ATHENS, Ga. --Madison Shipman, Lauren Gibson and Hannah Akamine homered as No. 5 Tennessee used an early surge and a late surge to defeat Georgia, 10-3, on Friday at Jack Turner Stadium.
Tennessee (32-6, 7-3 SEC) scored four in the first and three in the seventh to seize momentum early in the game. After Georgia (27-11, 6-4 SEC) scored runs in the second, third and fourth to pull within 7-3, Gibson hit a solo jack in the top of the fifth and Akamine added a two-run blast in the sixth to keep the Lady Vols in control.
Shipman went 2-for-5 with a three-run homer, two runs and a stolen base. Akamine was 2-for-3 with the two-run homer, three RBIs, one run and one walk. Gibson scored twice and drew a walk to go with her solo blast. Raven Chavanne was 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Cheyanne Tarango had one RBI and two runs.
Ivy Renfroe (14-3) earned the win and tossed 5.1 strong innings, striking out two and containing a potent Georgia lineup o just three runs. Ellen Renfroe tossed 1.2 hitless innings of relief with three strikeouts.
Morgan Montemayor (7-6) took the loss after allowing seven runs (six earned) after 1.1 frames of work. Chelsea Wilkinson threw the remaining 5.2 innings and allowed three runs.
Tennessee wasted no time offensively, leaping out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning. Chavanne opened the game with single to left field and advanced to third on a stolen base and an errant throw. Kat Dotson drove in Chavanne with a single through the right side to give UT the lead. Three batters alter, Melissa Davin drew a walk on five pitches to load the bases. Tarango followed with an RBI fielder's choice with the out at second. Melissa Brown knocked an RBI single through the left side to give UT a 3-0 lead. Akamine followed with an RBI single through the right side.
In the bottom of the second, UT poured on three more runs. With two runners in scoring position and one
out, Shipman drilled the first pitch she saw off the scoreboard in left field for a three-run homer, her third three-run blast of the week. Wilkinson entered the game after Shipman's home run.
Georgia got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second when Christine Olney hit into a fielder's choice with the bases loaded and no outs. Pinch-runner Tiesha Reed scored from third base.
The Bulldogs pulled to within 7-2 in the bottom of the third when Anna Swafford hit a leadoff homer to center field off a full count pitch. UT had a great defensive play in the inning as Paige Wilson grounded out into a 4-6-3 double play.
In the bottom of the fourth, Kaylee Puailoa hit a leadoff homer to center field to pull the Bulldogs to within 7-3. The inning ended in dramatic fashion. With two outs and the bases loaded, a pitch got away from Akamine behind the plate, but UT's sophomore catcher threw out Niaja Griffin trying to get to second base.
Gibson gave UT the momentum once again when she hit a one-out homer to right field off an 0-2 pitch from Wilkinson.
With two outs and Tarango on first in the top of the sixth, Akamine sent the first pitch she saw over the fence in right center to push UT's lead back to seven runs at 10-3.
Tennessee and Georgia will square off for Game 2 of their season series on Saturday at 4 p.m. There will be free live video on GeorgiaDogs.com. The game will also feature a free live audio broadcast on UTSports.com and on WNML 990 AM with Brian Rice on the call.