista Thorn couldn't deliver in the big spot, however, as her pop-up to short was squeezed by Shipman to end the threat.
Bidding for some valuable insurance in the top of the seventh, Andrews got the Lady Vols off to a quick start with a lead-off base knock. With one retired Shipman laced a shot through the infield, putting Tennessee occupants at the corners. That set the stage for a clutch RBI single off the bat of Dotson as Andrews scored easily from third to make it 2-0 Big Orange. On a fly ball by junior first baseman Melissa Brown, Shipman began advancing up 60 feet to third following the catch. The throw from the outfield got away from the cut-off fielder and rolled to the fencing down the third base line as Shipman raced home to make it 3-0.
Hofstra refused to go quietly in the bottom of the seventh as Lavagnino singled and Bigler walked with one down in the frame. Hirschburl battled for a walk to load the bases with two down, setting the stage for a clutch, two-RBI base knock through the middle of the infield by Crews to cut the Pride's deficit to 3-2. Ellen Renfroe bore down from the circle as pinch hitter Erin Trippi lifted a little pop-up to third. Chavanne raced in quickly from her defensive position to make the catch on the run and end the contest.