April 8, 2012
Auburn, Ala. - The 10th-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols completed a series sweep of Auburn softball with a 6-2 victory Sunday afternoon at Jane B. Moore Field.
Auburn dropped to 26-15 overall and 5-11 in the Southeastern Conference. The Lady Vols improved to 31-9 overall and 13-6 in the SEC. The Tigers will next travel to Gainesville for a weekend series against the sixth-ranked Florida Gators on April 13-15.
"This was a tough series," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "We didn't capitalize on a few scoring chances today when we put runners on base. Tennessee got up on us early and their pitching made it hold up. We have another challenge ahead of us and we're going to work hard this week in practice to prepare for that."
Lauren Schmalz started and took the loss, falling to 7-6. Schmalz went the first two innings, allowing three runs, all earned, on four hits with one walk and one strikeout. Hilary Mavromat allowed three runs, all earned, on three hits with one walk in the third inning, but did not record an out. Jenee Loree pitched the final five innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three.
Ivy Renfroe started and earned the win to improve to 10-6. Renfroe went six innings allowing two runs, both earned, on four hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Ellen Renfroe pitched the final inning, striking out all three batters she faced.
Tennessee jumped out to the early lead with back-to-back home runs from Lauren Gibson and Madison Shipman in the first inning. The consecutive homers came after the first two batters of the game were retired. It was Gibson's 11th home run of the season and Shipman's seventh of the year.
The Tigers threatened in the second inning, putting runners on the corners with just one out. With one out, Branndi Melero singled and then took third when Caitlin Schultze followed with a single. Renfroe, however, got a strikeout and a ground out to end the threat with the runners stranded.
The Lady Vols extended their lead in the third inning. Gibson led off the top of the third with a double off the wall in left, which chased Schmalz from the game. On the first pitch Mavromat delivered, Shipman cranked it over the wall in center for her second home run of the day, eighth of the year, and 4-0 UT lead.
Still with no outs following the home run, the Lady Vols loaded the bases on a walk to Shelby Burchell and consecutive singles by Melissa Brown and Cheyenne Tarango. Loree was brought in to relieve Mavromat following the single by Tarango. Hannah Akamine greeted Loree with a sacrifice fly to right that plated the third Vols run of the inning that made it a 5-0 game.
Brown took third on the sac fly from Akamine and came in to score when Tory Lewis lofted a sac fly to right, which gave Tennessee a 6-0 lead.
The Tigers broke the shutout in the seventh inning. Melero drew a leadoff walk and was followed by Schultze who ripped a two-run home run off the scoreboard in left-center. It was Schultze's second home run of the season and accounted for the final 6-2 margin. Ellen Renfroe was brought in following the homer and struck the next three batters to end the game.