March 5, 2010
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Behind a complete-game, three-hit shutout from sophomore right hander Cat Hosfield, the No. 20 Lady Vol softball team (9-4) opened its annual Tennessee Classic with a 6-0 victory over Ohio on a cold Friday night at Lee Softball Stadium. The win marked UT's 10th straight home-opening triumph and ninth consecutive under the guidance of co-head coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly.
Freshman left fielder Raven Chavanne and rookie right fielder Kat Dotson each posted two hits in the contest with the latter going a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate with a double, a pair of walks and two runs scored. Sophomore third baseman Jessica Spigner knocked in a run on a second-inning single, while senior first baseman Tiffany Huff was credited with an RBI on a sacrifice fly.
Hosfield allowed three hits, walked three and struck out five Bobcats over seven innings of work while improving her record to 5-3 on the season.
After walking shortstop Alexis Zambrana to lead-off the contest, UT's 5-9 hurler rebounded to retire center fielder Shalene Petrich, third baseman Sara Clark and Emily Wethington in order to leave the runner stranded at first.
As she has done so often this season, Chavanne managed to reach safely to start the contest for Tennessee with an infield single. The Thousand Oaks, Calif., native swiped second and then advanced to third on a wild pitch by Ohio starting pitcher Emily Wethington. Junior center fielder Kelly Grieve battled over eight pitches to join her teammate on the base paths via walk, placing runners at the corners with none out. Another wild Ohio offering allowed Chavanne to score UT's initial run as Grieve eventually cruised around to third on a throwing error by catcher Jordan Paden. Dotson and Spigner loaded the bags on consecutive walks as Ohio's coach made a visit to the circle. Huff stepped in and ripped the first pitch she received to deep left for a sacrifice fly as Grieve scored for a 2-0 lead. After a Lady Vol K and a walk by freshman second baseman Lauren Gibson, Hosfield lifted a high pop-up on the infield. Ohio third baseman Sara Clark drifted over near the circle to make the grab but dropped it for an error as two more tallies scored to make it 4-0.
The Big Orange added another run in the bottom of the second with two outs. Dotson dropped a perfect bunt single out in front of the plate, swiped a base and came around to plate UT's fifth tally on a Spigner single through the left side of the infield. The Santa Clarita, Calif., native had battled Wethington over a 13-pitch at-bat before delivering her RBI base knock.
Cruising along in the circle through three frames, Hosfield got the job done at the plate as well with two outs in the bottom of the third. The Murfreesboro, Tenn., product registered her initial collegiate base hit on a slow-rolling single to second.
Ohio's Petrich christened the top of the fourth with the Bobcats first hit of the contest on a clean single to left. After a UT wild pitch advanced the base occupant to second and Hosfield posted a strikeout of Clark, sophomore shortstop Ashley Andrews handled a bouncer from Wethington, turned and cut down the lead runner at third on the fielder's choice. A sharp grounder back to the circle was handled by Hosfield as UT kept the Bobcats off the scoreboard.
For the second time in the contest, Chavanne christened an inning with a lead-off single, deadening a ball right out in front of the plate to open the bottom of the fourth. Grieve attempted a bunt but popped it up to the right of the circle. Second baseman Jenna Giusti charged in from her defensive position but muffed the catch. With Chavanne forced to hold briefly on the pop-up, the fielder recovered in time to catch Chavanne at second via a fielder's choice. A couple of steals and two throwing errors charged to the Ohio catcher allowed Grieve to later score as the advantage improved to 6-0.
Bobcat left fielder Jillian Van Wagnen almost manufactured an Ohio run in the top of the fifth. A two-out Lady Vol fielding error and two stolen bases advanced the runner to third. Zambrana was hit by a pitch and swiped second to reach scoring position. Both runners were left stranded, however, as Hosfield handled an inning-ending roller back to the circle from Petrich.
Sophomore designated player Shelby Burchell ripped a 3-2 offering to center field for a single to start the bottom of the fifth. Kajitani walked to put a pair of Lady Vols on base with still none out before the inning took a turn for the bizarre. On a pitch off the catcher's glove, Burchell hesitated briefly before trying for third and got caught in a rundown for the first retirement. Hosfield blooped a shot to center that appeared to drop in for a hit, but the umpires ruled the ball was caught as Kajitani raced back to first to avoid being doubled off. Freshman Melissa Brown delivered a single through the left side, but a pair of runners was left stranded on a foul pop-up by rookie Megan Givens.
Down to Ohio's last six outs, Bobcat lead-off hitter Clark laced a single back up the middle. Hosfield handled a grounder back to the circle from pitcher Melissa Bonner, turned and nailed the lead runner at second on a fielder's choice. Designated player Caitlin Colvin became Hosfield's third strikeout victim on a pitch over the outside corner. With two down pinch hitter Candace Saucedo drew a walk to join her teammate on the bases with Tessa Bailey stepping to the plate in a big spot. Hosfield cut her down looking on a K to end the frame with no damage as UT continued to lead by a half dozen.
Paden opened Ohio's half of the seventh with a clean single through the left side before Van Wagnen became Hosfield's fifth strikeout victim of the evening for out number one. Zambrana was struck in the back by the first offering she received, placing a pair aboard for the `Cats. Petrich bounced sharply to Spigner who corralled the ball and raced to the third base bag for the force. A fly ball to left was squeezed by Givens as Tennessee picked up its ninth victory of the season.
The Tennessee Classic at Lee Softball Stadium gets going full blast on Saturday with four games on the slate, starting with Illinois State versus Ohio at 11 a.m. ET. The 20th-ranked Lady Vols will be in action at approximately 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET against No. 13 Texas and Illinois State, respectively. Check out Tennessee Classic Tournament Central at http://www.utladyvols.com/sports/w-softbl/spec-rel/tennclassic.html for live stats and audio links. Saturday's Tennessee action will NOT be broadcast via radio because of previous program time commitments.