Freshman Raven Chavanne
March 20, 2010
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director<
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A decisive sixth-inning helped No. 6 Georgia (21-4, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) rally from a 5-1 deficit to down No. 17 Tennessee (21-6, 3-2 SEC), 10-6, and earn a split in Saturday's series-opening doubleheader in front of a season-high 1,002 fans at the Lee Softball Stadium. The two squads will contest the "rubber match" on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
UT's offense registered seven hits in the match-up and got home runs from senior first baseman Erinn Webb (1-for-3, three-run HR) and freshman left fielder Raven Chavanne (2-for-4, RBI, run, stolen base). Sophomore Ashley Andrews posted a 2-for-3 game at the plate and made several sparkling plays at shortstop for the Lady Vol defense.
In the circle sophomore Jessica Spigner dropped to 1-1 on the season, allowing three runs on two hits with a walk in relief. Starter Cat Hosfield gave up four tallies on five hits with five walks and three strikeouts over 6.1 innings of work. Freshman Ivy Renfroe permitted three runs on a trio of hits with a K in two-thirds of a frame.
"I thought we played really well today at times," Lady Vol co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. "It was an up-and-down day for us. Our offense left a lot of runners on base in the second game. I'm proud of our team because we had some good play in the doubleheader. Ashley Andrews was fantastic at short, and Lauren Gibson's home run in the opener was a monster shot. Our kids fought hard all day long, but the thing about fast pitch is there are runs like in basketball. Georgia had its run in the sixth inning, and we didn't respond. They are ranked sixth in the country for a reason. We'll put this one behind us and move on to tomorrow's finale."
Tennessee's defense made the initial big play in the top of the first. After a one-out single off the bat of Georgia left fielder Megan Wiggins, Lady Vol second baseman Lauren Gibson corralled a bouncer from catcher Ashley Razey, turned and started an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play to conclude the frame.
Neither offense got anything going until the bottom of the second when UT struck for three two-out runs to nab a quick 3-0 advantage. A walk by freshman right fielder Kat Dotson, a stolen base and a groundout placed a Big Orange runner on third with two retired. Sophomore designated player Shelby Burchell drew a free pass, setting the stage for a three-run bomb to right center from Webb.
Junior center fielder Kelly Grieve christened UT's half of the third with a triple to right and later scored on a fielding error charged to UGA first baseman Brianna Hesson to make it 4-0.
The Bulldogs got one back on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth as center fielder Taylor Schlopy laced a home run just inside the foul pole in right to cut their deficit to 4-1.
The lead expanded right back to four tallies in the bottom of the fourth as Andrews tripled to open the frame and scored on a Grieve sacrifice fly to center.
Things were under Tennessee's control under the fateful top of the sixth inning when Georgia registered eight runs on five hits. A walk got it all started as Wiggins reached safely on the lead-off free pass. From there the contest unraveled for UT as Hesson tallied an RBI on a hit to deep short, designated player Kristyn Sandberg singled in a run, right fielder Jennie Auger delivered a sac fly, second baseman Ashley Pauly knocked in two tallies on a base hit through the right side of the infield and Wiggins blasted a three-run shot to right center.
Suddenly trailing 9-5 on the scoreboard, Chavanne tried her best to get the Lady Vol offense re-ignited, blasting her second homer of the season (a solo shot) to deep center with one out in the bottom of the sixth.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs got that run back in the seventh on a solo HR by Hesson. UT went down in order from there as Georgia earned the split heading to tomorrow's series "rubber match" at 1 p.m.