Ivy Renfroe, Lady Vols earn split with Georgia

Wade Rackley/UTADphoto
Tennessee's Madison Shipman collects one of the Lady Vols seven hits in a 3-1 loss to Georgia in 11 innings on Wednesday.

Wade Rackley/UTADphoto Tennessee's Madison Shipman collects one of the Lady Vols seven hits in a 3-1 loss to Georgia in 11 innings on Wednesday.

Tennessee was one out away from knocking Georgia out of second place in the SEC East Division on Wednesday night.

Instead, the Bulldogs' Kristyn Sandberg swung and knocked the ball out of Lee Stadium with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, tying the opener of a softball doubleheader with a 300-foot shot over the scoreboard and breaking up Ellen Renfroe's no-hit bid.

The 10th-ranked Bulldogs (30-8, 9-5 SEC), who entered the action percentage points ahead of the ninth-ranked Lady Vols (28-9, 10-6) in the standings, went on to beat UT 3-1 in 11 innings before Tennessee recovered with a 2-1 victory in a nightcap that included a one-hour, 15-minute lightning delay.

"You could feel the respect between the two teams tonight, but we just went out there and slugged it out,'' Lady Vols co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. "Both Ellen and Ivy (Renfroe) pitched really well, and our defense was outstanding. What can you say about Ellen's game? It was just tough. She threw a curve that didn't break.''

In the opener, Georgia managed only one hit through 10 innings before striking for three hits and two runs in the 11th off Ellen Renfroe (19-3), who pitched herself into a hole in the decisive frame by yielding a lead-off walk and then a single.

Paige Wilson drove a single into right field to give the Bulldogs their first lead. Wilson went to second as the throw from UT right fielder Kat Dotson cut down Brittney Hubbard at the plate.

Wilson advanced to third on a groundout before scoring on Ashley Razey's single up the middle to make it 3-1.

Dotson singled to open UT's 11th, but Georgia senior pitcher Erin Arevalo (15-3) fanned Madison Shipman before inducing Team USA star Lauren Gibson to ground into game-ending double-play.

The Lady Vols stranded six batters in the game, leaving runners in scoring position in three innings, including the sixth when UT had runners at second and third with one out.

UT scored its only run in the fourth, when Gibson singled to open the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt before scoring on Melissa Brown's double in the left-center field gap.

Ivy Renfroe (9-6) was in command throughout the second game, striking out nine while scattering six hits.

Shipman's bases-loaded bloop single in the third put the Lady Vols up 2-0, and it proved to be all the run support Ivy Renfroe needed.

"Ellen had pitched such an awesome game, and my heart went out to her,'' Ivy Renfroe said. "I think everyone felt bad, so we knew we had to put some runs on the board in the second game.''

Georgia loaded the bases with one out in the sixth before scoring on a sacrifice fly to cut UT's lead in half, but Ivy Renfroe settled in and halted the rally.

UT returns to action at Auburn on Friday in the first game of a three-game series.

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Comments » 1

voloffaith writes:

Ivy getting consistency helps our pitching outlook in the big picture...Ellen getting beat twice recently is a little disconcerting. However, this looks somewhat like the Monica Abbott days where she would pitch great and get no or little run support and would lose 1-0,2-0 or some marginal amount. In this for the long haul so go beat the lady tigerettes in aubie land.

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