April 4, 2012
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.- A key two-RBI single off the bat of sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman backed a complete-game effort from junior pitcher Ivy Renfroe as the #10/9 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (28-9, 10-6 Southeastern Conference) battled back from a tough loss to split its Wednesday doubleheader against #9/10 Georgia (30-8, 9-5 SEC) with a 2-1 victory in the nightcap.
The two teams were delayed for one hour and 16 minutes by inclement weather during the bottom of the second as lightning and heavy rain rolled through the Lee Softball Stadium area.
Renfroe scattered six hits in the complete-game effort, allowing one run, walking three and striking out nine in improving to 9-6 on the season and 3-3 in SEC action.
At the plate Shipman was 1-for-3 with a steal and two RBIs, boosting her team-leading total to 37 RBIs. Junior third baseman Raven Chavanne was 1-for-2 with a run scored and her squad-best 17th stolen base, while junior first baseman Melissa Brown (1-for-2) and senior catcher Ashley Andrews (1-for-2) each registered one of Tennessee's base hits.
"Well first of all hats off to both teams," Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said. "That was an amazing doubleheader, very much the same as our doubleheader last month at Alabama. We lose the first game in 11 innings and bounce back to win the second game. Two great teams...Georgia is a really good team, and we knew that after their series last weekend against Florida. I'm proud of our kids and how they got up off the mat. I'm proud of both Ivy and Ellen, they each threw great for us tonight. These were just two well-pitched games by both teams."
Georgia posted a promising threat in the top of the first as designated player Ashley Razey walked with two down and was soon joined on the base paths via infield single from catcher Kristyn Sandberg. Renfroe responded to the threat by inducing a pop-up to third base by UGA first baseman Tess Sito, leaving a Bulldog duo stranded.
Chavanne walked starting Tennessee's half of the first and quickly advanced to second on a wild pitch by Georgia starter Morgan Montemayor. A groundout by junior right fielder Kat Dotson moved the UT speedster within 60 feet of pay dirt, but she remained right there as a strikeout and a groundout ended the opening frame.
Renfroe really put her foot down from the circle in the top of the second, striking out the side as Bulldog third baseman Gracie Goulder, left fielder Brittney Hubbard and right fielder Anna Swafford went down on strikes.
In the bottom of the second with two down and a 1-1 count on sophomore left fielder Melissa Davin, lightning flashed almost directly over Lee Softball Stadium. The inclement weather resulted in a delay of one hour and 16 minutes, and on resumption, Davin lined the first pitch she received from Montemayor directly to third to end a very long half-inning.
With UT's 6-0 hurler controlling things from the circle, Andrews christened the bottom of the third with a base knock just over the infield. After a fielder's choice from sophomore center fielder Tory Lewis, Chavanne singled on a bunt. With a pair of Lady Vols on base and two down after a strikeout, Georgia made the decision to walk junior second baseman Lauren Gibson intentionally to get to Shipman. That move backfired as the 6-1 shortstop blooped a two-RBI single just onto the outfield grass, granting the Big Orange a 2-0 advantage. Senior designated player Shelby Burchell nearly brought another run across with a blooper of her own, but UGA's Ashley Pauly made a terrific over-the-shoulder catch to conclude the scoring outburst.
Brown battled Montemayor over nine pitches before singling through the infield to open the bottom of the fourth. Hannah Trainer came into the contest to pinch run for Brown but was quickly retired as a result of a grounder by Davin to third that was thrown to second for the initial out. Davin swiped second with Andrews at the plate to register her third stolen base of the season. After a strikeout for the second retirement, freshman Cheyanne Tarango stepped to plate in place of Lewis. A wild pitch moved Davin up to third, and it looked like she would score off of Tarango's shot to the right side of the infield. However, second baseman Ashley Pauly made a diving stop in the gap and rolled the ball to Tess Sito at first to put an end to the UT scoring threat.
Georgia threatened in the top of the fifth as a lead-off infield single from Hubbard and a one-out base knock to left by Niaja Griffin put a pair of Bulldogs on heading to the top of the order. The duo was left stranded, however, as Renfroe registered her seventh K of the contest on a strikeout of Wilson and handled a chopper back to the circle from Pauly.
Razey reached for the `Dawgs to open the top of the sixth, walking on five Renfroe pitches. Following a fielder's choice, first baseman Tess Sito ripped a sharp single through the left side of the infield, placing a pair of the bags with one down. A walk issued to third baseman Gracie Goulder loaded the bases, setting the stage for a sac fly by Hubbard as UGA cut its deficit to 2-1. On the drive to right, UT's Dotson made a great catch on the run in the corner to prevent more damage. Swafford stepped to the dish and battled to a full count before swinging and missing at strike three, ending the scoring outburst.
Facing a last chance in regulation, Georgia just missed tying the contest at two after Wilson blasted a one-out drive to deep centerfield that was caught on the warning track by Lewis. Pauly blooped a ball over third that stayed just inches inside the left field line with two down to give the Bulldogs some life. Unlike the first game of the doubleheader, the Big Orange wouldn't allow UGA to muster any late inning heroics. UT's Chavanne concluded the game by handling a chopper from Razey to third and firing on to first for the win.