Renfroe's no-hitter leads Lady Vols
Sophomore star records eight Ks as Tennessee sweeps Furman
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- On Tuesday night in front of 794 fans at the Lee Softball Stadium, Ellen Renfroe hurled her first collegiate no-hitter and No. 10 Tennessee (25-7) banged out 10 hits to complete a doubleheader sweep of Furman by a 8-0 (6 inn.) score.
Renfroe followed up her sister Ivy's one-hit effort in the DH opener by firing walking four and striking out eight while registering her Division I-leading 13th shutout of the season. The sophomore has allowed just two total runs over her last 47.2 innings of work in the circle dating back to the third inning of a match-up against Florida on March 11.
Melissa Brown led the Big Orange charge at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and a pair of RBIs. Cat Hosfield was 2-for-3 with a double and a RBI, while Kat Dotson was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and two steals. Lauren Gibson added a RBI via a double as part of 1-for-3 effort and Cheyanne Tarango was credited with a RBI on a sacrifice fly.
"I thought Furman played really well," Lady Vol co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. "I know our kids were tired. We were on the road for nine days last week, so I guess we came out and didn't really answer the bell. We managed to play well enough to win, and I guess that's what matters at this time of year. We challenged the team a little bit between games, and in the second game we picked up 10 hits."
With Tennessee leaving Madison Shipman stranded in the bottom of the first following a two-out infield single, Furman posted the first big offensive threat in the top of the second. Third baseman Natalie Clemmons and second baseman Emily Boyer recorded consecutive walks against Renfroe, but the right hander responded with her third strikeout of the contest, getting catcher Hannah Pace swinging.
A lead-off walk by Furman's Ambree Muller in the top of the third was quickly wiped off via a runner left early call. Back-to-back strikeouts of Sarah Eidt and Nikki Legg marked the fourth and fifth K's of the contest for Renfroe.
Dotson got the Lady Vol offense untracked in the bottom of the third via a one-out base knock through the infield. With two down in the frame and the Lady Vol runner in scoring position after a stolen base, Gibson blasted a two-bagger into the gap, plating Dotson for a 1-0 advantage. Brown followed immediately after with a RBI single off the outfield wall, improving the UT lead to 2-0.
The lead expanded to 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth as Hosfield started the frame with a double into the gap. A passed ball on Furman catcher Hannah Pace moved the runner up to third where she came in to score via a sacrifice fly off the bat of Tarango. The Big Orange threatened to extend the lead with two outs after Raven Chavanne singled up the middle and swiped second. After a five-pitch walk that put Dotson on first, Shipman grounded to Natalie Clemmons, who stepped on the bag for the force.
The Paladins christened the fifth with a walk, Furman's fourth of the game, but Clemmons would get no farther. Pinch hitter Alexis Galinski sent a grounder to Chavanne, who threw it to second for the force. Renfroe would account for the final two outs of the frame, striking out Hope Smith and catching a comebacker off the bat of pinch hitter Alex Bimonte.
UT saw two more runs come across home plate in the bottom of the fifth, pushing its advantage to 5-0. Gibson walked to begin the inning and recorded her eighth steal of the season to advance to second. Gibson came around to score after Brown hit a laser into the outfield for a double. Following a fly out from Burchell, Hosfield singled through the infield to plate Brown. Whitney Hammond beat out a grounder on the infield to reach first and give the Lady Vols two on with just one out. A grounder to third cleared Hosfield off the base paths with the inning concluding on a fly out to left fielder Ambree Muller.
Two grounders to Shipman and Renfroe's eighth strikeout of the game quickly closed the door on any chance of a Furman rally, bringing Tennessee up for what would be its last at-bats of the contest.
Dotson's second hit to begin the bottom of the sixth inning and a stolen base quickly granted UT a RBI opportunity. A four-pitch walk to Shipman and a groundout by Gibson to short placed Lady Vols on second and third. The Paladins allowed Brown to reach base after Clemmons throw from third sailed over the head of first baseman Jessie Homesley.
Both Dotson and Shipman scored on the miscue, while Brown advanced to second, bringing Tennessee within a run of ending the game early. Furman recorded the second out as a result of a groundout to short. Hosfield reached base for the third time after a two-out walk, as she and Brown moved up a base following a wild pitch from Lakyn Shull. Hammond walked to pack the bases, leaving it up to Ashley Andrews. The final run wouldn't come off a hit or a walk, but instead a passed ball, as catcher Hope Smith allowed a Shull pitch to sneak by and Brown to score.