Sophomore shortstop Ashley Andrews
Feb. 23, 2010
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The No. 21 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (6-2) picked up its sixth straight victory and wrapped up the Troy Cox Classic title with a commanding 10-1 (5 inn.) win over New Mexico State on Tuesday evening at the New Mexico State Softball Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M.
The effort completed one of the most dominant weekends in UT softball history as the Big Orange out scored its five opponents 66-15, hit .467 as a team, posted 11 doubles, four triples and seven home runs, swiped 12 bases and registered double-digits in each contest.
Reigning Southeastern Conference Player of the Week Raven Chavanne finished out what amounted to a perfect weekend at the plate by posting her third 4-for-4 game at the event to go along with three RBIs. The freshman third baseman ended up going 17-of-20 overall for a staggering .850 batting average and singled to lead off all five of UT's match-ups during the tourney. The Thousand Oaks, Calif., native reached base safely all 21 times she stepped into the batter's box, 17 times by hit, twice via error and once by both a fielder's choice and a walk and tied for the team lead with 10 RBIs. She is now hitting .621 for the year with an impressive .645 on-base percentage.
In her first game since returning from an illness, sophomore designated player Jessica Spigner appeared better, registering a perfect 3-for-3 night with a triple, a homer and three RBIs. The Santa Clarita, Calif., native ended up just a double short of becoming the second known Lady Vol ever to hit for the cycle.
Sophomore shortstop Ashley Andrews was 1-for-2 with two runs scored and an RBI as she hit .455 overall at the event with nine RBIs. Freshman second baseman Melissa Brown knocked in the first tally of her brief career as part of a 1-for-3 evening.
In the circle sophomore right hander Cat Hosfield was outstanding, throwing a complete-game, four-hitter with nine strikeouts to improve to 3-2 on the year and a perfect 3-0 at the Troy Cox Classic.
"We're really proud of the way our players came out tonight ready to go," Lady Vol co-head coach Karen Weekly said. "New Mexico State is a very good team with a terrific offense. Cat Hosfield's pitching performance was fantastic, and our speed game really set the tone for our offense. Raven (Chavanne), Kelly (Grieve) and Kat (Dotson) at the top of our line-up are a lot of fun to watch. Raven's effort this weekend overall was nothing short of phenomenal. Playing for a championship against New Mexico State on its home field was a winner-take-all experience that will be valuable as we go on through our season."
For the fifth straight game at the Troy Cox Classic, Chavanne led off the contest with a base hit, this one on a slow bouncer to short. On a steal attempt with junior center fielder Kelly Grieve standing at the plate, the first base umpire ruled that Chavanne left the bag early for an automatic out. Grieve followed with a walk, and then freshman right fielder Kat Dotson ripped a liner but unfortunately right to the third baseman. Grieve swiped second and moved to third on a wild pitch with two outs, but a Lady Vol strikeout left the Asheville, N.C., native stranded.
Hosfield was in control against a strong hitting Aggie line-up in the bottom of the first. The Murfreesboro, Tenn., product coerced a routine grounder to second base from Kylie Randall, struck out left fielder Kandis Jones and forced center fielder Tiare Jennings to hit a grounder to third that Chavanne handled for a quick one-two-three frame.
Playing in her initial contest at the Las Cruces, N.M., event after dealing with an illness, Spigner ripped a base hit back through the middle leading off the top of the second. Senior Erinn Webb followed by ripping a sharp lined single straight to first that reached Aggie infielder Hoku Nohara before she really had a chance to react. After a UT strikeout, Andrews blooped a single into left center for an RBI as Tennessee nabbed a quick 1-0 lead. Following a fielder's choice that advanced the Big Orange runners to second and third with two outs, Chavanne continued her staggering freshman campaign by slapping a base hit into center, plating both runners to make it 3-0. The two singles to open the match-up improved her to 15-for-18 (.833 average) for the weekend.
Nohara became New Mexico State's initial base runner by drawing a walk beginning the bottom of the second inning. Hosfield responded immediately by punching out right fielder Angie Ortega looking at strike three on the outside edge of the dish. Ashley Maroda joined her teammate on the base paths by driving a single just past the left shoulder of Chavanne at third. With runners at first and second, Hosfield K'ed designated player Tiffany Autry. The 5-9 right hander then got a solid defensive play by Andrews at short on a slow roller off the bat of catcher Brittany Clifton to leave the NMSU duo stranded.
Dotson drew a lead-off walk to christen the top of the third, ending the day in the circle for Aggie starter Torrey Schroeder as Carissa Theis was summoned into the match-up in relief. She was greeted rudely by Tiffany Huff as the senior catcher took a ball the other way to left for a single, putting a pair on base with no one retired. Spigner stepped into the batter's box, and facing a 3-2 pitch, drove a double to the wall in right center, scoring two runners to make it 5-0, Tennessee. Following a pair of K's, Andrews drew a vital walk, prolonging the inning for more scoreboard damage to be done. Brown took advantage by knocking in a run on a bouncer through the middle, scoring rookie pinch Leah Taylor from second. Chavanne improved to 3-for-3 on the day with a single through the left side of the infield, plating Andrews and Brown to make it 8-0. With Lady Vol runners standing at second and third, Grieve hit a bouncer to short and an eventual throw was dropped at first base for an error, allowing both UT occupants to score for a nine-run lead.
Hosfield really turned her effort up a notch in the bottom of the third, striking out Conrad, Randall and Jones in order to improve her K total to six through a trio of frames.
The onslaught continued in the top of the fourth for Tennessee as Spigner continued her impressive outing by blasting a solo homer down the left field line. For the Santa Clarita, Calif., native, the big fly was her second of the season and got her within a triple of becoming the second known Lady Vol to hit for the cycle.
New Mexico State's Jennings opened the bottom half of the fourth with a single back to the circle. With one out Ortega was struck by a Hosfield offering, putting runners at first and second. A wild pitch that was well wide of Huff allowed the base occupants to advance up 60 feet into scoring position. UT's hurler made Maroda her eighth strikeout victim of the match-up to get within a single out of getting out of a jam. Unfortunately for the Orange & White, Autry singled through the left side of the infield as Jennings crossed to cut the NMSU deficit to 10-1. Hosfield punched out Clifton to wrap up the inning with no further damage.
Needing two tallies to avoid the run-rule, Randall granted the Aggies some life in the last half of the fifth with a one out single into center fielder. Unfortunately for New Mexico State, Hosfield made an outstanding grab of the next hitter's liner, pivoted and double the runner off first base to end the contest and secure the tournament championship.
No. 21 Tennessee continues its marathon road trip by venturing to Cathedral City, Calif., for the prestigious Cathedral City Classic over Feb. 25-27. During its stay at the event, UT will face Pacific, Syracuse and nationally-ranked Stanford and Ohio State. Live stats will be available through utladyvols.com, while periodic updates will be posted at www.Twitter.com/UTLadyVols.