May 8, 2010
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - On a beautiful Saturday afternoon that celebrated both the "Senior Day" of Tiffany Huff and the 1000th all-time contest in Lady Vol softball history, No. 18 Tennessee (40-11, 16-7 Southeastern Conference) picked up its 40th victory of the 2010 season by out-lasting No. 11 LSU (41-12, 19-7 SEC), 6-5, in the opener of a doubleheader that was broadcast nationally via ESPN.
Sophomore designated player Shelby Burchell (1-for-2, walk, three RBIs) and sophomore shortstop Ashley Andrews (1-for-3, two RBIs) each blasted their fourth home runs of the campaign to lead the UT offense. Senior honoree Huff was 0-for-1 at the plate, but delivered a perfect squeeze bunt for an RBI to plate Tennessee's initial run of the contest, walked and scored a tally. Freshman left fielder Raven Chavanne (1-for-2, run), sophomore third baseman Jessica Spigner (1-for-3) and freshman right fielder Kat Dotson (1-for-1, walk, run) each registered base knocks in the contest.
Over two separate stints in the circle, sophomore starter Ivy Renfroe picked up her 24th victory of the season and 12th in league action. The Jackson, Tenn., native worked 5.2 frames, allowing four runs on seven hits with a pair of walks and six K's. In relief sophomore Cat Hosfield permitted one earned tally on three hits with two walks and a strikeout over 1.1 innings.
LSU center fielder Kirsten Shortridge opened the contest with a slap single into short left field and quickly swiped second to reach scoring position. Renfroe responded to the threat by striking out designated player Ashley Applegate before walking right fielder Rachel Mitchell. With a pair on base and one down, the 5-10 right hander K'ed left fielder Ashley Langoni and got first baseman Anissa Young to bounce out harmlessly to second base to leave the LSU duo stranded.
Looking for an early Big Orange spark, Chavanne started UT's first by drawing a lead-off walk, reaching safely to open Tennessee's initial at-bat of the game for the 26th time this season. Junior center fielder Kelly Grieve dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt up the third base line to advance the Tennessee speedster into scoring position. With one retired in the frame, an illegal pitch on LSU starter Cody Trahan moved Chavanne up 60 feet to third where she was soon joined via walk by Huff. Following an Orange & White strikeout, Dotson also managed a free pass to load the bases. Unfortunately, a bouncer to first ended the inning, leaving the bags packed full of Lady Vols.
After both teams went down in order in the second, LSU's Applegate broke a string of seven straight batters retired by Renfroe by drawing a two-out walk in the top of the third. Into the box stepped the Tigers' career home run leader Mitchell, but she went down swinging at a rise ball to end the Bayou Bengals' frame.
Chavanne christened the bottom of the third by recording Tennessee's initial hit of the contest on a slap single over short into left center. The Thousand Oaks, Calif., native quickly stole her team-leading 31st bag of the season to reach scoring position. That set the stage for consecutive sacrifice bunts from Grieve and Huff, with the latter recording an RBI, as Chavanne crossed to make it 1-0.
The Lady Vol advantage grew in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a long ball. Following a lead-off walk issued to sophomore designated player Shelby Burchell, Andrews stepped into the batter's box and blasted a one-out offering from Trahan directly over the top of the fair pole down the left field line to make it 3-0 Big Orange.
The Tigers got a threat started in the top of the fifth as catcher Morgan Russell opened the frame with a base knock to center. That ended Renfroe's stay in the circle as Hosfield was summoned into the circle for a relief appearance. Third baseman Jessica Mouse dropped a sac bunt to advance the LSU runner to second with one down. Shortridge beat out an infield single to first, placing runners at the corners for the Bayou Bengals. She took off attempting to steal second, but was gunned down on a strong throw by Huff as Russell crossed the plate to cut the LSU deficit to 3-1. With two down Applegate doubled into the right center field gap and was followed by an infield single off the bat of Mitchell. Hosfield was up the challenge presented, however, by striking out Langoni on an inside pitch.
A huge Tiger error on a Huff fly ball to right starting the bottom of the fifth opened the door for three, two-out Lady Vol runs. With Huff occupying second after the miscue, Dotson was struck by a Trahan offering. Burchell came to the dish and drove a pitch the other way over the wall in right center for a three-run HR, making it 6-1 Tennessee.
Young christened LSU's half of the sixth by drawing a walk versus Hosfield. Santos lifted a ball down the left field line that threatened to drop into fair territory. Lady Vol sophomore Holly Baker raced over from her defensive position in left and slid into foul ground to make a tremendous "web gem" grab for a big first out. A free pass issued to shortstop Courtney Hollier was enough to bring Renfroe back into the contest for her second appearance, facing a situation with LSU base runners on first and second with one retired. Russell bounced a ball into the hole between third and short to reach, loading the bases full of Bayou Bengals. The UT lead was cut to 6-2 on a sac fly to center by Mouse as pinch runner Katie Guillory scored from third. Shortridge ripped a ball back through the middle of the infield for a base hit. Grieve came up throwing as Hollier rounded third on her way to the dish. A perfect strike beat the LSU runner by a mile as Huff made the tag to end the inning with no further damage.
Down to the last chance in the top of the seventh, LSU's Mitchell got a rally started with a one-out bloop single down the left field line. Langoni followed with a single past diving second baseman Melissa Brown into right center as Mitchell raced around to third. Young cut the LSU deficit to just one on a three-run homer to right as the Tennessee lead suddenly fell to 6-5. Renfroe rebounded to strikeout Falcon, bringing up Hollier as the Tigers' last chance. She popped up harmlessly to second as Brown made the grab to end UT's 1000th all-time contest with a victory.