Tennessee's Overstreet on hitting game-winning home run
Tennessee's Ellen Renfroe on shutting down Lipscomb 2-0
Lexi Overstreet was having a bad day. She was Ashley Anderson’s strikeout victim No. 4 in the second inning and then No. 9 in the fourth.
“I had to flush the last two at-bats and refocus,’’ Overstreet said Sunday. “I wasn’t going to let her beat me again.’’
Tennessee’s softball sluggers didn’t win many battles against Lipscomb left-hander Anderson in the NCAA Knoxville Regional.
But Overstreet won one and one was enough.
The sophomore from Suwanee, Ga., clubbed a two-run home run in the sixth inning to lift the Lady Vols to a 2-0 victory before an anxious Lee Stadium crowd of 1,628.
Tennessee (45-10) heads to Norman, Okla., for a Super Regional against the defending national champion Oklahoma Sooners. The first game is Friday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. Saturday's game is 5 p.m. on ESPN. The Women’s College World Series is just up the road in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma is the No. 7 seed in the bracket, Tennessee No. 10. Both Sooner pitchers who beat UT in last year’s WCWS championship round have graduated.
“Our kids are excited about that match-up,’’ co-head-coach Karen Weekly said, “to go out there and hopefully make it a long stay in Oklahoma City.’’
Lipscomb (41-15) and its lineup of largely homegrown Tennessee athletes, made the California-flavored Lady Vols earn their trip.
Anderson (20-8) brought Tennessee’s offensive surge to a halt, striking out nine in the first four innings. The Lady Vols had scored 12 runs both Friday and Saturday in run-rule wins.
For five innings, Anderson and Ellen Renfroe fashioned a tense scoreless tie.
“Ashley hit her spots and did what she needed to do to keep them guessing for a while,’’ said Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman.
“With them being good hitters, you’re only going to keep them guessing for so long.’’
Tennessee had managed only a couple of singles until Haley Tobler led off the top of the sixth with a sharp single to left field.
Overstreet, the two-time strikeout victim, then hit a 1-1 pitch over the fence in right-center field, her seventh home run of the year.
“She threw an inside pitch that she beat me on last time and I just got my hands through and got it good,’’ Overstreet said.
“I wasn’t going to let her beat me again.’’
A day after Tennessee hit a school-record six home runs — including one by Overstreet — against Virginia Tech, one got the job done.
Renfroe (29-6) secured the final six outs with a resolve to finish her three-hit, 10-strikeout, no-walks tour de force.
“In the sixth and seventh,’’ said Weekly, “you just saw a look in her eye, a look of determination:
‘They’re not gonna score.’’’
For a while it looked as if Tennessee wasn’t either.
Annie Aldrete was hitless. Madison Shipman legged out a 10-foot roller for a single.
At last, Tobler and Overstreet, the six and seven batters in the lineup, timed their lone hits together to decide the game.
“Lexi has one of the best swings on the team,’’ Weekly said. “It’s nice to have that kind of potential down there in the order where she is.’’