No. 5 Tennessee Takes Opening Game of Super Regionals, 3-2 Over Georgia
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On a
blisteringly hot Saturday afternoon in front of 1,822 Orange-clad fans
at the sold out Lee Softball Stadium, the #5 Tennessee Lady Vol
softball team (51-11) climbed ever closer to a berth in the annual
Women’s College World Series by taking the opener of the NCAA Knoxville
Super Regional from #11 Georgia (44-16), 3-2.
designated player Shelby Burchell continued her hot hitting at the
plate, going 2-for-2 with a walk and a key two-RBI single during the
bottom of the third. The Columbia, Tenn., native is hitting an
impressive .556 (10-for-18) with five doubles and six RBIs over UT’s
six NCAA Tournament games.
Junior third baseman Raven
Chavanne was 1-for-2 with a RBI, improving her streak of reaching base
safely to 41 consecutive games and her hitting streak to 14 straight
contests. Junior second baseman Lauren Gibson (1-for-2),
sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman (1-for-3, run) and junior first
baseman Melissa Brown (1-for-3) each registered one of Tennessee’s six
total hits off Georgia starter Erin Arevalo.
In the circle
junior Ivy Renfroe (24-8) continued her roll, picking up the 19th win
over her last 21 decisions dating back to March 21. The Jackson,
Tenn., product allowed two runs on six hits, walked one and struck out
seven in tossing her 10th complete game of the season.
game,” Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said. “That’s what you
expect from Super Regionals. I’m proud of our girls, and proud of
how they fought. I’m especially proud of Ivy (Renfroe) and how
she toughed it out. The Bulldogs gave us everything they had.
Erin Arevalo is a very good pitcher, and she is a challenge, just like
Ivy Renfroe is a very good pitcher. It’s amazing that our two
teams have to compete with so much at stake. Georgia has so many
great players, and everyone is fighting. I expect the same
Tennessee’s Renfroe wasted no time exerting her
influence from the circle in the top of the first, getting first
baseman Tess Sito via a routine groundout to second before posting
consecutive strikeouts of second baseman Ashley Pauly and shortstop
Arevalo held up her end of the early
pitcher’s duel in the bottom half of the first, getting a pair of Lady
Vol K’s and a pop-up for a one-two-three inning.
hurler rolling from the circle, Burchell became the first base runner
of the contest for either team, drawing a walk to christen the bottom
of the second. Following a perfect sacrifice bunt off the bat of
Gibson, sophomore left fielder Melissa Davin battled Arevalo over eight
pitches in drawing the second free pass of the inning for the Lady
Vols. Unfortunately, a foul out down the left field line and a
routine grounder to short left the Tennessee duo stranded on the base
The Big Orange’s nation-leading defense made itself
visible starting the top of the third as a terrific defensive play by
Andrews kept Georgia’s lead-off from reaching. UGA left fielder
Niaja Griffin dropped a bunt up the first base line, forcing UT’s
senior catcher to race out from behind the plate. She scooped the
ball on the run and made an underhanded toss to junior Melissa Brown at
first, nailing the runner by a step.
Lewis managed to get
a vital Orange & White scoring outburst underway in the bottom of
the third by starting the frame with a free pass. With the
speedster located on second following a sac bunt, Shipman picked up the
contest’s initial hit on a swinging bunt back to the circle. The
Valencia, Calif., native swiped her 20th base of the season, reaching
scoring position with two down. The set the stage for a clutch
bloop single by Burchell, that dropped just on the grass, plating a
pair of Lady Vols for a 2-0 advantage.
attempted to answer right back in the top of the fourth, loading the
bases with one out via singles from Sito and shortstop Paige Wilson and
a hit by pitch for catcher Kristyn Sandberg. Renfroe rose to the
challenge in a major way, however, posting consecutive strikeouts of
designated player Ashley Razey and right fielder Christine Olney as UGA
left the bases packed.
A lead-off single by Brown was
eventually cashed in for what proved to be a vital insurance tally by
the Lady Vols. With two down in the bottom of the fourth,
Chavanne ripped a single into the outfield, plating freshman pinch
runner Hannah Trainer from second for a 3-0 lead.
loaded the bases once again in the top of the fifth against Renfroe via
a double by Griffin, a walk from third baseman Gracie Goulder and a
one-out hit-by-pitch for Sito. UT’s 6-0 right-hander again
escaped the jam, registering her sixth strikeout of the contest and
then inducing a routine bouncer to first from Wilson to raise UGA’s
left stranded count to a half dozen.
A single to begin the
top of the sixth by Sandberg and a double that just eluded a leaping
Whitney Hammond at the wall in left from Razey granted the ‘Dawgs
another huge scoring threat. This time the Red & Black would
cash in as a RBI single by Olney and a RBI groundout by Griffin quickly
cut the Big Orange lead to just 3-2. Goulder stepped into the
batter’s box with one retired and hit a slow roller to second.
Gibson charged the ball, corralled it and threw quickly to Andrews at
the plate who applied the tag on Olney to maintain Tennessee’s tenuous
advantage. Attempting to get the potential tying run in scoring
position, Goulder was cut down via a caught stealing as Andrews fired a
strike to Shipman covering the second base bag to end the outburst.
had one final offensive chance in the top of the seventh but Renfroe
wouldn’t be denied, striking out Brittney Hubbard and getting both Sito
and Pauly to groundout to end the game.