KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — No. 10 national seed Lady Vols softball exploded with eight runs in the first inning en route to a 12-3 win over Charleston Southern on Friday in Game 2 of the Knoxville Regional.
Tennessee (27-32-1) scored eight in the first, three in the second and one in the fourth. Charleston Southern (27-32-1) scored all three of its runs in the fourth inning.
Tennessee’s 12 runs set a new program record for runs scored in NCAA Tournament play. The Lady Vols previously scored 11 runs in an 11-2 win over Virginia on May 22, 2010, in the 2010 Knoxville Regional.
Annie Aldrete hit a three-run homer in the first inning to set the tone and finished 2-for-3 with six RBIs. Megan Geer was a perfect 3-for-3 with one RBI and two runs. Madison Shipman had a pair of RBIs on bases-loaded walks and finished with four walks on the night. Haley Tobler was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer. Rainey Gaffin scored three runs in the win.
Ellen Renfroe (27-6) threw three scoreless innings to earn the victory. Gaffin allowed three unearned runs over 0.2 frames. Erin Gabriel finished the game with 1.1 scoreless innings and three strikeouts.
Cheyenne Gandara (11-12) took the loss after issuing six earned runs over 0.2 frames. Morgan Dowdy allowed five runs over one relief inning. Jennifer Giles issued one run over the final 2.1 innings.
UT tied its program record for runs scored in one inning in NCAA Tournament play with eight runs in the first. The Lady Vols previously scored eight runs in the fourth inning of a 10-0 win over Illinois-Chicago on May 20, 2004. Aldrete hit a three-run homer to left field, a towering shot over the scoreboard on a full count that gave UT a 3-0 lead. Four batters later, Haley Tobler ripped a two-run homer down the left field line. Taylor Koenig knocked double to left center and Rainey Gaffin and Megan Geer drew walks to load the bases with two outs. Madison Shipman drew a bases-loaded walk and Aldrete followed with a two-RBI single to short to give Tennessee a commanding 8-0 lead.
Tennessee grew its lead to 11-0 in the bottom of the second. With two outs and the bases loaded, Geer hit an RBI single to short on a high chopper, plating Tobler form third. Shipman followed with another bases-loaded walk and Aldrete drew a bases-loaded walk to push the Lady Vols’ lead to 11 runs. Rainey Gaffin rounded out scoring for the Lady Vols coming home on an error by the CSU third baseman.
Charleston Southern plated all three of its runs in the fourth. With two outs and runners on the corners, Amanda Matsumoto hit an RBI single to left field, scoring Ari Tedesco for CSU’s first run. Brandy Galaviz followed with an RBI single through the left side. Stephanie Sbardella reached on an error at third base in the next at-bat, plating Matsumoto to bring the Buccaneers to within 11-3.
The Lady Vols added one more run in the bottom of the fourth when Aldrete reached on an error at third base and Gaffin scored on the play.
Tennessee will next face Virginia Tech in Game 3 on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET. Charleston Southern will play Lipscomb in Game 4 at 4:30 p.m. ET. The loser of Game 3 and the winner of Game 4 will face each other in Game 5 at 7 p.m. ET. All games will feature free live online video via the CBS ULive Player.
Release and photo courtesy of Tennessee Athletics