KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The No. 2 Tennessee softball team rallied late with a run in the seventh, but the Lady Vols came up just short in a 2-1 loss to No. 25 Arkansas on Friday at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.
The loss halts a 19-game winning streak for Tennessee (42-7, 15-4 SEC) that dates back to a March 19 win over Murray State. Arkansas (31-17, 9-10 SEC) scored one run in the fifth and one in the sixth to take control of the game.
Ellen Renfroe (15-2) threw a strong seven innings with two strikeouts and two runs allowed, but Tennessee did not take advantage of opportunities to put more runs on the board, leaving six runners on base.
Arkansas' Kimmy Beasley won the pitcher's duel, fanning four and allowing one earned run over seven frames.
Renfroe and Beasley traded shutout innings through the first four frames. Tennessee left the bases loaded in the bottom of the first. With one out, Kat Dotson drew a four-pitch walk, Lauren Gibson was hit by a pitch and Madison Shipman walked on five pitches. Beasley escaped unscathed when she induced pop-up to short and ground out back to the circle.
The Razorbacks pulled ahead, 1-0, in the top of the fifth when Jayme Gee hit an RBI fielder's choice with one out and runners and second and third. Gibson's throw home was not in time as pinch runner Ashley Martindale scored from third base.
In the top of the sixth, Arkansas extended its run to 2-0. With two outs and a runner on third, Jennifer Rambo hit an RBI single up the middle.
Tennessee left two runners on in the bottom of the sixth. Dotson led off the inning with a single back to the circle. Gibson reached on a fielder's choice with Gibson out at second and Shipman flied out to center field in the next at-bat. Melissa Davin reached on a single off Beasley in the circle to give UT runners on first and second. Beasley induced a liner caught by her first baseman foul territory to escape the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, Lexi Overstreet hit a one-out triple down the right field line. Tory Lewis clubbed a sac fly to center field to plate Overstreet. The game ended when Beasley induced a flyout to center.
Tennessee and Arkansas will square off in Game 2 on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.