March 6, 2010
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The first collegiate home run from freshman designated player Lauren Gibson, a clutch lead-off double in the seventh inning from rookie left fielder Raven Chavanne and a walk-off wild pitch by Texas starter Blaire Luna that allowed the winning run to score guided the No. 20 Lady Vols (10-4) to a 3-2 upset of the No. 13 Longhorns (16-3) on Saturday afternoon in Tennessee Classic action at the Lee Softball Stadium.
Gibson was 1-for-3 in the match-up and made her one hit count with a long two-run homer to center during the second inning. Chavanne went 1-for-4 with a rally-opening, seventh-inning double and scored the winning run, while freshman right fielder Kat Dotson (1-for-3), junior center fielder Kelly Grieve (1-for-3) and senior first baseman Erinn Webb (1-for-2, double) each managed one of UT's base knocks.
Sophomore Cat Hosfield picked up her sixth win of the season in relief, working a hitless seventh frame with a strikeout. Freshman starter Ivy Renfroe allowed two runs on five hits over six frames with a walk and five K's in taking a tough-luck no decision.
Renfroe opened the match-up against the power-hitting Longhorns by retiring center fielder Courtney Craig on a line drive to third and designated player Lexy Bennett via a strikeout. Shortstop Loryn Johnson ripped an offering through the left side of the infield for a single, but catcher Amy Hooks bounced out harmlessly to third to end Texas' initial inning.
Dotson granted the Lady Vols their initial base runner in the bottom of the second by drawing a walk against Texas starter Luna. She never moved, however, as a strikeout ended Tennessee's turn at the plate.
A lead-off walk issued to Huff opening the bottom of the second came back to bite the Longhorn hurler in a major way. Gibson stepped in and launched her first collegiate homer, a two-run shot to deep center, to grant the Lady Vols a big 2-0 lead.
In the circle for the Big Orange, Renfroe was on cruise control through three innings, retiring six of seven Texas batters over a two-frame stretch.
In the bottom of the third a throwing error by Texas third baseman Nadia Taylor on a roller from Grieve started a Big Orange scoring chance. A wild pitch and then a two-out walk issued to sophomore third baseman Jessica Spigner put Lady Vol runners at the corners. Luna posted her seventh K of the contest, however, to escape the jam with no additional scoreboard damage.
The `Horns managed its first serious offensive threat in the fourth as a lead-off single by Johnson and a one-out base knock from Taylor set Texas up with runners at first and third. Renfroe wouldn't succumb, however, as the freshman right hander struck out right fielder Tallie Thrasher and induced a long flyout to center by left fielder Taylor Hoagland to escape the jam.
With one down in the top of the sixth and Tennessee still holding on to a two-score lead, a Lady Vol infield miscue on a Johnson bouncer granted the `Horns a one-out base runner. Hooks stepped in to the batter's box and advanced pinch runner Torie Schmidt up 60 feet on a grounder to second. Taylor made solid contact the other way, but freshman second baseman Melissa Brown handled her third putout of the inning as Renfroe moved within three retirements of her first career shutout.
After the Lady Vols left runners stranded at second and third in the bottom of the sixth while looking for what would have been valuable insurance, Texas stepped to the plate in the seventh facing its last chance in regulation. Right fielder Tallie Thrasher christened the frame with a clean single through the right side. Hoagland followed with a long two-run shot to left center, dead-locking the contest at 2-2, spoiling the shutout and ending Tennessee's scoreless streak at 20.1 frames. That ended Renfroe's time in the circle as Hosfield entered in relief and immediately settled the game down. The Murfreesboro, Tenn., native retired second baseman Raygan Feight, first baseman Shelby Savony and Craig in order to end the `Horns half of the seventh.
That brought Tennessee up with an opportunity to end the game in the bottom of the seventh, and the Lady Vols did just that. Chavanne had the big blow of the inning with a lead-off double into the gap in left center. Grieve was hit by a pitch and Dotson singled on a bunt out in front of the plate, loading the bases with no one retired. Following a UT strikeout and with Huff standing at the plate, Luna uncorked a wild pitch to the backstop as Chavanne raced home with the winning tally.
The Tennessee Classic at Lee Softball Stadium wraps up on Sunday with three games on the slate, starting with No. 13 Texas versus Illinois State at 11 a.m. ET. The 20th-ranked Lady Vols will be in action at approximately 1:30 and 4 p.m. ET against Ohio and Illinois State, respectively. Check out Tennessee Classic Tournament Central at www.utladyvols.com for live stats and audio links.