March 27, 2010
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Facing a 3-1 deficit venturing into the bottom of the fifth inning, No. 17 Tennessee (25-7, 7-3 Southeastern Conference) tallied two runs in the fifth and a three-spot in the sixth in rallying past Ole Miss (18-15, 5-7 SEC), 6-3, to sweep a Saturday doubleheader in front of 722 fans on a bright, sunny afternoon at the Lee Softball Stadium.
Sophomore starting pitcher Cat Hosfield (10-4) picked up her 10th victory of the year in the circle by allowing just one earned run while scattering eight hits and striking out three during six innings of work. Freshman Ivy Renfroe struck out one Rebel during a perfect seventh inning to seal the triumph.
Freshman left fielder Raven Chavanne was 1-for-3 at the plate, drew a bases loaded walk to grant Tennessee the lead in the sixth inning and scored a team-best two runs in the contest. Freshman right fielder Kat Dotson delivered a 1-for-3 performance with a sacrifice fly during UT's two-run fifth inning rally. Senior catcher Tiffany Huff was 1-for-2 with an RBI via a bases loaded walk.
"Our team has proven to be very resilient on many occasions this year," Lady Vol co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. "Our coaching staff is really proud of their effort today in taking the opener and then rallying back to win the second game. I thought both Ivy Renfroe and Cat Hosfield pitched very well for us and all our batters over the last three innings of the second contest posted solid at-bats."
Ole Miss started the doubleheader finale with a single as lead-off batter Corrine Doornberg dropped a slow roller just to the right of the second base bag. Left fielder Ashley Dowdy blooped a ball that threatened to travel over third base into left, but sophomore third baseman Jessica Spigner leapt to snare the sphere for the first out. Sophomore shortstop Ashley Andrews made consecutive plays on rollers by shortstop Lauren Grill and pitcher Brittany Barnhill to strand the UM base runner.
The Big Orange got its initial base occupant with two down in the bottom of the first as Dotson bounced a 1-2 pitch from Barnhill through the right side of the infield. The Savannah, Ga., swiped her 17th base of the season to reach scoring position with Huff at the dish. The Saugus, Calif., product ripped a sharp liner off the pitcher's glove and to second base for a single as Dotson rounded third and paused briefly. The throw to the plate got away for an error allowing Dotson to cross to make it 1-0. Attempting to advance all the way to third on the miscue, Huff was gunned down at the bag on a strong throw by Barnhill to end the frame with no further damage.
The Rebels got a two-out scoring threat going in the top of the second against UT starting pitcher Cat Hosfield. Third baseman Cali Overbeck was struck by a pitch and then first baseman Aly Presswood singled through the left side of the infield. Hosfield brought the scoring opportunity to a quick conclusion, however, by striking out center fielder Alise Doubt swinging at an outside offering.
UM designated player Amber Tramp christened the Ole Miss half of the fourth with a double into the right center field gap. On a sacrifice bunt attempt by right fielder Alyssa McGovern, the ball was thrown high to first and down the line for an error as pinch runner Brittany Broome scored from second to knot the score at 1-1. With two retired in the frame and an Ole Miss occupant at third, pinch hitter Kelly Nolan was struck by a Hosfield pitch, placing runners at the corners. Doornberg stepped in and slapped a single to left, plating McGovern for a 2-1 Rebel advantage.
Back-to-back walks started a scoring chance for Tennessee in the bottom of the fourth as sophomore third baseman Jessica Spigner and Huff battled Barnhill to record consecutive free passes. Following a Lady Vol K, senior designated player Nicole Kajitani walked to pack the bags. Another swinging strikeout left a trio stranded, however, as UT missed a golden opportunity.
After getting out of a jam in the circle in the fourth, UM's Barnhill provided herself with a little insurance by blasting a solo homer deep over the left field wall in the top of the fifth to improve the Rebel lead to 3-1. Tramp was hit by a pitch and then McGovern and Overbeck delivered consecutive hits, loading the bases with still just one down in the frame. Presswood stepped in and bounced a shot back to the circle that Hosfield corralled. She tossed home to Andrews who stepped on the dish and tossed on to Huff at first for a monster inning-ending double play.
In desperate need of a rally, Tennessee got back-to-back infield singles opening the bottom of the fifth from freshman Melissa Brown and Chavanne. Following a sac bunt off the bat of Grieve, Dotson launched a shot to deep left that was caught on the warning track for a sac fly as Brown scored to cut the deficit to 3-2. Huff lifted a ball to center that looked like an easy catch but Doubt dropped it, allowing Chavanne to tie the score at 3-3.
Hosfield rolled through the Rebels in the top of the sixth one-two-three to bring the Lady Vols up searching for the lead. Freshman second baseman Lauren Gibson opened the bottom half by drawing a lead-off walk. Kajitani tried to drop a sac bunt but popped it up toward first. Ole Miss first baseman Aly Presswood charged in and dove to try to make the catch but had it tip off the end of her glove as the play granted UT occupants at first and second with no outs. Andrews sacrificed the runners up 60 feet to second and third. Senior first baseman Erinn Webb walked and then Chavanne was issued a free pass on four straight pitches, forcing in the go-ahead run for Tennessee. New Rebel pitcher Lindsey Perry entered in relief and immediately uncorked a wild pitch with the bases juiced to bring home another Lady Vol tally for a two-run lead. Later Huff also managed a walk with the bags packed to force in another tally as the advantage expanded to 6-3.
Tennessee summoned in Renfroe in relief for the seventh inning and the Jackson, Tenn., native didn't disappoint. The 5-10 righthander rolled through shortstop Lauren Grill, Barnhill and Tramp in order one-two-three to secure the doubleheader sweep for the Big Orange.
No. 17 Tennessee wraps up its series against the Ole Miss Rebels at Lee Softball Stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. The finale will be broadcast live via FOX Sports South (Comcast channel 19 in Knoxville) with Dave Neal and Cheri Kempf on the call.