April 17, 2012
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.- Sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman knocked in her Southeastern Conference-leading 51st and 52nd RBIs of the season and junior Ivy Renfroe scattered four hits in securing her ninth-consecutive pitching victory as the #8 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (36-9) posted a 5-0 triumph over Memphis in the opener of a Tuesday doubleheader at the Lee Softball Stadium.
With the win UT also equaled its longest winning streak of the 2012 campaign at nine consecutive wins, tying its best previous skein that stretched from Feb. 24-March 9.
Shipman led the Big Orange offense by going 2-for-4 with the two RBIs, junior first baseman Melissa Brown was 2-for-3 with a double and a RBI and senior catcher Ashley Andrews was a perfect 2-for-2 with a tally.
In the circle Renfroe improved to 14-6 overall, allowing just four hits in her seventh solo shutout of the campaign. The 6-0 right hander out of Jackson, Tenn., walked one and struck out five over 7.0 innings of effort.
Each team managed a base runner in the opening frame as Memphis third baseman Laura Curtis recorded an infield single with one out in the top half, and junior third baseman Raven Chavanne walked to christen Tennessee's half of the first. The UM runner never moved, while the Lady Vol speedster advanced within 60 feet of pay dirt on her team-best 22nd steal of the season and a groundout, but was left stranded via an infield pop-up.
The Big Orange nabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second with the extra benefit of some Tiger assistance. Senior left fielder Shelby Burchell was struck by a pitch from Memphis starter Ellen Roberts, quickly advancing into scoring position on a passed ball. An infield base knock by Brown and a hit by pitch as freshman designated player Hannah Akamine was struck loaded the bags full of Lady Vols with still none out. Rookie pinch hitter Cheyanne Tarango lifted a fly ball into the outfield that was dropped for an error as Burchell plated an unearned run to make it 1-0. Unfortunately, that was all Tennessee would get as a fielder's choice, that retired the lead runner at the dish, a strikeout and a pop-up to third left the bases juiced.
Memphis designated player Jami Miller got the Tigers off to a promising start in the top of the third by driving a double into the right center field gap to christen the frame. A groundout to third that moved the runner and a swinging bunt off the bat of shortstop Morgan Mosby placed occupants at the corners with just one retired. Third baseman Laura Curtis hit a slow bouncer to second that was bobbled briefly by UT's Lauren Gibson. The runner from third hesitated, allowing Gibson the time to recover and fire a strike to the plate as Andrews applied the tag to prevent a Tiger run from scoring. Despite battling Renfroe over seven pitches, pitcher Ellen Roberts grounded out routinely to second to conclude the threat with no scoreboard damage done.
UT's Shipman manufactured a run on her own in the bottom of the fifth to give the Lady Vols a 2-0 advantage. The Valencia, Calif., native ripped a single into the outfield with one down and then began giving the Tigers absolute fits on the base paths. The 6-1 shortstop took off for second, stealing her 14th base of the season to reach scoring position. Just seconds later, the UT runner raced for third as Memphis catcher Amber Lindahl's throw sailed into left field allowing Shipman the chance to stroll home for a two-run lead. A walk to Burchell was then cashed in via a double off the wall from Brown as Burchell raced all the way around from first base to make it 3-0.
The Tigers got the leadoff batter on in both the fifth and sixth innings on a bloop single by left fielder Ashleigh King and a walk to Curtis, respectively. Renfroe wouldn't allow Memphis' offense to string anything together, however, as Tennessee maintained its three-run lead.
A two-bagger off the bat of Andrews got the Lady Vol offense started in the bottom of the sixth. Chavanne walked and junior right fielder Kat Dotson was struck by a Roberts offering, loading the bases once again for Tennessee. Shipman delivered in the clutch with a blast off the wall for a very long single as two runs scored, improving the advantage to 5-0.
A miscue on the Tennessee infield allowed UM lead-off hitter, right fielder Sara Pearson, to reach beginning the Tigers' last chance in the top of the seventh. King drove a promising shot to center that was tracked down on the run by sophomore Tory Lewis for the initial out of the frame. Renfroe finished it off from there, inducing a pop-up to first off the bat of Miller and getting a weak liner to short from second baseman Alyssa Palmieri to complete UT's ninth-straight victory.