Knoxville, Tenn.--(UTSports) No. 10 national seed Tennessee welcomes Lipscomb, Virginia Tech and Charleston Southern to town this week for the 2014 Knoxville Regional from May 16-18 at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.
The Knoxville Regional will be a double-elimination tournament featuring Tennessee (42-10), Charleston Southern (27-31-1), Lipscomb (39-13) and Virginia Tech (35-21). Tennessee will play Charleston Southern on Friday, May 16, at 6 p.m. ET. Lipscomb and Virginia Tech will play on Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET.
On Saturday, the winners from both of Friday's games will play in Game 3 at 2 p.m. ET. The losers from Friday's games will play in Game 4 at 4:30 p.m. ET. The loser from Game 3 will face the loser from Game 4 at 7 p.m. ET.
Sunday's 2 p.m. ET Game 6 will feature the winner from Game 3 against the winner from Game 5. The two teams will play again in Game 7 at 4:30 p.m. ET, if necessary.
All games in the Knoxville Regional will be streamed live and for free via the CBS ULive player.
Brian Rice will be on the call for all Tennessee games this weekend for the CBS ULive streams. Evan Ellis will call Saturday’s 4:30 p.m. ET game for the CBS ULive stream and Rice and Ellis will both be on the headset for Saturday’s 7 p.m. ET game.
Tennessee is a combined 20-7 against the three visiting teams in the Knoxville Regional. UT is 3-0 all-time against Charleston Southern, 8-0 against Lipscomb and 9-7 against Virginia Tech.
Tennessee played two games at Charleston Southern in 2013, taking an 8-1 and a 10-3 win in the Buccaneers' home tournament. On March 1, 2013, Lauren Gibson hit a three-run homer in a seven-run fifth inning to lead UT to an 8-1 win. On March 3, 2013, Melissa Brown had three RBIs, Cheyanne Tarango homered and Ellen Renfroe rang up 11 Bucs in a 10-3 win.
UT last faced Lipscomb on Feb. 26, 2013, taking a 6-0 win in Knoxville. The Lady Vols are 5-0 all-time against Lipscomb in games played in Knoxville, outscoring the Bisons by a combined score of 32-1 in those games. In the Lady Vols' 2013 win, Melissa Davin went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Ellen Renfroe struck out five over four shutout innings.
Tennessee and Virginia Tech previously squared off in the NCAA Regionals in 2006, 2008 and 2012. UT holds a 4-2 edge in those six NCAA Regional games, all of which were played in Knoxville. The teams last played in 2012. On May 20, 2012, Tennessee took a 2-1 win in Game 6 to force a Game 7. The Lady Vols unloaded 10 runs to win Game 7, 10-2, battling out of the loser's bracket for first time in program history to punch their ticket to the Super Regionals.
Tennessee features four players who have earned both NFCA All-Southeast Region and All-SEC honors this season in seniors Madison Shipman, Melissa Davin and Ellen Renfroe and freshman Annie Aldrete. Shipman is the SEC Player of the Year, a Top 10 Finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year and a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award. She is enjoying the finest year of her career, leading the team with a .429 batting average, 17 homers, 15 doubles and 52 runs to go with 50 RBIs. Aldrete is a Top 10 Finalist for the inaugural NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year trophy and became the first UT freshman to garner First Team All-Region accolades since Ellen Renfroe in 2011. Aldrete is hitting .372 with a team high 55 RBIs and a Tennessee freshman-record 16 home runs. Renfroe has gone 26-6 with a 2.07 ERA and 221 strikeouts over 206.0 innings pitched, becoming just the second Tennessee pitcher to throw 200 strikeouts in each of her four seasons. Renfroe ranks second in several UT career pitching categories. Davin is enjoying the best year of her career, setting career bests with a .344 batting average, 12 doubles, 13 homers, 40 RBIs and 49 runs.
Lipscomb had a strong finish to its regular season going 12-3 over its final 15 regular-season games in April. Paige Neely (.376 BA, 13 doubles, four homers, 31 RBIs, 44 runs, 10 stolen bases) and Kelsey Cartwright (.321 BA, nine doubles, seven homers, 39 RBIs) both earned First Team All-A-Sun honors. Lipscomb has five players batting .320 or better in Neely, Rena' Cothron (.350 BA), Gracey Aguirre (.350 BA), Brittany Elmore (.328 BA) and Kelsey Cartwright. Elmore also has a team-high 25 stolen bases in 26 attempts. Lipscomb has relied on a 1-2 pitching punch of Ashley Anderson (19-6, 1.53 ERA, 121 Ks, 179.0 IP) and Tanner Sanders (11-4, 2.71 ERA, 35 Ks, 90.1 IP).
Virginia Tech has five players batting .310 or better and five players with six or more homers. Kylie McGoldrick is hitting a team-best .346 with 12 doubles, eight homers, 24 RBIs and 44 runs. Vanessa Gonzalez is hitting .342 with 12 doubles, eight homers and 31 RBIs. Lauren Gaskill is hitting .327 with 12 doubles, six homers and 21 homers. Katey Smith is hitting .319 with 11 doubles, nine homers for 49 RBIs. Amanda Ake leads the team with 11 homers. The Hokies have split their innings in the circle between Maggie Tyler (15-8, 3.09 ERA, 174 Ks, 183.2 IP) and Kelly Heinz (20-13, 3.49 ERA, 169 Ks, 174.1 IP).
Charleston Southern won four straight in the Big South Tournament to punch its first-ever ticket to the NCAA Regionals. The Buccaneers top three hitters are Marci Christian (.341 BA, four doubles, four homers, 12 RBIs), Jessica Brock (.320 BA, 11 doubles, six homers, 32 RBIs, 20 runs) and Lizzy Olmstead (.309 BA, three doubles). Pitching has been Charleston Southern's strength as the Bucs have relied on the pitching duo of Cheyenne Gandara (11-11, 2.25 ERA, 152 Ks, 161.2 IP) and Jennifer Giles (11-12, 2.42 ERA, 98 Ks, 136.0 IP).