April 1, 2011
Knoxville, Tenn. -
Kelly Grieve's only hit of the night was a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning that gave No. 10/11 Tennessee a 2-1 victory over the No. 21/22 Auburn softball team Friday night.
The loss dropped Auburn to 28-6 overall and 8-4 in the Southeastern Conference. Tennessee improved to 28-5 overall and 6-3 in the SEC. The teams continue their series with a 1 p.m. CT game Saturday.
"This was a tough loss," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "Both pitchers really controlled the game. Angel did an outstanding job against their hitters. Their one-two-three hitters were just 1-for-13 against her tonight. Offensively, we put runners on and gave ourselves chances, we just couldn't' get that big hit. We have to put this behind us now and come back ready to play tomorrow."
Auburn left 11 runners on base in the game, while the Lady Vols stranded nine runners on base. The teams combined to hit 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position, with Bunner holding Tennessee without a hit in nine at-bats in that situation. The Tigers were 2-for-9.
Bunner (9-2) started and threw a career-best nine innings. Bunner allowed two runs, both earned, on seven hits with three walks and nine strikeouts. Bunner threw 160 pitches in the complete-game loss.
Ellen Renfroe (16-2) threw 174 pitches in earning the complete-game win. Renfroe allowed one run, unearned, on nine hits with two walks and a career-best 20 strikeouts.
Kyndall White put the Tigers on the scoreboard in the fourth inning. Kelsey Cartwright was hit by a pitch to open the inning. Elizabeth Eisterhold then hit a ground ball chopper to second, Lauren Gibson fielded the ball and threw to Shelby Burchell at first, but Burchell missed the throw. Eisterhold was safe at first and Cartwright advanced to third on the error.
White then laced a single through the right side of the infield to score Cartwright and give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. A sac bunt by Caitlin Stangl put Baylee Stephens, who pinch-ran for Eisterhold, at third and White at second with one out. Renfroe then put an end to the rally with consecutive strikeouts of Hilary Mavromat and Colton to end the inning.
The Lady Vols threatened in the bottom half of the inning. Kat Dotson was hit by a pitch to open the frame and was followed by a one-out single to short by Gibson. With runners at second and first, Bunner would close the door on a potential rally as she fanned Burchell on a called third strike and forced Madison Shipman to foul out to Estell at first to end the inning.
After the Tigers went down in order in the top of the fifth, the Vols once again put a runner in scoring position in the bottom half of the inning. Chelsea O'Conner reached on a leadoff single through the right side and moved to second on a sac bunt by Ashley Andrews. Although Holly Baker entered to pinch-run for O'Conner, she would be stranded at second. Bunner forced Raven Chavanne into a ground out to Guzman at short for the second out of the inning and Grieve followed with a soft pop-up to Cartwright at short to end the Lady Vol scoring threat.
Jessica Spigner tied the game at 1-1 with a one-out, solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning. The home run came on a 2-2 pitch and was Spigner's sixth homer of the season. It was also the first home run allowed by Bunner in conference play, but it would be the only run Bunner allowed in the sixth as she retired the following two hitters to end the inning.
Both teams failed to capitalize on scoring chances in the seventh inning as the Tigers left the go-ahead run stranded at second the Lady Vols left the winning run at third in the bottom half of the inning.
In extra innings, the Tigers put runners on the eighth, ninth and 10th innings but were unable to push a run across the plate. For the game, Auburn put a runner on base in every inning except the second and fifth innings.
After retiring the Lady Vols in order in the ninth inning, Bunner's first pitch to Grieve was pulled down the line in right for the game-winning homer in the 10th inning. It was Auburn's first loss in extra-innings since a 5-4 loss in nine innings to Illinois State on Feb. 26, 2010.
The game was also the seventh one-run game in the last nine meetings against Tennessee. Auburn is 3-4 in those games.