Renfroe, UT offense wrap up sweep
Lady Vols' consecutive scoreless inning streak ends at 33.2
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Tennessee completed a three-game sweep with a 7-2 victory against No. 19 LSU (26-15, 8-9 Southeastern Conference) on Sunday afternoon. In the process, No. 6 Tennessee (38-6, 15-4 SEC) extended its winning streak to 10 consecutive games.
UT freshman pitcher Ellen Renfroe earned her second win of the series. She struck out 12 and allowed just one earned run on five hits in improving to 21-2 on the season and 8-1 in the SEC. A fifth inning tally by LSU broke a streak of 33.2 consecutive scoreless innings for Lady Vol pitching.
Tennessee collected 10 hits off LSU pitching. Shortstop Madison Shipman led the charge by going 2-for-4 with a stolen base and a pair of RBIs. Catcher Ashley Andrews knocked in a pair of runs as part of a 1-for-3 effort. Left fielder Shelby Burchell was 2-for-4 with a double and second baseman Lauren Gibson was 1-for-2 with two runs scored.
“Tennessee is very, very good,” LSU head coach Yvette Girouard said. “Obviously, we didn’t pitch nearly as well as we did last weekend [against Alabama], although I said before that Tennessee poses different problems for us defensively. The bottom line is we don’t score a lot of runs, and it’s a nightmare when you don’t score runs.”
Tennessee’s offense managed a two-out scoring threat in the top of the first, but failed to crack the scoreboard. A Kat Dotson walk against LSU starter Brittany Mack and a Shelby Burchell base knock through the infield stationed Lady Vol runners at the corners. Unfortunately, a strikeout left the duo stranded on the base paths. Renfroe continued the pitcher’s duel in the bottom of the first by also striking out the side with K’s of LSU right fielder Tiffany Shaw, shortstop Juliana Santos and first baseman Anissa Young.
The Big Orange would leave two more runners on base in the top of the third as a pair of one-out singles from Raven Chavanne and Kelly Grieve went for naught as a strikeout and a bouncer to short left the duo stranded.
But Tennessee would finally get on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth. Gibson opened the frame by ripping Mack’s first offering through the infield for a single. Designated player Jessica Spigner walked and first baseman Melissa Davin sacrificed to move Gibson and Spigner into scoring position. With two down in the inning following a pick off at third, Shipman chopped a ball just over the LSU infield that plated pinch runner Tory Lewis from second base for a 1-0 Tennessee lead.
LSU right fielder Tiffany Shaw was the first Tiger to reach base in the contest by battling Renfroe for a lead-off walk to open the bottom of the fourth. After a LSU stolen base, Santos stepped in and ripped a shot through the right side of the infield to place runners at the corners with none out. With one out following a strikeout of Young, left fielder Ashley Langoni dropped a squeeze bunt in the front of the plate that Andrews raced out quickly to corral. As UT’s catcher gained possession of the sphere, Shaw collided with her in the baseline and was originally ruled safe at home. A lengthy conference between the umpires resulted in a reversal with Shaw being ruled out. Catcher Lauren Houston became Renfroe’s ninth strikeout victim to end the Tigers' scoring threat.
A throwing error on a bouncer by third baseman Tammy Wray to start the bottom of the fifth opened the door for the Bayou Bengals to dead-lock the score at 1-1. A passed ball and a sacrifice bunt allowed pinch runner Alex Boulet to advance to third with just one out in the frame. On a high chopper back to the circle by second baseman Cassie Trosclair, a miscommunication resulted in no Lady Vol covering first as she reached via single and Boulet scored to tie the game at 1-1. The next two batters for LSU were ruled out for going out of the front of the batter’s box to end the frame.
More fireworks erupted in the top of the sixth as Gibson was hit in the facemask by the first pitch of the frame. An argument over the batter’s boxes resulted in a delay as the grounds crew was summoned out to re-chalk the lines. After the lengthy pause in action, Spigner drove a single to the outfield, placing a pair aboard with still no one retired. Davin bounced a ball wide of Trosclair at second that she was forced to dive to corral. She attempted a throw from a prone position and threw it wide of Young at first for an error as Gibson scored to give UT a 2-1 advantage. An RBI single by Shipman and Grieve's RBI groundout added two more to expand the lead to 4-1.
Santos opened the bottom of the sixth with a double to right center and was joined by Houston after being hit by a pitch with two out. As the potential tying run, Wray laced numerous foul balls before rolling out to Chavanne at third for a big inning-ending force out.
A lead-off double by Burchell in the top of the seventh led to another score to grant Tennessee a 5-1 advantage. Following a Gibson walk, a bouncer to first by Davin was booted by Young as Burchell raced around all the way from second to boost UT’s advantage to four tallies. With two down in the inning, Andrews laced a two-RBI single to the outfield grass as Gibson and Davin scored to make it 7-1.
Santos drove an RBI single to right to plate a run to cut the deficit to 7-2 and then Young was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Renfroe would end any chance of a Tiger comeback by striking out Langoni to close out the sweep.
Santos led LSU, going 3-for-4 with an RBI. In the circle, Brittany Mack was touched up for five runs, two earned, on nine hits. She recorded seven strikeouts against three walks during her six frames of work but fell to 10-5 on the season.