Junior Kelly Grieve
March 14, 2010
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Facing a 6-4 deficit in the bottom of the sixth inning, the No. 19 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (19-5) utilized its speed game to ignite a rally and got a clutch, pinch-hit grand slam from sophomore Shelby Burchell in rallying past Campbell, 9-6, on a rainy Sunday night in the finale of the Tennessee Invitational at Lee Softball Stadium. With the victory, the Lady Vols secured the event title as the lone unbeaten team at 4-0 overall.
Both teams were forced to endure a 50-minute rain delay during the top of the fifth inning before UT was permitted the opportunity to rally for its comeback victory.
Junior center fielder Kelly Grieve played a huge role in Tennessee's scoring offense against the Camels, going 3-for-4 at the plate with a two-bagger and three runs scored. Sophomore third baseman Jessica Spigner (1-for-3, double) knocked in a pair of runs to give her a team-high 30 RBIs for the season. Senior second baseman Nicole Kajitani was 2-for-4 and singled in a tally during the decisive sixth-inning rally to bring UT back within one score at 6-5. Senior first baseman Erinn Webb delivered two hits in four at-bats with a double, while freshman right fielder Kat Dotson was 1-for-2 with an RBI via a sacrifice fly.
Freshman pitcher Ivy Renfroe earned her 10th victory of the season by allowing three earned runs on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts in five innings of work that stretched over two separate appearances in the contest. In a relief effort, sophomore hurler Cat Hosfield permitted two earned runs on two hits and issued a walk over a pair of frames.
"Our kids really came ready to play against Liberty earlier today, a team that had played very well during this tournament and played Alabama tough very recently," Lady Vol co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. "We played an almost flawless game versus the Lady Flames. Ivy Renfroe struck out nine, and Kat Dotson highlighted the game with her first career home run.
"I think in the match-up against Campbell, our team was still dwelling on the previous three or four games we had won and didn't come out with the right fire in their eyes. Campbell jumped on us quick and had us down by two runs in the late innings. Facing defeat, our kids rallied with back-to-back hits by Kelly Grieve and Kat Dotson, a walk to Tiffany Huff, an RBI single from Nicole Kajitani and a pinch hit grand slam by Shelby Burchell, the hit that ultimately delivered victory. We are proud of the way our team fought back against a good Campbell team."
Early on it looked as if Tennessee might make short work of Campbell as the Big Orange pounced on the Camels for four runs over the opening two frames.
In the initial inning freshman left fielder Raven Chavanne and Grieve delivered back-to-back infield singles and advanced up 60 feet on a wild pitch by CU starter Christina Melton. Dotson followed with a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Chavanne and quickly making it 1-0. With two outs Huff delivered a clutch RBI base knock back through the middle as UT completed the opening inning up by two tallies.
Renfroe was in control throughout the initial pair of frames, allowing just one Camel batter to reach safely and that came on a two-out hit batter in the first.
The Big Orange ignited its next scoring burst with two down in the bottom of the second as a Grieve double, a Dotson walk, a wild pitch and Spigner's two-RBI two-bagger down the left field line made it 4-0, UT.
The contest began to come unraveled for the Orange & White in the top of the third inning, and it all got started on a throwing error on a play to first base leading off the frame. Following a Campbell walk, center fielder Katie Hinton ripped a base knock to left to bring home pinch runner Lizzie Goldbach as the Camels cut into its deficit. Melton followed with an RBI single through the left side and suddenly it was 4-2 Tennessee with a pair of Campbell runners aboard. The decision was made to bring Hosfield into the contest in relief. Designated player Lauren Stephan greeted her rudely, however, by blasting the 5-9 right hander's first offering off the scoreboard in left center to grant CU a stunning 5-4 advantage.
With one Campbell batter retired in the top of the fifth, the light rain that had been falling for much of the game intensified, forcing a decision to be rendered to tarp the playing surface. The delay occurred at 7:07 p.m. and lasted for 50 minutes until action resumed at 7:57 p.m.
Once play resumed, and with time beginning to run short in the bottom of the sixth, the Tennessee speed game got the decisive threat started as Grieve and Dotson led off the frame by beating out consecutive infield singles. With one out the duo advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch by Campbell reliever Katie Woodcock. Huff was walked intentionally to load the bases for Kajitani. The San Bernardino, Calif., native came through by stroking a clean single into right field to score Grieve and cut the deficit to 6-5. The decision was made to bring on Burchell to pinch hit for freshman designated player Whitney Hammond, and that move paid off big-time. The Columbia, Tenn., product absolutely crushed a pitch from Woodcock just inside the left field foul pole for her first career grand slam to grant the Lady Vols a 9-6 advantage.
Campbell right fielder Sarah Forgacs struck out versus Renfroe to open the Camels last chance in the top of the seventh. The 5-10 righty then took care of things herself, handling consecutive bouncers back to the circle from Hinton and Melton to secure the comeback triumph.