March 10, 2012
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -Lady Vol sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman and junior right fielder Kat Dotsoneach went 2-for-3 at the dish with an RBI but #3 Florida (22-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) managed to even its high-profile series against #9 Tennessee (15-4, 1-1 SEC) with a 5-2 Saturday victory in front of a record 1,713 fans at Lee Softball Stadium.
Junior Ivy Renfroesuffered the defeat in the circle, falling to 4-4 on the season after allowing five runs on 11 hits with four walks and a pair of strikeouts during a complete-game effort. The Jackson, Tenn., native also saw her consecutive scoreless innings streak that dated back to Feb. 24th end at 18 straight frames.
UT junior third baseman Raven Chavanne (1-for-4, run), junior second baseman Lauren Gibson (1-for-4) and freshman designated player Cheyanne Tarango(1-for-3) each contributed one of Tennessee's seven total hits off UF starter Hannah Rogers.
"I was disappointed in the way we played today," Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weeklysaid. "We told our team that they would come out slugging, talking about Florida, and they did. We did come up with two runs in the first, but after that, it just didn't seem like we attacked very much. I thought we hit passively, and I think that's the story of the game."
After a couple of quick outs in the top of the first, Renfroe saw her scoreless streak end at 18 straight innings as shortstop Cheyenne Coyle drilled a solo home run off the scoreboard in left center for a 1-0 lead. Designated player Lauren Haeger kept the two-out threat going by ripping a 3-2 offering back through the middle of the infield for a single. A chopper to short by catcher Kelsey Horton ended the frame, but not before Florida had nabbed a quick advantage.
Chavanne got an immediate Lady Vol answer underway with a lead-off single in UT's half of the opening frame. Consecutive grounders put a pair of outs on the scoreboard, but succeeded in moving the Lady Vol speedster within 60 feet of scoring. Chavanne soon trotted home easily as Shipman ripped an RBI single to the outfield, dead-locking the score at 1-1. Dotson stepped into the batter's box and rocketed a double to the wall as Shipman rolled around all the way from first to give the Big Orange a 2-1 lead.
The offensive theme continued for the Gators in the top of the second as first baseman Ensley Gammel and right fielder Kasey Fagan christened the frame with back-to-back hits. After a groundout advanced both runners up 60 feet, left fielder Jess Damico ripped a shot back through the middle, tying the scoreboard count at 2-2. With two retired center fielder Michelle Moultrie managed a high-chopping single just over the circle, loading the bags for Coyle. She followed by lacing a two-RBI single to left, pushing UF back in front, 4-2. A "web gem-type" diving play by UT's second baseman Gibson on a Haeger bouncer finished the offensive outburst and kept the Orange & Blue from adding anything else.
Each team left a base runner stranded in the third as Florida received a one-out walk from Gammel and Tennessee a two-out single off the bat of Gibson.
UF added to its advantage with two outs in the top of the fourth as Haeger ripped a shot just up the middle past a diving Gibson as Sami Fagan scored for a 5-2 lead.
Tennessee attempted to answer back during the bottom of the fourth as a Burchell one-out walk and a two-out single from Tarango placed a pair of Lady Vols on base. Unfortunately, a slow chopper to UF third baseman Sami Fagan was corralled routinely and tossed on to Gammel at first to conclude the threat as the Big Orange left a pair stranded.
The fifth inning was dominated by the pitchers. The Gators and Lady Vols each went down quietly, sending three up to the plate.
Still trailing by a trio of runs, back-to-back singles by UT's Shipman and Dotson got the Lady Vols off to a terrific start in the bottom of the sixth. That ended Rogers' stint in the circle as Haeger entered in relief for the Gators. The new hurler immediately walked Burchell, packing the bags full of Lady Vols with still no one retired. Brown ripped a shot to third that was corralled by Sami Fagan, who tossed home to nail the lead runner for an important first out. The new pitcher quickly put an end to the Lady Vol threat by striking out the next two Big Orange batters as UT's left stranded count rose to seven.
Florida looked to add even more insurance in the seventh after Haeger singled through the left side to begin the frame. A sac bunt by Kelsey Horton advanced the runner up to second with only one out. Fagan walked following an eight pitch at bat, bringing up Fagan who bunted the ball up to catcher Ashley Andrews. The Tumwater, Wash., native made a terrific diving catch while racing over to her left near the Lady Vol dugout. Renfroe recorded the final out of the top of the inning, inducing Jess Damico to ground out to Shipman.
With the top of the Big Orange order up in the seventh, Chavanne, Andrews and Gibson each grounded out to the left side of the infield, concluding UF's 5-2 victory.
Now dead-locked at 1-1, the squads will battle for the series win tomorrow as first pitch from Lee Softball Stadium is slated for noon ET.