March 3, 2012
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.-Big Orange freshman catcher Hannah Akamine's first-career HR, a six-run Lady Vol fourth inning and a one-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts by sophomore pitcher Ellen Renfroe highlighted a commanding 7-0 victory for #8 Tennessee softball (11-3) over Memphis on Saturday morning in the Tennessee Classic at Lee Softball Stadium.
Akamine was 1-for-3 at the plate with her two-run shot, junior left fielder Melissa Brown was 1-for-3 while blasting her second HR of the season, sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman was 2-for-4 with a two-RBI double and both junior Lauren Gibson (1-for-3, RBI) and senior right fielder Shelby Burchell (1-for-2, RBI) each recorded a two-bagger.
Ellen Renfroe was truly outstanding in the circle for the Lady Vols, carrying a no-hitter into the fifth inning before settling for a one-hit blanking. The solo shutout proved to be her seventh of the campaign, while the 13 strikeouts marked the fifth time the Jackson, Tenn., hurler had reached the 10-K plateau in 2012.
Renfroe opened the contest in truly dominant fashion striking out Memphis shortstop Morgan Mosby, third baseman Laura Curtis and first baseman Jessica Phillips in order in the top of the first.
The Big Orange managed the game's first hit in the bottom half of the opening frame as junior designated player Kat Dotson ripped a one-out shot through the infield. Gibson and Shipman each made solid contact, driving shots deep into the outfield, but not quite far enough as the UT runner was left stranded in scoring position.
With Tennessee's hurler in possession of an impressive five K's over the first six Tiger batters she had faced, Brown granted the Lady Vols a 1-0 advantage by leading off the bottom of the second with a towering solo HR.
The Tigers finally got their initial base runner starting the top of the third as second baseman Alyssa Palmieri drew a four-pitch walk. Renfroe responded to the free pass with a strikeout of left fielder Breslin Perry before getting Mosby to bounce harmlessly to junior Raven Chavanne at third to end the frame.
Shipman christened the bottom of the fourth with a sharply lined single and quickly swiped second to reach scoring position. That set a six-run inning in motion as Burchell followed with an RBI double down the line, plating the runner from second to make it 2-0. With senior pinch runner Holly Baker stationed at second, Akamine blasted her first collegiate HR, a two-run shot, to improve the Lady Vol lead to 4-0. A single by freshman first baseman Cheyanne Tarango and back-to-back two-out walks drawn by Chavanne and Dotson loaded the bases. Gibson worked the count full at 3-2 before being struck by a Jordan Richwood offering, forcing in a tally to improve the UT lead to five runs. With the bags still packed, Shipman stepped into the batter's box and hammered a double to the fence as a pair scampered home for a 7-0 advantage.
Memphis catcher Amber Lindahl finally broke up Renfroe's no-hit bit by lining a fifth-inning single just inside the third base bag and down the left field line. On a little blooper off the bat of UM center fielder Ashleigh King that threatened to drop over short, Shipman raced back and made a great running back-handed grab for the second retirement of the frame. Renfroe then finished off the inning by posting her 10th strikeout of the match-up.
Dotson getting struck by a pitch, a Gibson two-bagger and a Burchell free pass loaded the bags for the Big Orange with two down in the bottom of the sixth. Akamine absolutely ripped a liner to short that threatened to end the game via run-rule but Memphis' Mosby dove fully extended to her right to snag the ball off the ground and send things on to the seventh.
From there Renfroe finished off her dominant effort via a one-two-three top of the seventh with two strikeouts as UT prevailed, 7-0.