Freshman Raven Chavanne
Feb. 27, 2010
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - It took nearly three hours to complete, both teams' hurlers combined to throw over 330 total pitches and UT sophomore shortstop Ashley Andrews made an outstanding catch to save the game in the seventh inning as No. 21 Tennessee (7-4) outlasted a game Syracuse squad in posting a marathon 8-6 victory on Friday night at the Cathedral City Classic in Cathedral City, Calif.
Freshman designated player Raven Chavanne kept up her blistering pace at the plate by going 3-for-3 with two runs scored, three stolen bases and an RBI to improve to a staggering .774 (24-of-31) batting average during UT's current road trip. It marks her eighth straight contest with at least two hits and the seventh time in the last eight games that she opened a match-up with a base hit. Senior catcher Tiffany Huff picked up an RBI as part of a 1-for-4 effort, while Andrews walked twice and scored a tally.
Three pitchers saw action for the Lady Vols with sophomore Cat Hosfield picking up the victory, allowing four runs on five hits with three walks and three K's in four innings of work. Freshman Ivy Renfroe permitted a tally on three hits with two walks and three strikeouts in two frames, while sophomore Jessica Spigner allowed an unearned run on a hit with a pair of free passes while pitching the seventh inning.
As she has done so often this season, Chavanne opened the game with by beating out a high-bouncing infield single towards the second base bag. The Thousand Oaks, Calif., native took off for second, reaching scoring position with none retired. With one down Dotson chopped a ball off the hard infield straight up in the air. She hustled down the line to beat the play at first for a single. The throw got away from Stephanie Watts allowing Chavanne the opportunity to score all the way from second for a quick 1-0 lead. Already occupying second after the SU miscue, Dotson swiped third and then came home on a two-out wild pitch by Syracuse hurler Jenna Caira as the lead grew to 2-0.
Hosfield got herself in a little two-out bind in the bottom of the first after hitting lead-off batter Veronica Grant and walking third baseman Hallie Gibbs. Catcher Lacey Kohl stepped to the plate and blooped a two-strike offering to left that dropped just in front of senior Nicole Kajitani. Grant scored from second on the hit to cut the SU deficit to one run. First baseman Kelly Saco made solid contact on a 1-0 pitch but Dotson tracked the ball down on the run in right to make an inning-ending grab.
A one out walk issued to Andrews, a passed ball and a free pass to senior left fielder Nicole Kajitani put the Lady Vols in business again in the top of the second. A grounder to first off the bat of freshman second baseman Melissa Brown advanced both runners into scoring position at second and third with Chavanne stepping into the box. She came through once again, beating out an infield single to second as Andrews scored for a 3-1 lead. Chavanne took off for a steal of second and in making it successfully forced a bad throw into center from catcher Kohl as both Kajitani and Chavanne crossed to make it 5-1. The outburst continued as Grieve drew a walk, Dotson was hit by a pitch, Syracuse uncorked a wild pitch and Spigner walked to load the bases with two down. Huff bounced a ball over the circle that threatened to get up the middle. Shortstop Morgan Nandin tried a back-handed toss to second, but threw it away as Grieve and Dotson scored for a 7-1 advantage. An illegal pitch called on Caira with Spigner standing on third finalized the damage at 8-1, Tennessee.
After surviving a lead-off double in the bottom of the second with the benefit of a wild 5-3-5 double play, Hosfield opened the bottom of the third by walking Grant. Co-head coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly made the call to the bullpen, summoning in Renfroe in relief. The Humboldt, Tenn., product got a fielder's choice that cut down the lead runner at second, but walked second baseman Stephanie Watts and Gibbs consecutively to load the bases with one out. UT's 5-10 right hander got Kohl fishing on a pitch off the outside edge for a big strikeout. Unfortunately, Saco got ahead in the count and singled to center just in front of a diving Grieve, allowing two Syracuse base occupants to score and cut the deficit to 8-3. She immediately rebounded to K designated player Meghan Boston to retire the side, but not before the Orange had clawed closer on the scoreboard.
Nandin got Syracuse off to a good start in the bottom of the fourth by opening the frame with an infield single to second. With the infield drawn-in, left fielder Rachel Helman ripped a blast to short that threatened to escape into the outfield grass. Andrews dove to her left, making a "web gem" play and throwing from her knees to cut down the lead runner at second. Renfroe got Grant looking at a pitch on the inside part of the plate for out number two. Daniels blasted a shot to deep left that eluded Kajitani for a double, but in an attempt to stretch the hit to a triple she was gunned down at third. The home plate umpire ruled that Nandin didn't cross home plate before the inning-ending tag out at third, hence the Syracuse run that appeared to score didn't count.
Hosfield re-entered the match-up in the bottom of the fifth and granted a lead-off infield single to Watts. Gibbs battled over eight pitches before lifting a fly ball down the right field line. Dotson charged and dove in an attempt to make the catch but missed it as the ball rolled into the corner. Watts scored all the way from first on the triple as Syracuse climbed within 8-4. UT's 5-9 righty made Kohl her second strikeout victim of the match-up for out number one. The Orange wouldn't add anymore, however, as Andrews handled a sharp liner off the bat of Saco and Hosfield K'ed Boston to end the fifth.
Chavanne kept her perfect night going in the top of the sixth, drawing a lead-off walk to go along with her 3-for-3 effort. The freshman designated player swiped her third base of the game to reach scoring position with none out. Dotson bounced to second with one out, allowing Chavanne the chance to advance 60 feet to third with Spigner stepping to the plate. Unfortunately, she hit the ball off the end of the bat as it died right in front of the plate for an easy 2-3 putout.
Just like in the fourth frame, Syracuse's Nandin christened the sixth with a lead-off single as the Orange desperately attempted to cut into Tennessee's advantage. A fielder's choice and a groundout to second off the bat of Grant got UT a pair of quick retirements. Daniels got ahead in the count 3-1 before ripping a lazer right into Spigner's glove at third to retire the side.
UT went down quietly in the top of the seventh to bring the `Cuse up for its last chance in regulation. Watts battled out of a 0-2 hole and saw 10 pitches before drawing a lead-off walk. The call was made to bring Spigner into the circle for her first pitching appearance of the 2010 season. Gibbs absolutely blasted a shot to left center but freshman Megan Givens raced over and made an outstanding catch on the run to hold Watts at first. Kohl blooped a 2-2 pitch into short right field as the Orange boasted occupants at first and second with just one retired. Spigner fell behind Saco 3-0 before eventually handling a grounder back to the circle and cutting down the lead runner at third. Boston walked to load the bases and bring Nandin to the plate as the potential tying run. She also drew a free pass, though this one forced in Syracuse's fifth run of the match-up. Helman fell behind 1-2 before slapping a bouncer that was misplayed for an error on the infield allowing another tally to score, making it 8-6, Tennessee. With the bases juiced Grant ripped a liner towards short. Andrews saved the day with an amazing catch, leaping what appeared to be three feet in the air to snag the ball before it went into the left center field gap.
No. 21 Tennessee wraps up its marathon 10-day road trip on Saturday afternoon versus #16 Ohio State at 3:30 p.m. ET at the Cathedral City Classic. Live stats will be available via Gametracker through utladyvols.com, while periodic updates will be posted at www.Twitter.com/UTLadyVols.