Freshman pitcher Ellen Renfroe
April 8, 2011
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
OXFORD, Miss. - The No. 8 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (32-6, 10-4 Southeastern Conference) plated two runs in the third and added five more tallies in the seventh to back another complete-game effort by freshman pitcher Ellen Renfroe and take the opener of a three-game series from Ole Miss on Friday evening in Oxford, Miss., 7-1.
Renfroe scattered six hits while allowing one unearned run, walking two and striking out nine in improving to 19-2 overall and 6-1 in league action.
At the plate Lady Vol sophomore left fielder Raven Chavanne was 3-for-5 with a run scored and her team-leading 22nd stolen base of the season. Sophomore right fielder Kat Dotson knocked in her squad-best 54th RBI as part of a 2-for-5 effort and swiped one of Tennessee's five total stolen bases in the contest. Junior first baseman Shelby Burchell (1-for-2) recorded a pair of RBIs via a single during UT's five-run seventh, while sophomore second baseman Lauren Gibson went 1-for-3 with her 40th RBI of 2011.
Each team managed a two-out single in the first inning but nothing else as Dotson roped a base hit for UT in the top half and third baseman Londen Ladner pulled the feat for UM in the bottom half.
The Lady Vols got the first serious threat started in the top of the second as Gibson was hit by the first pitch of the inning from Ole Miss starter Kendall Bruning. After the Pasadena, Md., native stole second, Burchell drew one of seven Big Orange walks to put a pair on with still none retired. A fly out and a groundout eventually moved the base runners up 60 feet into scoring position, but they never moved as a UT strikeout ended the threat.
It didn't appear much offense would be necessary the way Renfroe was throwing from the circle as the Jackson, Tenn., product struck out the Rebel side in the bottom of the second.
A pair of hits finally helped break the scoreless dead lock in the top of the third as Tennessee nabbed a 2-0 lead. Senior center fielder Kelly Grieve (1-for-2, run, steal) led off the frame with an infield single and a theft. Chavanne dropped a perfect bunt for a hit, and after a brief pause, raced on to second base since no Rebel fielder had covered the bag. Dotson grounded out routinely, but it was plenty to score Grieve from 60 feet away as the Lady Vols picked up the game's initial tally. Gibson later bounced out as well to plate Chavanne to make it 2-0.
Tennessee left a pair of runners stranded in both the fourth and fifth innings, while two-out singles by Ole Miss left fielder Brittany Broome and second baseman Cali Overbeck got Ole Miss in business in the bottom of the fifth. Ladner stepped in and ripped a pitch up the middle that freshman shortstop Madison Shipman corralled while moving to her left. The Valencia, Calif., standout raced over quickly to step on second for the inning-ending fielder's choice.
A fielding miscue by the Lady Vols on a chopper from center fielder Amanda Hutcherson with two outs in the bottom of the sixth came back to hurt UT. Following a stolen base, designated player Erinn Jayjohn ripped a pitch back through the middle to score Hutcherson and shrink the UM deficit to just 2-1.
That Rebel tally seemed to energize Tennessee as the Lady Vols erupted for five runs on three hits with the benefit of three UM errors during the top of the seventh. It all started on an infield bunt single by Dotson, and she soon moved to second as a fly ball from Spigner was dropped at the wall in the outfield. A single through the Ole Miss infield by Gibson loaded the bags for Burchell. The Columbia, Tenn., native delivered in the clutch with a two-RBI base knock to expand the UT lead to 4-1. A fielding error by Overbeck at second on a bouncer from freshman designated player Melissa Davin allowed a run to cross. A wild pitch by reliever Brittany Barnhill permitted Burchell to cross, and then the second Overbeck miscue of the inning plated Davin to finalize the Big Orange scoring at seven runs.
Despite giving up a two-out single back through the middle by Overbeck in the bottom of the seventh, Renfroe closed out the 7-1 win in style by registering her ninth K on a swinging strikeout of Ladner.
Tennessee's series at Ole Miss continues at 2 p.m. ET on both Saturday and Sunday (April 9-10). The series finale is slated for live television broadcast via SportSouth with Dave Neal and Cheri Kempf on the call. Both match-ups are also scheduled to be radio broadcast via "The Sports Animal" at AM 990 in the local Knoxville area (and through UTLadyVols.com/allaccess) with the "Voice of the Lady Vols" Mickey Dearstone. Check both http://twitter.com/LadyVol_Sftball and http://twitter.com/LadyVol_Sports for the most up-to-date information on Tennessee softball.