No. 21 Softball Swept by No. 6 Tennessee

by Matt Dunaway
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No. 21 Softball Swept by No. 6 Tennessee

BATON ROUGE – No. 6 Tennessee took advantage of three Tiger errors to claim a 7-2 victory and a series sweep over the No. 21 LSU softball team Sunday in-front of 1,280 fans at Tiger Park.

LSU (26-15, 8-9 SEC) received a strong effort from Juliana Santos at the plate, who garnered a 3-for-4 performance with a RBI. In the circle, Brittany Mack was touched up for five runs, two earned, on nine hits. She recorded seven strikeouts against three walks during her six frames of action but fell to 10-5 on the season.

The Lady Vols (35-6, 15-4 SEC) won their 10th consecutive game behind a pair of RBIs from Madison Shipman and Ashley Andrews at the bottom of the lineup.

Ellen Renfroe provided 12 strikeouts against two walks to secure her 21st win of the season. She surrendered two runs, one earned, on five hits and went the distance for Tennessee.

“Tennessee is very, very good,” head coach Yvette Girouard said. “Obviously, we didn’t pitch nearly as well as we did last weekend [against Alabama], although I said before that Tennessee poses different problems for us defensively. The bottom line is we don’t score a lot of runs, and it’s a nightmare when you don’t score runs.”

Lauren Gibson and Jessica Spigner opened the Tennessee fourth inning with a single and a walk. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners into scoring position, LSU catcher Lauren Houston picked off Gibson from third base on a failed squeeze bunt attempt.

On the next pitch, Shipman chopped a RBI single over the outstretched glove of Santos at shortstop to plate pinch runner Tori Lewis and hand the Lady Vols a 1-0 edge.

LSU was poised to even the tally in the home half of the frame. Tiffany Shaw drew a leadoff walk, stole second base and advanced to third on a sharp Santos single to right field.

Two batters later after Santos stole second, Ashley Langoni  dropped a squeeze bunt on the first pitch of the at-bat. On a bang-bang play, Shaw was originally ruled safe by home plate umpire James Martarona to knot the score at 1-1. After a four-minute delay and an umpire conference, Patti Gunst overruled the call from her third base post and the score reverted back to 1-0.

The Tigers battled back for the equalizer during the fifth inning. Tammy Wray reached on a Raven Chavanne fielding error at third base. Pinch runner Alex Boulet advanced to second on a pass ball and moved to third on a Morgan Russell sacrifice bunt. A Cassie Trosclair RBI ground ball evened the tally at 1-1. 

Tennessee fired back with three runs in the sixth inning opened up by a Trosclair throwing error. The Lady Vols received RBIs from Shipman and Kelly Grieve to take a 4-1 lead.

After a pair of LSU errors in the seventh, Tennessee tacked on three additional runs highlighted by an Ashley Andrews two-run single to make it 7-1.

Santos capped her 3-for-4 day with a RBI single in the seventh for the final margin of 7-2.

“I don’t know [about the call at the plate making a difference] because Tennessee still scored a lot of runs,” Girouard said. “We have to match their runs, and we’re not a team built like that. It’s like having a wishbone offense in football, you can’t play from behind.”

LSU hits the road for a five-game SEC road trip which opens with a Wednesday doubleheader at Auburn. First pitch is on-tap for 4 p.m. on the Plains.

Live audio and live stats available in the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net. The contest also will be carried live on ESPN 104.5 FM with Patrick Wright and Matt Dunaway calling the action.

In-game updates are provided via the program’s social media pages at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball and www.Twitter.com/LSU_Softball.

Softball Postgame Quotes
No. 6 Tennessee vs. No. 21 LSU
April 17, 2011

HEAD COACH YVETTE GIROUARD

On the Tennessee Series …
“Tennessee is very, very good. Obviously, we didn’t pitch nearly as good as we did last weekend, although I said before that Tennessee poses different problems for us defensively. The bottom line is we don’t score a lot of runs, and it’s a nightmare when you don’t score runs.”

On if Tennessee is capable of winning the SEC …
“I think they always come on strong. Last year at the end of the season, they came on strong and made the World Series. They came out of nowhere when we played them at the end of last season and I thought ‘Wow, they’re peaking at the right time.’ They have a lot of offensive weapons.”

On the lack of production at the plate …
“We’re just really offensively challenged. We have way too many holes in our lineup due to a lot of injuries, but we’re just trying to figure out ways to get on-base.”

On if the overrule at home plate during the fourth inning took the air out the team …
“I don’t know, but Tennessee still scored a lot of runs. We have to match their runs, and we’re not a team built like that. It’s like having a wishbone offense in football, you can’t play from behind.”

On Wednesday’s doubleheader at Auburn …
“Auburn pitches well, so we just have to find a way to get on base and manufacture runs. We also have to pitch better so that one or two runs will be enough.”