After dropping the first two games of its series against LSU, the No. 2 Tennessee Lady Volunteers softball team rebounded with a 9-0 victory over the Lady Tigers to avoid being swept for the first time since 2011.
Senior starting pitcher Ellen Renfroe, who picked up her first and second losses of the season in the first two contests of the series, tossed six shutout innings, only allowing three hits and a walk, while striking out two to lead the Lady Vols (32-5, 9-3 SEC) to their 32nd victory of the season.
Tennessee got off to a good start, scoring two runs in the first inning. Following a single from freshman second baseman Megan Geer, senior shortstop Madison Shipman, who went 4-for-9 in the series with 3 RBI, drilled a 3-1 pitch from LSU's Ashley Czechner over the left-field fence for a two-run homer. The home run was Shipman's team-leading ninth on the season.
Shipman, however, wasn't the only Lady Vol to flash her power in Sunday's contest. Freshman Annie Aldrete hit a towering three-run bomb to center field to give UT a 9-0 lead, forcing the game to be shortened by a run rule.
"Today we showed our Tennessee pride," co-head coach Karen Weekly said, according to a UT release. "It was important to the girls to come out and establish that it wasn't the Tennessee softball team the first two days.
"We put a big win on the board today, and I was proud of the girls for their effort."
The Tigers (22-16, 4-8), though, were the ones with the offense in the first two games of the series.
On Saturday, the Lady Vols committed four errors and struggled to plate runners on base, stranding eight runners, as they fell to the Tigers, 8-4.
Tennessee scored all four of its runs in the fifth inning to draw close after allowing LSU to score five in the first four frames, but the Tigers responded in the following half inning, scoring three more to put the game out of reach. Only two of LSU's eight runs were earned due to the Lady Vols' four errors in the game.
The seventh inning in Friday's contest proved to be the difference between a series loss and a series victory for the Lady Vols.
Going into the bottom half of the seventh, Tennessee lead 4-3, but a Sahvannah Jaquish one-out RBI single to left field tied the game at 4-4. And with runners on first and second, Bianca Bell took the second pitch of her at-bat over the wall in left center to give LSU a 7-4 victory in walk-off fashion.
The Lady Vols now turn their attention to the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles, who they will face inside Sheri Parker Lee Stadium on Tuesday at 6 p.m.