Feb. 12, 2011
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
DELAND, Fla. - No. 4 Tennessee (2-0) gained the program's 700th all-time victory and freshman pitcher Ellen Renfroe picked up a triumph in her collegiate debut as the Lady Vols routed Stetson, 11-0 ( 5 inn.), on Saturday afternoon at the Stetson Leadoff Classic in DeLand, Fla.
UT Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly discusses Tennessee's opening day at Stetson
Rookie hurler Ellen Renfroe was impressive in her initial collegiate start from the circle, tossing a three-hit shutout with six strikeouts in garnering her first UT pitching victory.
The top three in the Big Orange batting order wreaked major havoc on Stetson as the trio of outfielders combined for seven of UT's 13 hits, seven total RBIs and seven runs scored. Outfielders Kat Dotson (3-for-4, two runs, four RBIs) and Raven Chavanne (2-for-3, three runs, stolen base, three RBIs) each blasted their first HRs of the season, while Kelly Grieve posted a 2-for-4 effort with two tallies, an RBI and a steal. Freshman shortstop Madison Shipman continued her impressive career-opening day by posting a 2-for-3 performance with a pair of RBIs, as the Valencia, Calif., native hit .667 (4-for-6) over Saturday's two contests.
On the day Dotson and junior first baseman Shelby Burchell each hit .800 (4-for-5) overall, while Dotson and Chavanne (.429 for Sat.) led the attack with six RBIs each.
For the second straight contest Tennessee wasted no time getting a lead as UT put up a two-spot with two down in the top of the first. Dotson got the inning started by blasting a solo shot to deep right field. Shipman followed with a base knock to third base and quickly swiped second. With a runner in scoring position, sophomore second baseman Lauren Gibson knocked in her fourth run combined over the two contests to plate Shipman for a 2-0 lead.
Entering the contest for her initial start, Renfroe worked to a full count against lead-off hitter center fielder Chrissy Moreno before coercing a simple bouncer back to the circle that she handled herself. The Jackson, Tenn., product got plenty of fielding practice in the first inning against Stetson as both shortstop Chelsey Trotto and designated player Chelsea Whalley also grounded back to the circle with UT's 6-0 hurler handling all three plays.
Tennessee junior third baseman Jessica Spigner christened the top of the second inning with a single through the left side. Unfortunately, a tailor-made double play bouncer to second base cut down junior pinch runner Holly Baker via a 6-4-3 turn. Burchell followed immediately with a single to the wall in right center, her fourth hit on Saturday, but the double play took the steam out of the inning as junior catcher Ashley Andrews popped up to second to end the frame with no damage done.
An error by Stetson first baseman Katelyn Perna on a chopper off the bat of Chavanne came back to hurt the Hatters during the top of the third. The Thousand Oaks, Calif., native quickly swiped second and advanced to third via a single to right by Grieve. After Tennessee's senior speedster joined her teammate in stealing a bag, Dotson stepped to the dish and ripped a base knock up the middle, plating both occupants for a 4-0 Lady Vol advantage.
It turned out it was former South Carolina Gamecock who managed Stetson's first hit as transfer third baseman Jill Semento singled through the left side to begin the bottom of the third. Renfroe rebounded nicely to strikeout new pitcher Meredith Owen and left fielder Brittany Knipp consecutively. Morello reached via an absolutely perfect bunt back up the third base line, placing a pair aboard for Trotto. She got ahead in the count 3-0, but lost the battle as Renfroe coerced a bouncer that Shipman handled routinely for a fielder's choice, leaving the Hatter duo stranded.
The Big Orange blew the contest wide open in the top of the fourth and it all started with a Stetson error on a bouncer by Burchell. With one retired Chavanne singled to third and Grieve followed with a base knock back through the middle as freshman pinch runner Tory Lewis scored the first run of her career. With Tennessee leading 5-0 Dotson knocked in a run via a single through the right side. Then Shipman delivered a base hit to plate two more setting the count in favor of the Lady Vols, 8-0.
With Renfroe cruising from the circle, Co-Head Coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly began substituting freely in the top of the fifth. Freshman first baseman Kourtny Thomas christened the frame by driving her first collegiate hit sharply through the left side of the infield. Rookie Melissa Davin reached via a fielder's choice as a throw attempting to catch Thomas at second was thrown away for an error. That set the stage for Chavanne as she blasted a three-run shot to right.
Stetson second baseman Alyssa Oddo became Renfroe's sixth strikeout victim starting the last of the fifth. Following a Semento single, Hatter relief pitcher Courtney Gunby laced a bouncer back to the circle. Renfroe fielded her position, pivoted quickly and tossed to Shipman covering second base. The shortstop's throw to first proved low, but Thomas stretched out to make an amazing catch and complete the game-ending, twin killing.
The Lady Vols advance on to their final day at the Stetson Leadoff Classic on Sun., Feb. 13, against Boston College (10 a.m.) and Michigan State (12:30 p.m.). Live stats will be available through Gametracker and periodical updates will be posted on Twitter. Check both http://twitter.com/LadyVol_Sftball and http://twitter.com/UTLadyVols for more information on Tennessee Lady Vol softball.