June 2, 2013
OKLAHOMA CITY - Strong pitching from Ivy Renfroe and Ellen Renfroe, Lauren Gibson's first-inning homer and a clutch pinch hit walk for Lexi Overstreet in the sixth helped to send the University of Tennessee softball team back to the Women's College World Series Championship Series for the first time since 2007.
The Lady Vols (52-10) defeated Texas (51-10) 2-1 in a two-hour and 36-minute pitcher's duel that saw Tennessee get on top quickly and hang on to remain perfect in the NCAA Tournament and advance to the finals.
The Lady Vols extended their lead to 2-0 in the sixth inning when Lexi Overstreet, pinch hitting for Hannah Akamine, drew a bases-load walk on a full count to score Gibson from third, ultimately the game-winning run.
Tennessee will face Oklahoma in the first game of title series on Monday night at 7 p.m. CT/8 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The Sooners knocked off Washington, 6-2, on Sunday night to reach the final series.
Ivy and Ellen Renfroe combined for a five hit, one run outing while sitting down seven batters via strikeout. Ivy (22-4) notched six of those strikeouts in four and two thirds innings of work before Ellen came in to work Tennessee out of a jam in the fifth inning and go on to make the save, her third of the season.
The Lady Vols got on top quickly in the first when Lauren Gibson, who hit her first collegiate home run off Blaire Luna back in 2010, had a case of déjà vu in her first at-bat on Sunday, launching a two-out, 2-0 pitch from Luna to the stands in left field for a solo blast giving Tennessee an early 1-0 lead.
Tennessee's lead grew to 2-0 in the top of the sixth as Overstreet took two of Luna's rise balls earning the game-winning RBI on her pinch-hit walk.
Texas made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh when Lindsey Stephens crushed the first offering of the inning from Ellen Renfroe to deep centerfield. But Renfroe buckled down making two of the next three outs on her own, including snaring a line drive over her head for the final out of the game.
Gibson finished the game 1-for-2 with two walks while scoring both of Tennessee's runs in the victory.