Feb. 26, 2011
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - No. 8 Tennessee (13-2) utilized an outstanding effort from the speed game to run its winning streak to five on a chilly Friday night at the Cathedral City Classic in Cathedral City, Calif., by topping Loyola Marymount, 7-2.
The top three hitters in the Big Orange order (Raven Chavanne, Kelly Grieve, Kat Dotson) combined for seven of UT's 13 total hits, three steals, a HR and four RBIs. Tennessee was guided offensively by sophomore left fielder Raven Chavanne as the Thousand Oaks, Calif., native posted a 3-for-4 performance at the plate with a two-run homer and a steal. Senior center fielder Kelly Grieve was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs, sophomore right fielder Kat Dotson went 2-for-4 with a steal, freshman shortstop Madison Shipman was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a stolen base, junior catcher Ashley Andrews was 1-for-3 with a triple and an RBI and junior third baseman Jessica Spigner knocked in two tallies on a tone-setting first inning base knock.
UT freshman right hander Ellen Renfroe struck out a career-high nine batters over four no-hit innings of relief while walking just one in improving to 6-1 on the season. Junior starter Cat Hosfield permitted two runs on two hits with a walk and a K over three frames of work.
"Our speed game was really good for us this evening," Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said. "Raven Chavanne continued her hot hitting this weekend and is now at .600 for the tournament. What was really nice tonight was Raven's two-run home run which came at a critical time for us against LMU. Cat Hosfield pitched well early and then Ellen Renfroe came on in relief and struck out a career-high in just four innings. Karen (Co-Head Coach Weekly) and I are pleased with our players' efficiency so far in this event."
As per usual Tennessee's offense wasted no time getting things going in the top of the first, tallying two runs on three hits. Chavanne and Grieve delivered back-to-back infield singles and stolen bases to open the frame, putting occupants on second and third. Following a Lady Vol K and a fielder's choice that threatened to de-rail the assault, Spigner came through with a clutch two-out single to left, plating a pair for a 2-0 lead.
In the circle for the Big Orange, Hosfield was in firm control early on by retiring the first nine Lion batters she faced in the contest. In fact during the bottom of the third, the 5-9 right hander required just five total pitches to get out of the frame in order.
The Lady Vol advantage continued to grow in the top of the fourth as Shipman got something started with a base knock through the right side on a 0-2 pitch from LMU's Stevie Goldstein. Andrews laced a shot just inside the chalk down the right field line that rattled around off the fencing in foul ground for a run-scoring triple. On the play, Shipman raced all the way around from first, eventually sliding in headfirst just under the tag by Lion catcher Kathryn Dutton. After a UT groundout, Chavanne crushed a 1-0 offering to deep center field, her third big fly of the year to equal the entire HR output from her rookie season, to make it 5-0.
Hosfield ran into some trouble starting the bottom of the fourth as center fielder Danielle Smith registered the first LMU hit of the contest on a blooper to short left. Second baseman Amy Charpentier battled over eight pitches before drawing a walk to put a pair aboard with still none retired. A wild pitch advanced both into scoring position, setting the stage for a two-run double that dropped just inside the left field line off the bat of shortstop Sam Fischer to cut the deficit to 5-2. That ended Hosfield's time in the circle as Renfroe was summoned into the match-up in relief. The Jackson, Tenn., native suffered a passed ball and walked designated player Kelly Sarginson before settling things down in a major way by striking out the side.
Renfroe continued her dominance into the bottom of the fifth as right fielder Jennifer Nayudu, left fielder Samantha Nelson and Smith went down via K to run the UT pitcher's count to six consecutive strikeouts.
Shipman christened another Tennessee rally in the sixth by registering her second base hit of the contest to go along with a stolen base. Rookie designated player Tory Lewis delivered a base knock of her own and a theft to place Lady Vols on second and third with one out. After a Big Orange K, Grieve stepped to the plate and ripped a two-RBI single back through the middle to improve the count to 7-2.
From there all that was left was to see if Renfroe could continue her dominance of the Lions. The answer was a certifiable yes as she retired the last six batters of the contest, over the sixth and seventh frames, with three K's to conclude the triumph.
Tennessee's marathon 11-game, 11-day road trip finally concludes on Saturday at 3 p.m. PT, against #2 UCLA 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.