Sophomore Jessica Spigner
Feb. 27, 2010
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - A combined pitching gem from freshman Ivy Renfroe and sophomore Cat Hosfield and a three-run, first-inning home run off the bat of sophomore third baseman Jessica Spigner powered No. 21 Tennessee (8-4) past No. 16 Ohio State, 3-0, on Saturday afternoon in UT's finale at the Cathedral City Classic in Cathedral City, Calif.
Renfroe started strongly in the circle, picking up her fourth win of the campaign by working four innings, allowing six hits, walking two and striking out four. Hosfield was terrific in tossing three frames of no-hit relief with three K's in recording her second save of the 2010 season.
Spigner's homer in the opening frame marked her third big fly of the season and 17th of her career in the Orange & White. Senior catcher Tiffany Huff posted a 2-for-3 day at the dish, while junior center fielder Kelly Grieve and freshman right fielder Kat Dotson each plated a run.
Tennessee wrapped up its 10-day road trip through New Mexico and California with a 7-2 record while hitting .371 as a team, averaging just over nine runs-per-game, blasting 12 doubles, five triples and 10 homers and swiping 18 bases. Freshman Raven Chavanne had a tremendous jaunt out west, hitting .706 (24-of-34) at the plate over nine games and joined sophomore Ashley Andrews as each knocked in a team-high 11 runs during the trip. Freshman Kat Dotson and senior Tiffany Huff each registered 10 RBI, while Spigner knocked in eight tallies.
"Our kids played really hard today against a really good ranked Ohio State team," Lady Vol co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. "Karen (co-head coach Weekly) and I are especially proud of our young pitchers who faced a `murderer's row' and posted a shutout. Jessica Spigner continues to come up with huge game-winning hits in clutch situations. We look forward now to returning home to play a few games at Lee Softball Stadium."
After retiring the lead-off batter Sam Marder on a bouncer to short, Renfroe permitted back-to-back singles to designated player Courtney Pruner and shortstop Alicia Herron in the top of the first. The 5-10 right hander rebounded immediately to catch second baseman Whitney Cooper swinging at strike three on the outside edge for the second out of the inning. Left fielder Karisa Medrano stepped in and drove a base knock to left that dropped in front of Chavanne. The rookie corralled the ball and came up throwing, eventually nailing Pruner on a one-bounce throw to the plate to keep the Buckeyes off the board in the opening frame.
Grieve granted the Big Orange its initial base runner of the contest on a one-out walk in the bottom of the first. After Dotson joined her teammate via a free pass, Spigner blasted a ball to right center that cleared the fencing for a three-run homer and a huge 3-0 Lady Vol lead.
Ohio State got a one-out single through the left side from right fielder Leah Ledford in the top of the second before Renfroe made first baseman Rachael Shepherd her second K victim of the contest. Buckeye center fielder Vanessa Spears swung at the first offering she received, blasting a ball high to right center that threatened to leave the park. Grieve raced over from her defensive position in center to track the sphere down at the base of the wall and conclude the frame.
A one-out walk amounted to nothing for OSU in the top of the third as Renfroe coerced a fielder's choice that cut down the lead runner and then struck out Cooper on a high offering to maintain UT's 3-0 advantage.
After Tennessee left Dotson stranded at first via a walk in the bottom of the third, the Buckeyes' Rebecca Schultz drew a one-out free pass in the fourth. Renfroe continued her gem by registering her fourth K of the game in getting Ledford looking and then handled a slow roller back to the circle from Shepherd.
The Scarlet and Gray finally got something going again in the top of the fifth. A lead-off infield single by Spears, a passed ball and a base knock to center from Marder put Buckeyes at the corners with no one out in the frame. That forced a call to the bullpen as Hosfield was brought into the contest in relief facing a huge spot. That's when Chavanne's strong first inning throw to the plate paid dividends as Pruner ripped a shot to left that was caught on the run. Chavanne again came up throwing home, preventing Spears from potentially racing across via a sacrifice fly. Spigner protected the line at third, handling a sharp bouncer from Herron and tossing across the diamond for the second out. Hosfield then caught Cooper swinging at a pitch over her head for her first K to leave the OSU duo on the base paths.
Grieve broke a string of seven straight Lady Vols retired by Bodeker in the bottom of the fifth with a two-out single past diving second baseman Cooper. Dotson made solid contact with a 2-0 pitch, but her fly ball to left drifted straight to Medrano to conclude the frame.
Still leading by three tallies, Hosfield really turned it up a notch in the top of the sixth, posting consecutive strikeouts of Medrano and Schultz to run her string of consecutive K's to three. Ledford hit a 3-1 offering to deep center but Grieve had room to make the catch before reaching the wall as UT moved within one more OSU at-bat from picking up a huge victory.
Huff beat out an infield single with one out in the bottom of the sixth as Tennessee searched for some valuable insurance. With two down freshman second baseman Melissa Brown drew a walk to join her teammate on the base paths. Sophomore designated player Shelby Burchell ripped a promising liner the other way, but right to Cooper at second to leave the pair stranded.
The Lady Vols posted a quick out on the first pitch of the top of the seventh as Hosfield handled a bouncer back to the circle from Megan Coletta. Webb took care of a groundball off the bat of Spears to get UT within one out of victory. Marder stepped in and drove a shot to right that had a chance to get down for a base hit. Defensive replacement Holly Baker charged in and made a sparkling diving "web gem" grab to conclude a big triumph for the Lady Vols.