KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (release) -- Ellen Renfroe and Ivy Renfroe combined for 10 strikeouts and No. 3 Tennessee scored five runs in the first three innings and survived a late Auburn surge en route to a 5-3 win Friday night at Lee Stadium.
Tennessee (36-6, 10-3 SEC) scored one in the first, one in the second and three in the third and enjoyed a five-run lead into the sixth inning before Auburn (27-16, 6-10 SEC) responded with three runs.
Raven Chavanne went 2-for-3 with one RBI. Lauren Gibson, Melissa Brown and Rainey Gaffin each had one RBI. Cheyanne Tarango was 2-for-4. Kat Dotson scored two runs and had one stolen base.
Ellen Renfroe (12-1) fanned eight and gave up two earned runs over six frames to take the win. Ivy Renfroe earned her first save of the season after striking out two in the seventh.
Lexi Davis (7-7) struck out two and allowed five runs (two earned) over six innings and took the loss.
Tennessee jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning with two outs and Dotson on third when Davis threw an illegal pitch to bring Dotson home.
In the bottom of the second, UT added another run when Chavanne plated Gaffin from third base with a two-out bloop single to left field.
Ellen Renfroe benefited from a big double play to get to two outs. After Kristyn Richards drew a leadoff walk to put an Auburn run on, Tiffany Howard lined into a double play at short. Madison Shipman made the great play on the stab and then rifled a throw to first to get Richards out.
The Lady Vols grew their lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the third. With one on and no outs, Gibson clubbed an RBI double to center field. Three batters later, Melissa Brown hit an RBI single to left field to score Madison Shipman. Gaffin followed with an RBI single to right field in the next at-bat.
Auburn got on the board in the sixth inning when Morgan Estell scored on a throwing error from first to third following Emily Carosone's single to short. Brooke Lathan followed with a two-run homer to center field off a full count to bring AU to within 5-3.
After Caitlin Schultze led off the top of the seventh with a single to center field, Ivy Renfroe relieved Ellen Renfroe in the circle. She had a swinging strikeout and induced groundout to short to get to two outs, but the Tigers loaded the bases. Ivy Renfroe fanned Branndi Melero looking on a 2-2 pitch to end the game and earn the save.
Tennessee and Auburn will play the second game of the series on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. The game will be televised on CSS with Melissa Lee as the play-by-play and Barbara Jordan as the analyst. UT will celebrate the first of two Senior Days before the game, honoring Melissa Brown, Kat Dotson, Lauren Gibson and Ivy Renfroe. There are still a limited number of tickets available for the game.