The Lady Vols softball team kicked off its SEC home opener in strong fashion this weekend with a series sweep over South Carolina.
On Friday night, Tennessee (28-3, 5-1 SEC) responded swiftly after two quick South Carolina (17-12, 2-7) scores in the top of the first inning.
It was a senior and a sophomore, however, who powered the Lady Vols to their 11-2 win in Game One.
Shortstop Madison Shipman's grand slam and center fielder Haley Tobler's two-run shot propelled UT to a seven-run third inning that eventually led to the run-ruled win for the Lady Vols.
After a bumpy start, senior pitcher Ellen Renfroe settled in and struck out four Gamecocks en route to her 16th win of the season.
Janie Prathammavong • The Daily Beacon
In Game Two on Saturday, UT fought off a fierce South Carolina comeback down the stretch.
After scoring five runs in the first inning, UT wouldn't add another run to the scoreboard, but it was all the Lady Vols would need for their 5-4 win in seven innings.
Cheyanne Tarango drew her first SEC start in the circle and pitched two innings, giving up three hits and one run before being relieved in the third inning by Erin Gabriel.
A sophomore from Poland, Ohio, Gabriel (W, 5-0) delivered three one-run innings before giving way to Renfroe for the save.
That's when things got dicey for the Lady Vols.
Alaynie Page and Ashlyn Masters hit solo home runs in the top half of the seventh for the Gamecocks off Renfroe, shrinking UT's lead to one at 5-4.
The senior, however, settled in and recorded her third save of the season.
The Lady Vols completed the sweep of the Gamecocks in the series finale on Sunday by squeaking out a 6-5 win.
Renfroe (17-0) was knocked around in her second matchup against South Carolina to the tune of five runs and eight walks in seven innings of work.
However, the Lady Vols used a strong third inning to propel themselves to victory for a second consecutive game.
Tennessee poured in five runs in the bottom of the third, led by senior left fielder Melissa Davin's two-RBI double.
The Lady Vols – 5-1 in conference play – are now tied with Georgia for second in the SEC.
UT will host Florida (30-4, 5-4) for a three-game SEC series beginning Friday at 6 p.m.