Freshman Melissa Brown
May 9, 2010
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A four-run fourth inning was more than enough to back a complete-game, three-hitter by freshman pitcher Ivy Renfroe as No. 18 Tennessee (41-12, 17-8 Southeastern Conference) picked up a big series win over No. 11 LSU (42-13, 20-8 SEC) by recording a 6-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at Lee Softball Stadium.
Renfroe permitted just one run on three hits with three walks and a strikeout in firing her 10th complete game of the campaign. The 5-10 right hander improved to 25-4 overall on the year and a sterling 13-3 in league action.
At the plate freshman shortstop Melissa Brown posted two hits in three at-bats with an RBI double. Sophomore third baseman Jessica Spigner was 1-for-1 with her team-best 11th double of the season and two RBIs. Junior center fielder Kelly Grieve also delivered a two-bagger (her ninth of 2010) during her 1-for-2, run, RBI, stolen base performance.
"LSU has been a benchmark program for this league since Karen (co-head coach Weekly) and I have been at Tennessee," Lady Vol co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. "Every time you get a win against them, you've had a good day. We played hard today in every phase of the contest. I was especially pleased with Jessica Spigner, who was awesome on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. I guess the biggest positive of the whole series against LSU was that both Cat Hosfield and Ivy Renfroe tossed complete games and threw well. Every single game in the SEC is a battle."
LSU got off to a quick start behind speedster Kirsten Shortridge as the center fielder walked and swiped second to reach scoring position. Designated player Ashley Applegate bounced a ball just out of the reach of the leaping Renfroe in the circle and through the middle as the runner scored from second to grant LSU a lightning-fast 1-0 advantage. Right fielder Rachel Mitchell walked to put two on base with still none retired in the frame. After left fielder Ashley Langoni popped up to senior Tiffany Huff at first base, Anissa Young was struck by a Renfroe offering to pack the bags full of Tigers. Juliana Santos became the second retirement of the inning as freshman second baseman Lauren Gibson raced in to grab a short pop-up on the infield. LSU then missed a big chance to break the game wide open as shortstop Courtney Hollier lined out to Huff in foul ground outside of first base to leave a trio of runners stranded on the base paths.
With one down in the bottom of the first, Tennessee freshman right fielder Kat Dotson reached on a fielding error at first base to grant the Big Orange a base runner. Unfortunately, she was thrown out on a steal attempt to clear the base paths of Lady Vols. Grieve managed a free pass against LSU starter Rachele Fico and promptly stole her 22nd base of the campaign to achieve scoring position. A UT strikeout left Grieve stranded, however, as the Lady Vols couldn't answer back during the opening frame.
Gibson reached base the painful way opening the bottom of the second after being struck by a Fico offering. Spigner attempted to bunt the runner over but popped it up behind the plate. On the diving grab by catcher Morgan Russell, Gibson hustled to second base with one down. Following a groundball that improved the runner to third, Brown ripped a shot to third. LSU's Jessica Mouse made a tough diving play to her left and tossed across the diamond to conclude the inning.
A lead-off walk drawn by sophomore shortstop Ashley Andrews got a UT scoring rally started in the bottom of the third. After freshman left fielder Raven Chavanne sac bunted and Dotson was struck by a Fico pitch, Grieve stepped into the batter's box and drove a ball the other way to left and off the wall for a double. Andrews raced around to tie the count, but Dotson was thrown out at third on the play on a throw by LSU left fielder Ashley Langoni. With Grieve standing at second, Huff joined her teammate on the bases via walk. That set the stage for an RBI base knock through the left side of the infield by Gibson to make it 2-1, Tennessee. On Langoni's throw to the plate, the ball got away from the catcher for an error as Gibson and Huff ended up at second and third, respectively. Spigner stepped to the dish and doubled off the wall in left, plating both runners as the UT lead expanded to 4-1. That also ended Fico's stay in the circle for the Bayou Bengals as Cody Trahan was summoned into the contest in relief. The new hurler managed to retire senior designated player Nicole Kajitani on a fly out to right but not before the Lady Vols had exploded for four runs in the frame on three hits.
After both squads left a runner stranded in the fourth and were retired in order in the fifth inning, the Big Orange added some insurance to the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth. Spigner walked, Kajitani singled just out of the reach of Trahan on a bunt and then Brown doubled just inside the chalk down the left field line to make it 5-1. Burchell later added a sacrifice fly to right center to set Tennessee's final offensive total at six runs.
LSU managed a one-out single to left center by third baseman Jessica Mouse in the top of the seventh, but couldn't solve Renfroe. The Jackson, Tenn., native got a fielder's choice off the bat of Shortridge and a groundout to short from Applegate to end the contest.
UT has secured the No. 5 seeding for the upcoming SEC Tournament at Bogle Park in Fayetteville, Ark., over May 13-15. The Lady Vols will battle No. 4 seed Georgia in opening round action at a time still to be determined. Every contest during the league's annual showcase will be shown live on ESPNU.