Sophomore Raven Chavanne
May 6, 2011
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - A walk-off solo homer by UF shortstop Cheyenne Coyle completed a Gator rally from a 3-1 deficit as No. 4 Florida (45-8, 19-7 Southeastern Conference) swiped the opener of a high-profile, three-game series from No. 3 Tennessee (44-8, 20-6 SEC) on Friday evening at Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, Fla., 4-3.
Each team registered five hits in the contest, with UT's big blow coming off the bat of junior catcher Ashley Andrews. The Tumwater, Wash., native was 1-for-3 at the plate with a run scored and a clutch two-out, two-RBI single during the Big Orange's three-run fifth. Sophomore left fielder Raven Chavanne (1-for-4) tripled in a tally during the same frame, while improving her hitting streak to a career-long 15 games. Sophomore right fielder Kat Dotson (1-for-3), senior center fielder Kelly Grieve (1-for-3) and junior designated player Shelby Burchell (1-for-2, run) each registered one of Tennessee's hits in the match-up.
As has been the trend all season long, UT managed three two-out RBIs during the contest to improve its season total to a staggering 140 overall.
Lady Vol freshman pitcher Ellen Renfroe was solid in the circle for Tennessee despite suffering a difficult loss to drop to 23-4 overall and 10-3 in league action. The Jackson, Tenn., native allowed four runs on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts over 6.0 innings.
"Karen (Co-Head Coach Weekly) and I are really proud of our kids," Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said. "They fought throughout the whole game, but in the end the Florida long ball prevailed. I think that's Florida's third walk-off win in its last four games. We thought Ellen Renfroe pitched exceptionally well today, and we are very proud of her effort."
Tennessee managed its initial base runner of the contest during the top of the first as Dotson dropped a perfect bunt for a one-out single. After the Savannah, Ga., native swiped her 22nd base of the campaign to reach scoring position, UF starting pitcher Stephanie Brombacher got Grieve to line out sharply to second and sophomore Lauren Gibson to bounce out routinely to second.
A lead-off base knock that blooped into right center off the bat of Brittany Schutte got the Gators started in the bottom of the second. Renfroe got a big first K by retiring UF career home run leader Megan Bush for the first out. A sacrifice bunt by catcher Tiffany DeFelice advanced the runner into scoring position, but Coyle went down swinging to leave the UF runner stranded.
Bad luck for Tennessee helped Florida nab a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Third baseman Kasey Fagan rolled a ball up the third base line that hit directly off the bag and ricocheted down the left field line for a bizarre lead-off double. With the UF runner at third following a groundout, center fielder Michelle Moultrie chopped a ball up the middle for an RBI as the Gators nabbed a 1-0 advantage. On a 3-2 pitch Gator second baseman Aja Paculba bounced one through the left side, but Moultrie was called out for leaving first early. Paculba was summoned back to the plate with two retired and promptly lined to junior Jessica Spigner at third to limit the damage.
UT rookie Madison Shipman helped keep Florida from adding anything on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth. With a UF runner standing at third and two outs, a solid play deep in the hole at short and a strong throw across the diamond by the Valencia, Calif., native, ended the frame with no scoring.
Tennessee's offense finally got something substantial started against Brombacher in the top of the fifth after Spigner managed a lead-off walk. With freshman Tory Lewis on to pinch run, Burchell chopped a base hit through the infield to put a pair aboard with no one out. Following a sacrifice bunt by freshman first baseman Melissa Davin and a foul-out by Shipman, Andrews stepped into the batter's box facing a huge opportunity. She came through in the clutch, despite facing a 0-2 count, by lacing a two-RBI single to center to grant the Lady Vols a 2-1 lead. With Andrews at second after surprising the Gators with a stolen base, Chavanne tripled through the infield. The ball rolled all the way to the wall as Andrews crossed easily to make it 3-1. That brought Brombacher's stay in the circle to an end as freshman Hannah Rogers was summoned into the contest to get UF out of the inning.
Florida answered right back in the bottom of the fifth with a pair of runs via a hit and benefitting from a pair of crucial Lady Vol wild pitches. Coyle opened the frame with a walk and moved to second on a one-out single by Gammel. With two Gators in scoring position and two down, Paculba managed a free pass. Unfortunately, ball four hit the dirt and escaped to the back stop as Coyle scored, cutting the UF deficit to 3-2. Just seconds later another wild offering plated Gammel as the contest became dead-locked at 3-3.
The Big Orange had a chance to potentially go back in front in the top of the sixth after Grieve christened the inning with a single and was joined by Burchell via a two-out hit by pitch. The duo was left where they stood, however, as a Lady Vol K ended the threat.
Coyle came to the dish for Florida as the opening batter of the bottom of the seventh and drilled a shot that just cleared the wall in center field as the Gators prevailed via solo walk-off, 4-3.
No. 3 Tennessee returns to action against No. 4 Florida on Sat., May 7, at Noon ET live on ESPN with Beth Mowins, Michele Smith and Charlotte Morgan on the call. Radio will be available with the "Voice of the Lady Vols" Mickey Dearstone via "The Sports Animal" (99.1/99.3 FM or AM 990) as well as for free through UTLadyVols.com/allaccess. Check both http://twitter.com/LadyVol_Sftball and http://twitter.com/LadyVol_Sports for the most up-to-date information on Tennessee softball.