Lady Vol Softball improves to 5-0 with 2 wins on Saturday

ST. GEORGE, Utah (UT Release) – The No. 6/5 Tennessee softball team improved to 5-0 this season with a pair of wins over South Dakota and BYU on Saturday in the Red Desert Classic at the Canyons Complex.

Playing in temperatures in the 30s and 40s, Cheyanne Tarango hit a two-run homer and Lauren Gibson launched a solo shot in UT’s 5-0 win over South Dakota in the morning. A three-hit effort from Madison Shipman and a nine-strikeout performance by Ellen Renfroe paced the Lady Vols in their 6-3 win over BYU in the afternoon.

“I’m proud of the way our kids battled the elements,” co-head coach Karen Weekly said. “It was very chilly out there, but they stayed energetic and fired-up all day. I thought we put some good swings on the ball today and hit some long balls and had some long outs. We didn’t put as many runs on the board, but I was pretty pleased with the way we swung the bats, especially against South Dakota.”

GAME 5: No. 6/5 Tennessee 6, BYU 3

ST. GEORGE, Utah - Madison Shipman had three hits and scored three times, Hannah Akamine blasted her first homer of the season and Ellen Renfroe fanned nine batters over seven frames to lead the No. 6/5 Tennessee softball team to a 6-3 win over BYU on cold Saturday afternoon in the Red Desert Classic.
The Lady Vols (5-0) tallied 10 hits against a good BYU (1-3) team that started 2012 20-game winner Tori Almond in the circle. UT improved to 4-0 all-time against the Cougars, who were an NCAA Tournament team last year.

Shipman led the way offensively, going 3-for-4 with a double, three runs scored and a stolen base. Akamine was 2-for-2 with a solo home run. Lauren Gibson reached base three times with a big triple to the gap in right field and a pair of walks.

In the circle, Ellen Renfroe improved to 2-0 after striking out nine batters and allowing two earned runs over seven innings. Ivy Renfroe allowed one run in the seventh.

Almond (1-1) took the loss after allowing six runs in 6.2 frames.

Tennessee jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. After Raven Chavanne legged out an infield single to second base, Kat Dotson knocked an RBI single and advanced to second base on the play. After a Madison Shipman single to short and a four-pitch walk for Lauren Gibson, the bases were loaded. Two batters later, Melissa Davin reached on an RBI fielder's choice. In the next at-bat, Shipman scored from third when Davin got caught in a rundown between first and second.

Akamine opened the top of the second inning with a homer to left center, a rocket shot off an 0-2 pitch. UT's lead grew to 4-0.

In the third inning, Shipman hit a one-out double to right center. Gibson followed with a hard-hit RBI triple to right center, motoring around the base paths.

The Lady Vols extended their advantage to 6-0 in the fifth inning when Cheyanne Tarango hit an RBI single to left field to plate Shipman from third base.

BYU kept fighting late, scoring three runs in the seventh. After back-to-back singles and a five-pitch walk, Madisen Robb scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch by Ivy Renfroe, who entered in relief after the walk. Ellen Renfroe re-entered and JC Clayton plated Alexandra Hudson Shamo on an RBI groundout to second. The Cougars drew to within 6-3 when Lacey Millett hit an RBI single to short. Ellen Renfroe closed out the game with a strikeout to give UT the win.

The Lady Vols will conclude their stay in St. George, Utah, on Sunday with a 1 p.m. ET (11 a.m. MT) game against Oklahoma State at the Canyons Complex. UT is the designated home team for that game.

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