Lady Vol Ellen Renfroe 'tough' against Gators, 3-1

Tennessee pitcher Ellen Renfroe struck out 14 batters Saturday against Florida in Gainesville, Fla.

Tennessee athletics

Tennessee pitcher Ellen Renfroe struck out 14 batters Saturday against Florida in Gainesville, Fla.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Considering Tennessee co-head softball coach Ralph Weekly has coached all-everything UT pitcher Monica Abbott, Olympic superstar Lisa Fernandez and many other talented pitchers, his words said a lot about Ellen Renfroe’s masterful game Saturday afternoon against Florida.

It was “one of the best pitching performances” he has ever seen, Weekly said.

In her 10th start of the season, it was clear from the outset that the movement on Renfroe’s pitches was spot on. The junior from Jackson gave up just three hits and struck out a season-high 14, including six of the first seven batters she faced, in a 3-1, eight-inning victory against the third-ranked Gators (26-3, 3-2 SEC).

Renfroe’s effort was just what the doctor ordered after the sixth-ranked Lady Vols (23-5, 3-2) lost the series opener Friday night 6-5, also in eight innings. It also was what her coach had ordered, as well; the coach sitting at home 550 miles away.

“Karen (Weekly) relayed a message to me,” said Renfroe. “She said ‘Ellen, your team needs you; needs you to go out there and be tough. You’re going to get into sticky situations.’ So that was my attitude — to be tough.”

Karen Weekly is in Knoxville recuperating from gallbladder surgery.

In the bottom half of the seventh inning with the game tied at 1-1, Renfroe got into one of those sticky situations Karen Weekly was talking about but battled her way out of it. A one-out double by the Gators’ Stephanie Tofft was followed by Renfroe hitting Taylor Schwarz with a pitch. Renfroe got the second out of the inning by striking out Taylore Fuller but walked the next batter, pinch hitter Bailey Castro, to load the bases. Renfroe then got Kelsey Stewart to pop out to send the game to extra innings.

Renfroe kept telling her teammates to just get her a run and that is exactly what they did in the eighth. With Lauren Gibson on first thanks to a fisted, one-out single off Gator starting pitcher Lauren Haeger, Cheyanne Taranago hit a 3-2 pitch for a go-ahead double. Kat Dotson then followed with another RBI double, giving Renfroe an insurance run.

Tarango finished 3-for-4 on the day. In the two games against the Gators the sophomore is 4-for-7 with a home run, a double, two singles and three RBIs.

The rubber match between Florida and Tennessee is today at 1 p.m.

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Comments » 10

voloffaith writes:

Back to even stevenette with the lady chompers...Can Ive secure the series for the second week against top competition?

AlexAndersonAAradio writes:

Cheyanne Tarango is the newest star on this team. Now we have a deadly 1-5 lineup which ha changed. Raven leads off, Gibson bats second,Shipman 3rd, and now Tarango cleanup. Dodson is a very good player, if not for injuries she would have been better than all 4 but she has been demoted from 2nd to 5th so we have a very strong 1-5 now.

I like the new batting lineup change. The emergence of Tarango created it.

voloffaith writes:

in response to AlexAndersonAAradio:

Cheyanne Tarango is the newest star on this team. Now we have a deadly 1-5 lineup which ha changed. Raven leads off, Gibson bats second,Shipman 3rd, and now Tarango cleanup. Dodson is a very good player, if not for injuries she would have been better than all 4 but she has been demoted from 2nd to 5th so we have a very strong 1-5 now.

I like the new batting lineup change. The emergence of Tarango created it.

So would you say the new dance craze is we all are doing 'The Tarango"?

voloffaith writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Back to even stevenette with the lady chompers...Can Ive secure the series for the second week against top competition?

Hey buddy her name is Ivy! Get it right dude!!!

SummittsCourt writes:

The lady Vols are the only Tennessee team that has a shot at a National Title! Let's go Lady Vols!

AlexAndersonAAradio writes:

Hey KNS. Why can't we get an article on Cheyanne Tarango? Isn't that a great story how she came to UT as one of the highly rated players in the nation, then really struggled last year and lost her confidence, then she comes back in her sophomore year and becomes everything that was expected. Sounds like a good story to me with enough drama to where you should enjoy taking time to write it. I bet you'd really like Chey if you went and talked to her.

AlexAndersonAAradio writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Hey buddy her name is Ivy! Get it right dude!!!

To opposing batters the name is "Poison Ivy"

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

Very solid performance all around...although being fair, we DID benefit from two pretty bad calls at first base - both at critical moments. The first one - in the top of the first - kept the inning alive and led to our first run. The second one - in the bottom of the 8th - was a dagger to Florida.

Certainly don't want to diminish Ellen's performance...she was excellent! Go Lady Vols...sweep the series!

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to Fall_Creek_Vols:

Very solid performance all around...although being fair, we DID benefit from two pretty bad calls at first base - both at critical moments. The first one - in the top of the first - kept the inning alive and led to our first run. The second one - in the bottom of the 8th - was a dagger to Florida.

Certainly don't want to diminish Ellen's performance...she was excellent! Go Lady Vols...sweep the series!

Yeah, like UT has never been on the receiving end of a bad call. I never blame a loss on a ref's call. I might get mad about it, but bottom line, UF failed to get hits because they could not figure out Ellen Renfro.

BTW, by making your first statements you did diminish Ellen's performance.

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

Yeah, like UT has never been on the receiving end of a bad call. I never blame a loss on a ref's call. I might get mad about it, but bottom line, UF failed to get hits because they could not figure out Ellen Renfro.

BTW, by making your first statements you did diminish Ellen's performance.

Wow! Your shorts must be chafing you around the waistband (or elsewhere) just a bit.

No one was happier than me to see this solid win than I was. My comments were just an honest - and accurate - assessment of the calls at 1st base. In order to placate you, I should have said that the calls had no bearing on the outcome of the game. It seems to me that some fans (short for fanatic) can't read objective observations without misconstruing as being negative to our team (like you just did).

And I disagree, the comment did NOTHING to detract from Ellen's excellent performance. Just a bit of a stretch, don't you think? If it helps, I think you are correct, UF lost because of a superior performance by Ellen Renfroe.

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