Freshman Ivy Renfroe
April 14, 2010
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - A four-run explosion during the opening frame set the tone on Wednesday night in front of 665 fans at Bogle Park in Fayetteville, Ark., as No. 16 Tennessee improved to 35-8 overall and 14-4 in Southeastern Conference action with a 5-3 victory over Arkansas.
Sophomore third baseman Jessica Spigner posted a perfect evening at the plate by going 3-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI, while junior center fielder Kelly Grieve went 2-for-4. Sophomore designated player Shelby Burchell tallied a 1-for-3 effort with a two-run single in the four-tally first. Both freshman second baseman Lauren Gibson (0-for-3, run) and senior first baseman Erinn Webb (1-for-3) each knocked in a run.
Freshman pitcher Ivy Renfroe picked up her second victory of the day by firing 4.2 innings to improve to 21-2 on the season and 11-1 in SEC action. The Jackson, Tenn., native allowed two runs on six hits while striking out five in relief. Sophomore Cat Hosfield started the contest, working 2.1 frames of four-hit ball while permitting a run and issuing just a single walk.
"Arkansas is a much improved team, and we had to battle tonight over 14 tough innings," Lady Vol co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. "We told our kids that between a three-game road series at Auburn last weekend, a quick turnaround and a mid-week doubleheader at Arkansas, that we had five tough games. I'm proud that we won four of those five. I thought our pitching was good most of the time tonight. We had a couple of lapses, however, that made the games interesting."
The Lady Vols wasted no time jumping on the Razorbacks in the doubleheader finale, posting four runs on the benefit of three hits, two walks and an Arkansas error in the top of the first. Freshman left fielder Raven Chavanne walked and soon advanced to second on a groundout. With two outs and UA almost out of the inning unscathed, Spigner delivered a single to center, plating Chavanne for a 1-0 lead. A walk issued to senior catcher Tiffany Huff and a fielding error on a bouncer by Gibson, loaded the bases. Burchell came through with a two-run single through the right side to make it 3-0. Webb followed soon after with a base knock down the left field line as another tally crossed for a four-run Big Orange advantage.
UA didn't manage a base runner against the Big Orange starter Hosfield until there was one down in the bottom of the second. Second baseman Courtney Breault singled on a very slow roller to short. Following a pop-up for out number two, catcher Leslie Dixon blooped a ball into short right center. From her defensive position Dotson raced in and dove for the ball, just missing as the ball tipped off her glove for a base hit. With runners stationed at first and second, Hosfield induced a bouncer up the middle that was cut off on the run by freshman Lauren Gibson. The Pasadena, Md., native stepped on second to conclude the frame via fielder's choice with no Razorback damage on the scoreboard.
Spigner made it 2-for-2 at the dish starting the top of the third by driving a ringing double into the left center field gap. Following a UT strikeout and a passed ball on Arkansas catcher Leslie Dixon that moved freshman Lady Vol pinch runner Leah Taylor to third, Gibson delivered an RBI groundout to second, improving the Tennessee advantage to 5-0.
The Razorbacks finally got on the board in the bottom of the third as the opposing pitcher Layne McGuirt christened the frame by driving a solo homer to right center, cutting UA's deficit to 5-1. Center fielder Jessica Bachkora kept the pressure on by singling through the right side of the infield. After a fielder's choice for the first retirement, Arkansas designated player Miranda Dixon walked to place a pair on and end the stay in the circle for Hosfield as Renfroe entered in relief. Third baseman Sandra Smith immediately bounced a ball through the pitcher's legs that Gibson corralled before stepping on second for a fielder's choice. Renfroe then caught Breault looking at strike three, leaving a pair of Razorbacks on the corners.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Arkansas' Brittany Robison posted an at-bat to appreciate regardless of team loyalty. The right fielder and Renfroe battled over 14 pitches before the hitter managed a double down the right field line. McGuirt continued to try to help her own cause by singling through the left side of the infield, placing runners at the corners. Bachkora ripped a ball that threatened to get through up the middle for a single. Andrews was all over it at short, however, diving to her left to snag the ball and tossing to Gibson covering the second base bag to keep the Razorbacks from adding anything on the scoreboard.
Renfroe rolled through the Razorbacks in order in the bottom of the fifth with a K as the teams ventured into the final two frames with UT holding on to its four-tally advantage.
Webb just missed hitting a solo homer with two outs in the top of the sixth as her blast to right was caught at the base of the wall by Robison.
The Razorbacks got a two-out single to deep short by Leslie Dixon despite the best efforts of Andrews, who made a great diving play at short to knock the ball down and keep it on the infield before throwing just late to first. Robison stepped to the dish and popped up behind the plate as a hustling Huff raced over about three-quarters of the way to UA's dugout to make a running, inning-ending grab.
The Big Orange got a two-out infield single from Grieve and a wild pitch to advance her into scoring position. Freshman outfielder Megan Givens drove a promising shot to left, but not quite deep enough as Becca Carden tracked it down for the third out.
McGuirt continued her amazing evening at the dish by opening the bottom of the seventh with her second HR of the contest, this one to center, to cut the gap to 5-2. Bachkora followed with a double into the left center field gap, necessitating a coaching visit to the circle to calm the UT pitcher down. Carden went down swinging and then Miranda Dixon fouled out behind the plate for two quick outs. Bachkora delivered a base hit into center, however, plating another tally for the hosts as the lead narrowed to 5-3. With a Arkansas runner at first, Breault battled to a 3-2 count before lining straight to Gibson at second to end the Lady Vol victory.
No. 16 Tennessee has altered its original schedule for this upcoming weekend because of having lost previous contests to weather. The Big Orange has recently added a doubleheader against Presbyterian on Sat., April 17, to its 2010 slate with first pitch at the Lee Softball Stadium scheduled for 4 p.m. ET. Live stats will be available through utladyvols.com via Gametracker.