Freshman Ivy Renfroe
March 7, 2010
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Behind a stellar 6.2 innings of work and a career-high nine strikeouts from freshman pitcher Ivy Renfroe, the No. 20 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team improved to 12-4 overall with a 5-1 victory over Ohio on Sunday to remain perfect in Tennessee Classic action at the Lee Softball Stadium.
Senior second baseman Nicole Kajitani led the UT offense by going 2-for-3 at the plate with three RBIs, while freshman designated player Lauren Gibson (1-for-1, two walks) joined Kajitani in also lacing a two-run single during the Big Orange's four-run, seventh inning outburst.
Renfroe allowed one unearned run on six hits over 6.2 innings of work with nine K's. Sophomore Cat Hosfield picked up her fourth save of the year by getting the final out in the seventh frame with the potential tying run standing in the on-deck circle.
Despite permitting a two-out base knock to center by third baseman Sara Clark, Renfroe was in firm control from the circle during the first inning. The Humboldt, Tenn., native retired shortstop Alexis Zambrana and center fielder Shalene Petrich by groundout and struck out first baseman Emily Wethington.
After a one-two-three Lady Vol at-bat, Renfroe struck out the Bobcat side in the second to improve her K count to four through the opening two frames.
Freshman right fielder Kat Dotson granted the Big Orange its initial base runner with one down in the bottom of the second by hustling down the line to beat out an infield single. Following a fielder's choice, Gibson walked to place a pair on the base paths with two outs. That free pass extended the inning allowing Kajitani the chance to rip an RBI single up the middle to grant Tennessee a quick 1-0 advantage. The first tally of the game had proven important thus far in 2010 as UT entered the match-up against Ohio a perfect 10-0 during the year when putting a number on the scoreboard first.
A base hit by Clark with one out in the fourth broke a string of eight consecutive batters retired by UT's 5-10 right hander. The Lady Vol hurler responded by striking out Wethington for out number two, and then Ohio's Clark swiped a base to reach scoring position. Pitcher Caitlin Colvin stepped into the batter's box and on three pitches became K victim number eight of the match-up for Renfroe to establish a new personal single-game career high.
Ohio catcher Lauren Gellerman delivered a one-out single into left during the top of the fifth. Kajitani handled a tough hop on a bouncer off the bat of designated player Jordan Paden, turned and cut down the lead runner at second via a fielder's choice. The inning came to a quick conclusion on a ground ball to third as Spigner made a strong throw across the diamond to nail left fielder Jillian Van Wagnen and maintain UT's one-run lead.
The Big Orange got the lead-off runner on for the first time in the contest during the bottom of the fifth as senior first baseman Erinn Webb blooped a base hit into left center. Freshman pinch runner Whitney Hammond swiped second and then was joined by Gibson as she coerced a walk from Ohio starter Colvin with still none retired. A strikeout and a fielder's choice off the bat of sophomore pinch hitter Shelby Burchell left Tennessee runners at the corners with two outs. Chavanne made solid contact on the first pitch she received from Colvin but her liner traveled straight into Alexis Zambrana's glove at short to leave the UT duo stranded.
For the third straight frame Ohio managed a one-out single as center fielder Shalene Petrich ripped a 3-1 pitch into left in the top of the sixth. Clark drove a shot the other way to right, but Dotson raced in to make a running basket catch to keep the runner at first. Kajitani dealt easily with a slow bouncer from Wethington as Renfroe continued her shutout effort through a half dozen innings.
Consecutive walks issued to Spigner, senior catcher Tiffany Huff and Dotson set the stage to add some valuable insurance on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth. That ended the day in the circle for Colvin as Candace Saucedo entered in relief and immediately retired Webb on a fly ball to left. Gibson delivered in the clutch, however, by driving a two-RBI single into left as freshman pinch runner Leah Taylor and Huff raced across for a three-run lead. Kajitani followed by bouncing a base knock up the middle to score Dotson and Gibson as Tennessee nabbed a commanding 5-0 advantage.
Renfroe worked quickly starting the top of the seventh getting two quick outs by retiring Colvin on a bouncer to second and striking out Gellerman. A UT fielding error and a single back through the middle by Paden put runners at first and second with two retired. A base knock through the left side by Van Wagnen broke up the shutout and ended Renfroe's day in the circle as Hosfield was brought in to try to close it out. Zambrana continued the OU hit parade with a single back through the middle that Grieve scooped on the run in center. The Asheville, N.C., native came up throwing, firing a strike to the plate to nail Paden and seal the 5-1 victory.
The No. 20 Lady Vols now turn their attention to the opening of Southeastern Conference action with a three-game series at Mississippi State over March 9-10, before returning to Lee Softball Stadium to host next weekend's Tennessee Invitational.