Feb. 24, 2011
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - In a pitcher's duel between No. 8 Tennessee's (10-2) Ivy Renfroe and UCSB's Andriana Collins on Thursday afternoon at the Cathedral City Classic in Cathedral City, Calif., UT's sophomore came out on top by firing a complete-game, three-hit shutout with a career-high 11 strikeouts to help lead the Big Orange past the Gauchos, 2-0.
Collins had entered the contest for UCSB in possession of an outstanding 0.91 ERA and a 4-2 record from the circle and was as advertised, limiting UT's powerful offense to six total hits.
The big offensive blow came off the bat of Tennessee sophomore second baseman Lauren Gibson. The Pasadena, Md., native delivered a clutch one-out, two-RBI single back through the middle during the fourth inning to mark the lone scoring. Sophomore right fielder Kat Dotson and junior first baseman Shelby Burchell each registered 2-for-3 efforts at the plate, while sophomore left fielder Raven Chavanne was 1-for-3 with her team-best eighth stolen base of the season. Burchell continues to guide the Big Orange in season batting average, now sitting at .552 overall.
After Renfroe ripped through the Gauchos order one-two-three with a pair of strikeouts in the top of the first, UT left a runner stranded in the bottom half following a two-out single to left by Dotson.
Tennessee's 6-0 right hander was definitely on her game from the circle against a free-swinging UCSB line-up, punching out both third baseman Jessica Beristianos and first baseman Lauren Boser in the second to improve her K total to four.
Matching her from UCSB's side was Collins, who had entered the match-up with a miniscule 0.91 ERA. She set down nine of the first 10 Lady Vols she faced before running into some trouble in the fourth inning.
Renfroe had retired the first 10 Gaucho hitters of the contest before allowing a clean single up the middle to left fielder Brooke Putich with one down in the top of the fourth. The Jackson, Tenn., native immediately re-gained control by striking out both second baseman Kathryn Pilpil and Beristianos. That started a string of four straight K's for Renfroe stretching from the end of the fourth into the fifth frame.
With one down in the bottom of the fourth, Dotson's second base knock of the contest got the vital UT rally started. Burchell stepped in and drove an offering the other way through the right side of the infield as Dotson rolled all the way around to third. Inserted as a pinch runner, freshman Tory Lewis made it a pair of Lady Vols in scoring position by stealing her first collegiate base. After falling behind Collins 1-2, Gibson took a ball before ripping a shot just under Collins' glove and back through the middle as both Big Orange occupants scored for a vital 2-0 advantage. A visit to the circle by UCSB's head coach, after Collins issued a walk to freshman shortstop Madison Shipman, seemed to settle the hurler down as consecutive groundouts ended the inning but not before the damage had been done.
Things got a little hairy for the Big Orange with two outs in the top of the sixth as consecutive infield miscues put a pair of UCSB runners aboard. Pilpil laced a base hit through the left side, setting MacKenzie Kane in motion around third on her way to the plate. Inserted into the contest as a defensive sub prior to the start of the sixth, freshman Chelsea O'Connor made the coaching move look like true genius as her strike to the plate was just in time to nail Kane and end the inning with UT still ahead, 2-0.
Despite a two-out single in the top of the seventh from UCSB first baseman Lauren Boser, Tennessee closed out its 10th win of the season in style as sophomore third baseman Melissa Brown made a great catch on a liner in foul territory.
The Lady Vols are back in action on Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. PT, facing San Diego State in the Cathedral City Classic at Big League Dreams Sports Park in Cathedral City, Calif. Live stats will be available for the contest 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.