In the fourth inning of the Tennessee softball team’s 19-1 victory over Tennessee State on Tuesday night, Lady Vol Madison Shipman hit a hard shot down the third base line.
In a late call, the home plate umpire ruled the ball foul, causing the shivering Tennessee fans at Lee Softball Stadium to disagree loudly.
However, within a few seconds, the jeers for the umpire turned to cheers for Shipman. The reason was that the junior shortstop from Valencia, Calif., quickly hit a perfect three-run shot over the centerfield fence.
“I was pretty pumped,” Shipman said. “I was like, ‘I’m glad he called that one foul.’ ”
And before the inning was over, she achieved a rare feat by hitting another three-run homer. Tennessee (31-6), meanwhile, had an equally unusual team accomplishment by scoring 15 runs in the inning to blow open what had been a 4-1 game.
“That’s the biggest inning we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Lady Vol co-head coach Ralph Weekly. “I don’t ever remember an inning being that big.”
However, he was not celebrating loudly, but it was not because of any shortcomings from his team during the rest of the 4 1/2-inning game.
“I love to win, but I hate it when it gets out of hand like that,” he admitted. “It was really a pretty good ball game until they (TSU) dropped the ball between the two outfielders in that last inning.
“Jeff (Dabney, the TSU coach) is a good friend of mine and a good coach and he’s got a lot of young players. We just hit the ball well tonight.”
Despite Shipman’s heroics, she had to share the limelight with fellow junior Melissa Davin, who had two home runs as well and finished with four hits and five RBIs.
“It was awesome,” the Fresno, Calif., resident said of her play. “It means you are seeing the ball big.”
Also aiding the win was Kat Dotson, who started the scoring in the fourth with a three-RBI single.
Pitcher Erin Gabriel (5-1) picked up the win, while Ellen Renfroe was credited with a rare save in a blowout game after Tennessee State had the potentially tying run at the plate in the top of the fourth.
Notebook: Although Weekly did not finish his postgame meeting with his team until after the Tennessee-Louisville Elite Eight NCAA women’s basketball tournament game had started, he said he planned to watch it. “I’m a huge fan of Holly Warlick and what the Lady Vols are doing,” he said.. Weekly also said senior Lauren Gibson was not drafted in the National Pro Fastpitch college draft Monday night because she is committed to playing on the USA softball team. ... Tennessee’s home game against Auburn on Saturday, April 13, has been moved from noon to 11:30 a.m. ... The starting lineup for TSU (11-23) included freshman Kierra Freeman from Bearden High in right field and junior Ashley Haynes from Central at shortstop.