Proving that their romp on Saturday night was not a fluke, Samford edged

host Tennessee, 3-2, in the title game of the Rocky Top Markets Classic on

Easter Sunday afternoon at Tyson Park.

Since both teams entered the contest with identical 4-1 records in the

double round-robin event, the victor of today's encounter took home the

championship hardware.

The Lady Bulldogs' Juliet Shunnarah would deliver a two-out single with the

bases full in the sixth to break a 2-2 stalemate and drive in Brianne

Mertens with the eventual winning run.

Samford seized a quick 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the first on a solo

homer by Tournament Most Valuable Player Michelle Ashley on an 0-2 count

from Lady Vol senior Jackie Beavers.

Ashley would bat .476 (10-for-21) over the six games with 11 runs, 10 RBI

and a whopping five dingers.

Lady Bulldog third baseman Jennifer Graham would reach Beavers for another

solo blast in the fourth to put SU up by a couple of runs. Tennessee would

finally break into the scoring column during a sixth inning with three hits

and the game-tying runs off hurler Mertens.

After a one-out single by senior April Phillips and a pop out, junior

Janette Koshell smoked her first career triple to right center field to cut

the deficit in half. With two down, senior Amanda Venable rifled a double

to left to plate Koshell with the tying run.

Following a leadoff single in the sixth by Mertens, a UT error on a

sacrifice by Linda Tehranchi gave Samford two runners on with none

out.

A well-executed bunt by Mindy Shunnarah then put the Lady Bulldogs in

business with runners in scoring position in the tie game. Beavers set down

Michelle Wright on a pop foul to the catcher for the second out before head

coach Jim Beitia elected to intentionally walk Ashley to load the

bases.

The next hitter, Juliet Shunnarah would wear the hero's mantle with the

base-hit into left field.

The Lady Bulldogs rode the right arm of Mertens to the title, as the righty

stopped UT on three hits and held the Vols to five hits. On the weekend,

she was a perfect 3-0 with a 1.44 earned run average and 29 strikeouts in

24.1 innings.

All-tournament selections for the Lady Volunteers included Beavers (2-1,

1.40 ERA, 18 strikeouts), Nadia Cameron (.412, two runs) and Phillips

(.524, seven runs, five stolen bases, four RBI, three doubles).

In its opener, Tennessee edged Radford, 4-3, behind freshman hurler

Stephanie Humphrey.

With the setback, RU finished winless in the tourney at 0-6 and the result

marked the fourth time since Thursday night that the Lady Vols had

conquered the Highlanders.

Tennessee returns to action this Wednesday night with a trip to Cookeville

to face Tennessee Tech. The twinbill will commence at 5 p.m. CT.