March 21, 2014
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Madison Shipman smashed a grand slam and Haley Tobler hit a two-run homer in a seven-run third inning to propel No. 3 Tennessee to a 11-2 victory over South Carolina in its SEC home opener on Friday.
Tennessee (25-3, 3-1 SEC) scored one in the first inning, three in the second and seven in the third. South Carolina (17-9, 2-5) scored two runs in the first.
Shipman finished 2-for-3 with the grand slam, five RBIs and one run scored. Melissa Davin had one double and three RBIs in the win. Taylor Koenig was a perfect 3-for-3 with one run. Megan Geer went 2-for-3 at the plate with one RBI and two runs. Tobler was 1-for-2 with the two-run homer. Rainey Gaffin was 2-for-2 with two runs.
Ellen Renfroe improved to 17-0 with the win. Renfroe tossed five innings with four strikeouts and one earned run allowed.
Gamecocks starter Nickie Blue (10-5) took the loss after giving up six runs over four innings. Lakyn Shull allowed five earned runs without recording an out.
South Carolina jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. With one out, Victoria Williams knocked an RBI double to right center to plate Ashlyn Masters. Three batters later, Sarah Mooney reached on a fielding error at third base and pinch runner Brook Barnhill scored on the play.
The Lady Vols answered with one run in the bottom of the first. With Geer on second base and one out, Shipman knocked an RBI single to right field and advanced to second on the throw. Geer scored on the play to cut the Gamecocks' lead to 2-1.
Tennessee's bats caught fire in the bottom of the second inning as UT scored three runs to take a 4-2 lead. With one out and the bases loaded, Geer connected for an RBI single off the right field wall to score Hannah Akamine and even the game at 2-2. Davin then ripped a two-run double to right field to score Gaffin and Koenig and give Tennessee a two-run lead.
UT poured on seven more runs in the bottom of the third. With one out, Tobler clobbered a 1-2 pitch off Blue over the wall in center field for a two-run home run. The homer was the first of Tobler's career. Davin drew a bases-loaded walk and Shipman drilled a line-drive grand slam over the left field wall to stretch Tennessee's lead to 11-2.
Tennessee and South Carolina will square off in Game 2 of the series on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET. Saturday's game will feature a free live video broadcast on UTSports.com and a radio broadcast on WNML 990 AM with Brian Rice on the call.