Lady Vol softball falls to Florida 5-3, in eight innings

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (UT Release) -- Lauren Gibson had a homer and two RBIs to lead the Lady Vol attack, but Florida's Lauren Haeger hit a three-run blast in the sixth and a two-run shot in the eighth to carry the No. 3/3 Gators past No. 6/7 Tennessee, 5-3, on Sunday at Pressly Stadium.

Tennessee (23-6, 3-3 SEC) led the game through the first five and a half frames before Florida (27-3, 4-2 SEC) came back thanks to Haeger's two big swings.

Gibson was 2-for-4 with a solo homer in the third, two RBIs and one walk. Kat Dotson drew here walks and had one run and one stolen base. Lexi Overstreet went 2-for-4 with one run scored.

Ivy Renfroe (9-3) took the loss after striking out four over 2.1 frames in relief and giving up two runs on Haeger's homer in the eighth. Ellen Renfroe started the game and pitched five shutout frames with five strikeouts before Haeger's three-run shot in the sixth.

Haeger (8-1) also earned the win in the circle after tossing 1.1 scoreless innings in relief. Hannah Rogers started the game and struck out five and allowed three runs (two earned) over 6.2 innings.

Tennessee took a 1-0 lead in the second when Overstreet hit a one-out single to right field to plate Dotson from second base. The Lady Vols loaded the bases, but Rogers escaped, getting a 2-6 force out at home and then inducing a bases-loaded groundout to first base.

UT's lead grew to 2-0 in the top of the third inning when Gibson drilled a 2-1 pitch over the fence down the right field line for her sixth home run of the season.

In the top of the sixth, Overstreet led off the inning with a single to right field. Four batters later, with runners on the corners, Gibson clubbed a single to right field to bring in Overstreet and extend the Lady Vols' advantage to 3-0.

In the bottom of the sixth, with two on and no outs, Haeger sent a 1-2 pitch from Ellen Renfroe over the wall in left to even the game at 3-3. Ivy Renfroe entered the circle to get three outs and close the sixth.
Cheyanne Tarango and Dotson drew one-out walks in the seventh, but UT left two runners stranded as Rogers induced a foulout down the left field line and Haeger entered to produce a groundout to third.
In the top of the eighth, Melissa Davin reached on a fielding error at short and two batters later Gibson walked on five pitches. Haeger escaped when Madison Shipman flied out to right field.

Kelsey Stewart opened the bottom of the eighth with a single to left. Ivy Renfroe sent Kirsti Merritt down swinging in the next at-bat. Then, with one on and one out, Haeger belted a walk-off two-run jack on an 0-1 count to left center.

Tennessee returns to Lee Stadium on Tuesday to host Murray State at 6 p.m. The Lady Vols host Texas A&M for three games from March 22-24. The March 23 game will be televised on ESPNU at 6:30 p.m. Tennessee will retire UT legend Monica Abbott's No. 7 jersey on March 23.

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