Lady Vols off to a good start in the USF 4-Team Tournament

TAMPA, Fla. – The No. 4/4 Tennessee softball team enjoyed a pair of pitching gems and more strong offensive play on Friday, taking a pair of wins over NC State and Coastal Carolina in the USF 4 Team Tournament at USF Softball Stadium.

Behind Ivy Renfroe’s seven-strikeout, three-hit shutout, the Lady Vols (7-0) defeated NC State, 7-0, to open their stay in the Sunshine State. Erin Gabriel tossed an eight-strikeout, one-hitter to propel UT to an 8-0, six-inning victory over Coastal Carolina in the afternoon.

“It’s always good to get two wins on the road,” co-head coach Karen Weekly said. “It was a tough week coming come from Utah, getting in late Monday night. We had a short week at home and then we had late-night trip here last night. I thought we were a little slow out of the gate this morning, but we’re pretty happy with the way we finished strong.”

UT continues play in the USF 4 Team Tournament on Saturday and Sunday, facing No. 12/12 USF on Saturday at 1:15 p.m. before seeded games begin later that day.

The Lady Vols are just 11 days away from opening their 2013 home schedule at Lee Stadium against Lipscomb on Feb. 26. The home opener will feature free reserved bleacher backs for kids 12 and under based on availability. Single-game tickets go on sale on Monday at 8 a.m. and can be purchased through or through the ticket office at 865-656-1200.

GAME 2: No. 4/4 Tennessee 8, Coastal Carolina 0 (6 Innings)
TAMPA, Fla. - Erin Gabriel was electric in the circle in a one-hit shutout and Melissa Brown, Rainey Gaffin and Madison Shipman each had two RBIs to lead the No. 4/4 Tennessee softball team to an 8-0, six-inning victory over Coastal Carolina on Friday in the USF 4 Team Tournament at USF Softball Stadium.

The Lady Vols (7-0) tallied 11 hits and scored in the second, fourth, fifth and sixth to put away a Coastal Carolina (2-4) squad that was a 2012 NCAA Tournament participant. UT was the designated home team in this contest.

Gabriel (2-0) was aggressive in the circle, fanning eight batters in six frames while limiting the Chanticleers to just one hit. The Poland, Ohio, native improved to 2-0 on the season to give Tennessee three pitchers with a 2-0 record.

Brown was 2-for-2 with two RBIs and a run scored. Gaffin had a two-RBI single in the second. Shipman finished 2-for-4 with a two-RBI single in the home sixth to end the game.

Coastal Carolina starting pitcher Kiana Quolas (1-2) tossed 5.2 frames, allowing eight runs (four earned).
Tennessee climbed out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning. With two runners on base and two outs, Gaffin knocked a two-RBI single through the left side.

The Lady Vols poured on three runs in the fourth inning. With two runners in scoring position and one out, Brown had an eight-pitch at-bat that ended with her hammering a two-RBI single to left center. Two batters later, Raven Chavanne scored when Kat Dotson stole second base and advanced on a fielding error by the shortstop.

In the fifth, Tory Lewis extended UT's lead to 6-0, driving in Lauren Gibson from second base when she legged out an infield single to first.

With one out in the sixth and Brown on third and Chavanne on second, Shipman pounded a two-RBI single up the middle to end the game early.

GAME 1: No. 4/4 Tennessee 7, NC State 0
TAMPA, Fla. - Cheyanne Tarango and Lauren Gibson each drove in a pair of runs, Ivy Renfroe tossed a complete-game shutout and the No. 4 Tennessee softball team muscled its way past N.C. State on Friday for a 7-0 win to open the USF 4 Team Tournament at USF Softball Stadium.

The Lady Vols (6-0) used a four-run third to take command of the game and earn their sixth win of the season. UT, the designated away team, totaled nine hits against N.C. State (4-2) in the second all-time meeting between the teams.

Tarango knocked a pair of doubles, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Gibson was 2-for-4 with two runs driven in and one run scored. Raven Chavanne went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and a stolen base.
Ivy Renfroe (2-0) was impressive in the circle, fanning seven Wolfpack batters and fielding her position well with one putout on a high liner and a pair of assists on grounders to the circle.

N.C. State ace Emily Weiman (4-1) took the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) over five innings of work. Chelsea Stanfield gave up a pair of runs over two relief frames.

UT got things rolling in the third inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, Gibson hammered a single to right field to plate Chavanne and Kat Dotson and give Tennessee a 2-0 lead. Tarango followed with a double to right field, bringing home Madison Shipman and Gibson.

Chavanne led off the fifth with a single to the shortstop and scored three batters later when Gibson reached on a throwing error by the second baseman.

Tennessee added two more runs in the top of the seventh. With two outs, Haley Tobler drew a walk on five pitches. Shipman drilled a double to center field to drive in the freshman and extend the Lady Vols' lead to 6-0. Gibson singled through the right side and advanced on the throw before getting thrown out at third. Shipman scored during the play to give UT seven runs.

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