Lady Vols beat Texas A&M, retire Abbott's No. 7 jersey

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (release) -- Melissa Davin hit a two-run homer and tallied three RBIs and Melissa Brown and Hannah Akamine each drove in a pair of runs to lead No. 8/8 Tennessee to an exciting 8-6 win over No. 5/4 Texas A&M on Saturday at Lee Stadium.

Tennessee (26-6, 5-3 SEC) honored legendary pitcher Monica Abbott (2004-2007) with a pre-game jersey retirement ceremony, recognizing her incredible achievements and commitment to excellence at UT. Abbott also threw out the first pitch of the game.

The win gives the Lady Vols two series wins over SEC opponents ranked in the top five. UT previously took two out of three against then-No. 1/2 Alabama.

After Texas A&M (26-4, 4-3 SEC) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, Tennessee answered with five runs in the bottom of the first and never surrendered the lead.

Davin went 3-for-4 with a two-run jack, three RBIs and two runs. Brown finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs. Akamine had a two-RBI single the third. Lauren Gibson hit a solo homer in the first.

In the circle, Ivy Renfroe (11-3) battled in the circle, striking out seven batters over seven frames to earn the complete-game victory. She allowed six runs (three earned).

Lauren Ainsley (8-2) took the loss after surrendering five earned runs over two-thirds of an inning. Ainsley started the game and Mel Dumezich threw 5.1 relief innings, allowing three runs (two earned).

The Aggies took a 1-0 lead in the first when Meagan May scored from third base with two outs on a wild pitch. In the same at-bat, Nicole Morgan scored when Jenna Stark reached on a fielding error at third.

Tennessee responded in a big way in the bottom of the first to take a 5-2 lead. With one out, Gibson got UT on the scoreboard with a solo blast over the wall in right field on a 1-1 pitch. Four batters later, with two outs, Brown clubbed a two-RBI single to right field to plate Madison Shipman and Kat Dotson and push the Lady Vols ahead, 3-2. Davin followed with a towering two-run homer that soared over the wall in left field to give UT a three-run advantage.

Texas A&M climbed back within one run in the top of the second. With the bases loaded, Renfroe struck out Emily Albus and induced an out behind the plate by May. In the next at-bat, Morgan clubbed an RBI single to left field. In the next at-bat, Amber Garza scored on a passed ball to bring the Aggies to within 5-4.

The Lady Vols plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning when Akamine knocked a two-RBI single to right field to bring in Brown and Davin. UT's lead grew to 7-4.

The aggies scored a run in the top of the fourth when Morgan hit a one-out sac fly to foul territory in left, bringing home Albus. The Aggies drew to within 7-6 in the top of the fifth when Stark opened the inng with a solo homer to right center off a 2-2 pitch.

UT scored one more run in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Davin ripped an RBI single up the middle to score Dotson from second.

The Lady Vols and the Aggies will play the third game of their season series on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The game will feature a free live video broadcast on and a radio broadcast on The Sports Animal WNML 990 AM with Brian Rice on the call. Tickets remain available for Sunday's game on The first 150 kids, ages 12 and under, eat get a voucher for a free hot dog and drink.

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