No.5 UT softball team crushes Tennessee St. 19-1

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Madison Shipman and Melissa Davin each hit two home runs and No. 5 Tennessee scored 15 runs in the fourth inning en route to a 19-1 victory over Tennessee State on Tuesday at Lee Stadium.

The Lady Vols (31-6) scored two in the second and two in the third before their offensive explosion in the fourth to put the game out of reach. Tennessee has now won 77 consecutive games against in-state opponents. Ralph Weekly and Karen Weekly are 72-0 against in-state foes and the Lady Vols are 106-3 all-time against teams from the state of Tennessee.

Shipman was 3-for-4 with a double and two homers in the fourth. She also drove in a career-high six RBIs and tied her career high with three runs scored. Davin also enjoyed a career night, setting a new personal best for hits with a 4-for-4 performance. She also drove in five runs and tied her career highs with two homers and three runs scored. Kat Dotson drove in three runs and Raven Chavanne, Lexi Overstreet and Tory Lewis each had two hits. Lauren Gibson went 1-for-2 with two walks and three runs.

Erin Gabriel (5-1) fanned five batters and allowed one earned run over 3.1 innings of work to earn the win. Ellen Renfroe struck out three over 1.2 hitless relief frames. Renfroe earned her first save of the year as she entered in the fourth with the tying run at the plate.

Shea Morris (7-12) took the loss for Tennessee State, allowing 12 runs (11 earned) on 13 hits and a walk over 3.2 frames. Olivia Gamache allowed seven unearned run while recording one out in the fourth before Morris re-entered the circle.

In the bottoms of the second, Tennessee jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Shipman led off the inning with a double to right field and two batters later Davin hit a one-out single up the middle to bring her in. Davin stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball before Rainey Gaffin drove her in with a groundout to short. The Lady Vols loaded the bases but Morris escaped when she induced a flyout to center to end the inning.

The Lady Vols extended their lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the third. Lauren Gibson led off the inning with a double to left center. Two batters later Davin crushed the first pitch she saw for a two-run jack over the left field wall.

Tennessee State found some offensive momentum in the top of the fourth. With one out and runners on first and second, Ashley Haynes singled through the left side to plate Jayna Hanawahine and pull TSU to within 4-1. Ellen Renfroe entered to pitch with two runners on and struck out Kacie Daugherty in the next at-bat. Tayler Shimizu was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Renfroe escaped the jam when she sent Brianna Roberts down swinging.

Tennessee produced one of the most explosive innings in school history in the fourth, putting 15 more runs on the scoreboard. Overstreet led off the inning with a single to right field and Lewis and Chavanne followed with back-to-back infield singles to load the bases. Dotson followed with a single through the right side, bringing in all three runs and pushing UT's lead to 7-1. After Gibson drew a walk on a full count, Shipman drilled a 1-1 pitch to straightaway center field for a three-run homer. Four batters later, Gamache entered to pitch and Overstreet drew a walk to load the bases once again. A fielder's choice recorded the second out and left the bases juiced. Anna Renfroe drew a pinch-hit walk to bring in a runner from third a push UT's lead to 11-1. Hannah Akamine reached on a dropped fly ball to right field and three more runs scored on the play. Gibson drew another walk on a full count Shipman hit another three-run blast - this time to left field - to give Tennessee a 17-1 advantage. Cheyanne Tarango followed with a single up the middle to set up a two-run homer for Davin, which sailed over the wall in center field. Morris re-entered the circle and induced a groundout to end the inning.

The Lady Vols will next head to Athens, Ga., to face SEC rival Georgia for a three-game series this Friday through Sunday. Sunday's 1 p.m. game will be televised on FSN.

Tennessee's next home game is against Tennessee Tech on April 10.

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