The cold, windy, cloudy weather at Lee Softball Stadium late Tuesday afternoon was certainly not picture perfect for Tennessee’s home opener.
Neither was the way the Lady Vols struggled to score runs initially, or even the way they did finally take the lead in the fifth inning with the help of three errors.
In the end, however, after Tennessee scored four runs in the sixth on the way to a 6-0 victory over Lipscomb (7-7), the Tennessee coaches liked what they saw.
“I was pleased to get a 6-0 win,” said co-head coach Ralph Weekly. “Not that I don’t think we should have won, but I just thought they (the Bison) were a really good team. They beat Houston 10-1 and Houston is always a good team.”
Tennessee (14-2) began to take control in the fifth with the score still 0-0. Melissa Davin reached first base on an error, and then Hannah Akamine hit a hard shot that bounced off the second baseman into the outfield. The subsequent throw to third base was mishandled, and Davin scored for a 1-0 lead.
“I just wanted to get it done for my team and I wanted to capitalize on their mistakes,” said Davin. “I had confidence in my team, and I knew some way they would get me in.”
Tennessee went up 2-0 later in the inning on a Raven Chavanne sacrifice fly.
The sixth was more vintage Lady Vols, as this time they needed little help in scoring four more runs.
After Cheyanne Tarango singled, a hit by Lauren Gibson resulted in pinch runner Whitney Hammond scoring to put Tennessee up 3-0. Later in the inning, Davin had a two-RBI triple, and Akamine singled home another run.
While the lack of Tennessee scoring until later in the game might have given the 1,038 cold fans an additional reason to squirm, Chavanne said she was never worried.
“I knew we were going to get it done with our incredible lineup,” she said. “I knew it was going to happen eventually.”
UT pitcher Ivy Renfroe (5-0), who came in for younger sister Ellen Renfroe at the beginning of the fifth , was admittedly ready to go.
“When I got out there, I was amped up, but I relaxed,” the senior said of her one-hit performance.
John Shearer is a freelance contributor.