Freshman Raven Chavanne
May 14, 2010
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - No. 15-ranked and fifth-seeded Tennessee (42-12) scored in each of the first four innings in powering past No. 9-rated and fourth-seeded Georgia during Southeastern Conference Tournament opening round action on Thursday night at Bogle Park in Fayetteville, Ark.
The Lady Vols advance on to the SEC semifinals to face-off against the winner of tonight's Alabama-Arkansas match-up on Friday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. ET live on ESPNU with Beth Mowins and Jessica Mendoza on the call.
The UT speed game was especially outstanding versus UGA as junior center fielder Kelly Grieve went 3-for-4 at the plate with a double and two runs scored and freshman left fielder Raven Chavanne blasted a two-run HR (her third of the year) while going 1-for-2 with two RBIs, two runs scored and a pair of stolen bases. Rookie right fielder Kat Dotson scored once and swiped two of Tennessee's four bags in the contest. Sophomore third baseman Jessica Spigner knocked in a tally while going 1-for-2 at the dish and made an incredible catch while falling head-over-heels into the UGA dugout. Senior first baseman Erinn Webb recorded an infield single on a perfect drag bunt up the first base line.
Rookie Ivy Renfroe earned her 26th victory of the season and 14th against SEC opposition by allowing one run on five hits with a walk and two K's over 6.1 innings of relief work. Sophomore Cat Hosfield started the contest, permitting three earned runs on four hits over two-thirds of a frame.
"This was a great victory for our team against a very good Georgia club," Lady Vol co-head coach Karen Weekly said. "Our speed game, and especially the play of Kelly Grieve, really set the tone for our squad tonight. Kelly gets on base, makes incredible hustle plays, advances base runners and plays incredible defense in center field. Raven's (Chavanne) home run was a big boost of momentum, and Ivy (Renfroe) really grew up in the circle tonight."
Dotson got the Tennessee speed game off to a quick start in the top of the first by drawing a one-out walk off Georgia starter Alison Owen. The Savannah, Ga., native swiped second for her 28th steal of the campaign and advanced to third on a base hit into left center field by Grieve. Spigner stepped into the box and ripped an RBI single back up the middle to plate Dotson. On the play, UGA center fielder Taylor Schlopy's throw to third base was errant allowing Grieve to score and Spigner the opportunity to cruise into third as UT nabbed a lightning-fast 2-0 advantage.
The Bulldogs answered right back in the bottom of the first as lead-off hitter Schlopy was hit by a 3-2 pitch and left fielder Megan Wiggins doubled into the left center field gap. With Bulldogs at second and third, Hosfield uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Schlopy to score to cut the deficit to 2-1. Third baseman Alisa Goler blasted a towering fly ball to center that proved deep enough to plate Wiggins from third and suddenly it was 2-2. After a groundout first baseman Brianna Hesson drove a ball to deep left that just cleared the wall to bestow Georgia a 3-2 advantage. Back-to-back singles by designated player Kristyn Sandberg and right fielder Brittney Hubbard ended a brief stay in the circle by Hosfield as Renfroe entered in relief, attempting to stem UGA's momentum. The Jackson, Tenn., hurler handled a liner back to the circle to end what amounted to a wild opening frame for both squads.
The offensive show continued into UT's half of the second as sophomore designated player Shelby Burchell walked to christen the inning. Webb noticed the first baseman for UGA playing back and dropped a perfect bunt single up the line to advance freshman pinch runner Leah Taylor into scoring position with still no one retired. Freshman shortstop Melissa Brown battled to 1-2 before hitting the ball sharply but right into what appeared to be an inning-killing 6-4-3 double play as the lead runner improved to third. Chavanne came to the dish and crushed a two-run homer to center to give Tennessee back the lead at 4-3. That ended Owen's brief time in the circle as Erin Arevalo entered in relief. The new Bulldog hurler got a UT strikeout, but not before the Big Orange had put up another two-spot on the scoreboard.
Between the second and third innings rain began to fall at the complex forcing the teams off the field for an eight-minute delay as the tarp, and an even more lengthy delay, was barely avoided.
Following the brief weather break Grieve opened the third with a hustle double back through the middle of the infield. Spigner walked and then both runners advanced up 60 feet on a groundout to third. With one out freshman second baseman Lauren Gibson ripped a ball sharply off Arevalo's glove and through her legs in the circle. The Pasadena, Md., native was eventually thrown out at first on a quick grab by shortstop Laura Trout, but not before Grieve had scored from third to give the Big Orange a 5-3 advantage.
A Tennessee "web gem" ended the Georgia third inning as Spigner raced over from her defensive position at third base with two down and caught a Sandberg pop-up near the Bulldog dugout. Her momentum propelled her over the railing via a full flip, but she held on to conclude the frame.
The speed game manufactured another run for the Lady Vols in the top of the fourth, this time with two outs. Chavanne walked, swiped second (her 32nd steal of 2010) and advanced to third on an Arevalo wild pitch. Dotson also managed a free pass to place UT runners at the corners. That set the stage for a Chavanne steal of home as the Thousand Oaks, Calif., native beat the tag attempt at the plate to expand the Big Orange advantage to 6-3.
Meanwhile Renfroe had settled things down from the circle, despite Georgia getting a runner to second base in both the third and fourth frames, keeping the Bulldogs off the scoreboard.
There was a brief scary moment for the Lady Vols in the bottom of the fifth following a two-out single by Razey, but that was all it turned out to be, a brief scare. UGA's Hesson hammered a ball to deep right, but missed it by just a little as the sphere dropped into freshman Megan Givens' glove just inches from the base of the wall near the line.
Neither offense got anything going during the sixth frame as both the Lady Vols and Bulldogs went down in order one-two-three.
Down to their last chance to get back in the contest, Georgia added a tally on a one-out solo homer to left center by Schlopy, cutting the gap to 6-4. Wiggins followed with a double into the gap in right center and suddenly the Bulldogs brought the tying run to the plate. Renfroe managed to retire the dangerous Goler on a bouncer to Webb at first as Wiggins advanced to third with two down. UT's 5-10 hurler secured a big win by striking out Razey swinging to end the SEC quarterfinal contest.
Fifth-seeded Tennessee advances on to face the winner of tonight's match-up between top-seeded Alabama and eighth-seeded Arkansas on Friday at 5:30 p.m. ET live on ESPNU with Beth Mowins and Jessica Mendoza.