Nov. 15, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee softball team recently wrapped its 2013 fall exhibition season. The Lady Vols went 8-0 in exhibition games with several of its younger stars enjoying standout performances.
"I was proud of our kids," Tennessee co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. "With Madison Shipman, Melissa Davin and Erin Gabriel still recovering from injuries and a myriad of other players' injuries, we used a patchwork lineup of freshmen and younger players. It was a great opportunity to see a lot of new players. Heck, our starting catcher, Hannah Akamine, played at short all eight games and did reasonably well."
The Lady Vols hit .339 as a team and outscored opponents, 63-6. The breakout star of the fall was freshman Megan Geer. The Los Alamitos, Calif., native played the outfield and infield and hit .520 (13-for-25) with five homers, two doubles, one triple, 13 RBIs and 15 runs. Fellow freshmen Taylor Koenig (.364 batting average, one homer, one double, five RBIs) and Annie Aldrete (.333 batting average, one homer, five doubles, nine RBIs) also gave fans a glimpse of their outstanding potential.
Sophomores Rainey Gaffin and Lexi Overstreet showed that they are prepared to make major leaps forward in their second year in Knoxville. Gaffin hit .500 (11-for-22) with four doubles, six RBIs and five stolen bases. Overstreet had two homers, two doubles and 10 RBIs, while hitting .389.
In the circle, UT pitchers combined for a 0.89 ERA and held batters to a .117 batting average. Senior ace Ellen Renfroe was in midseason form, going 4-0 while throwing 25.0 shutout frames with 48 strikeouts and just four hits allowed. Gaffin saw some action in the circle, posting a 1.75 ERA and 12 strikeouts over eight innings.
The Tennessee softball season starts on Feb. 7, 2014, when the Lady Vols take on Northern Colorado at the Georgia Southern Tournament in Statesboro, Ga. UT's first home game at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium is on March 5 against Wright State. The Lady Vols' first SEC home series of the season is against South Carolina with three games from March 21-23.
Tennessee enjoyed one of the finest seasons in program history in 2013, finishing as the national runner-up, making its sixth Women's College World Series appearance in nine years and posting its eighth 50-win season with a final record of 52-12. UT returns several key players from its 2013 WCWS Championship Series run, including All-American seniors Renfroe (2011, 2012) and Shipman (2012, 2013). With 11 returning veterans and seven exciting newcomers, Tennessee is primed for another big season and has goals that culminate in Oklahoma City.
Stay tuned to UTSports.com and follow the official Tennessee softball Facebook (facebook.com/TennesseeSoftball) and Twitter (@LadyVol_Sftball) accounts for the latest news on the Lady Vols.