(Photo and release courtesy of Tennessee athletics)
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– A six-run sixth inning and strong pitching boosted No. 8 Tennessee softball to an 8-0, six-frame win over Furman on Tuesday night at Lee Stadium.
The Lady Vols (37-8) scored one in the second, one in the third and six in the sixth to defeat Furman (25-21). Tennessee improved to 9-0 overall against Furman and 6-0 against the Paladins in games played in Knoxville.
Madison Shipman led the team offensively, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and one double. Shaliyah Geathers also had an impressive night, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs, one double and two runs scored.
Erin Gabriel started the game for Tennessee and struck out four over three scoreless frames. Cheyanne Tarango (4-1) earned the win, allowing no runs, one hit and striking out three over two shutout innings. Ellen Renfroe got her fourth save of the season after shutting down Furman in the sixth, allowing no hits and striking out one.
The three Tennessee pitchers combined for no walks and no runs on the night.
Lauren Collier (14-10) got the loss on the night after giving up eight runs and seven hits over 5.1 innings. Relief pitcher Shelby Parker tossed 0.1 innings and allowed one hit.
The Big Orange posted the first run of the game in the bottom of the second inning. Melissa Davin led off the inning with a single through the left side. Davin advanced to second base on a Haley Tobler sacrifice bunt and Lexi Overstreet drove Davin in with a double off the left center wall to take a 1-0 lead. The double was Overstreet’s ninth of the year.
Tennessee extended the lead in the bottom of the third. Shaliyah Geathers ripped a leadoff single up the middle. After back-to-back walks to Shipman and Annie Aldrete, Davin stepped into the plate with bases loaded and knocked a sacrifice fly to left field to score Geathers and make the score 2-0, UT.
The Lady Vols posted six runs in the bottom of the sixth. With two on and no outs, Tobler knocked an RBI double to left to plate Aldrete. Tarango followed with an RBI single to center field that scored Davin. Two batters later, Geathers knocked in two runs on a double up the middle to extend the lead to 6-0. With two outs, Shipman ended the game with a single to right field scoring Geathers and Overstreet, who got on base with a walk.
In the bottom of the sixth, Ellen Renfroe had the first at-bat of her career. Much of the crowd and several Lady Vols took in the rare moment as Renfroe, who has not picked up a bat since high school, strolled to the batter’s box. Rainey Gaffin equipped her teammate with an elbow protector and gave her fellow pitcher a quick pep talk about hitting. Renfroe took a called strike, a ball and another called strike before swinging and missing on pitch to the outer half for strike three. The UT dugout and Big Orange fans enjoyed the moment and applauded Renfroe’s effort, as she, Shipman and Davin will have just a handful of regular-season home games remaining in their Tennessee careers.
The Lady Vols will continue SEC play this weekend with a three-game series at No. 9 Kentucky. The weekend schedule is 6 p.m. ET on Friday, 5 p.m. ET on Saturday and 2 p.m. ET on Sunday. Live audio with Brian Rice will be available for all three games.