OXFORD, Miss. (release) -- Lauren Gibson enjoyed an epic performance at the plate on Saturday, bashing three home runs and totaling nine RBIs to lead a historic offensive effort by the Lady Vols as No. 2 Tennessee crushed Ole Miss, 15-5, in six innings to take the series. The 15 runs are the most UT has ever scored in an SEC road game.
Tennessee (41-6, 14-3 SEC) has now won 18 games in a row. UT scored two runs in the first, five in the second, four in the third, one in the fourth and six in the sixth. Ole Miss (22-28, 2-18 SEC) scored five in the bottom of the third to pull within, 11-5, but that's the closest the Rebels would get.
The win marked Tennessee's widest margin of victory in an SEC contest since an 11-1, six-inning home win over Arkansas on April 29, 2011. Tennessee's 15 runs on Saturday are their most in an SEC game since dropping 16 runs on Mississippi State in a 16-2, five-inning win in Knoxville on March 23, 2003.
Gibson enjoyed arguably the finest single-game offensive performance by a UT player in program history, going 4-for-5 with three home runs, one double, nine RBIs and four runs scored. She is the only player in program history to hit three home runs in a single game. Gibson's nine RBIs also tied the program record set by Kat Dotson against Tennessee State on March 15, 2011.
Madison Shipman was 3-for-4 with two RBIs, two runs, one walk and one stolen base. Dotson went 3-for-4 with one double and four runs scored. Melissa Brown drove in two runs and Melissa Daven went 2-for-4 with a double and one run scored. Raven Chavanne drew two walks and scored twice.
Ellen Renfroe (14-1) earned the win after throwing 4.2 total innings with six strikeouts and five earned runs allowed. Cheyanne Tarango had one strikeout in two-thirds of a relief finning. Ivy Renfroe got the final two outs of the game and had one strikeout.
Madi Osias (3-2) to the loss after allowing seven runs (six earned) over 1.1 innings. Lauren Lindsay allowed four earned runs over 1.2 relief frames and Shelby Jo Fenter allowed four runs (three earned) over three relief innings.
UT took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Dotson hit a one-out single up the middle and Gibson followed with a two-run home run to center field to get her epic day at the plate started.
The Tennessee offense plated five more runs in the second inning to build a commanding 7-0 advantage. Hannah Akamine and Rainey Gaffin hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. Chavanne drew a walk on five pitches to load the bases. Two batters later, Gibson ripped a one-out double to right field to bring in two runs. Shipman followed with an RBI single to left. Lindsey entered to pitch for Osias and issued a four-pitch walk to Davin and a bases-loaded walk to Brown, plating Gibson. Shipman scored on a passed ball with the bases loaded to score Tennessee's seventh run.
The bottom of the second got heated. Londen Ladner reached on a throwing error by Ellen Renfro to first base to give Ole Miss a base runner. Three batters later, Haley Culley hit a two-out single to short and Ladner was out on a 6-2 throw and tag at home plate. Ladner barreled over Akamine, tackling the UT sophomore backstop, and was thrown out of the game.
UT poured on four runs in the top of the run to push its lead to 11-0. With Chavanne and Dotson on third and second, respectively, Gibson hammered a 1-1 pitch from Lindsay over the wall in left field for a three-run homer. Three batters later, Brown ripped a two-out single through the left side to score Shipman from second base.
Ole Miss' offense got rolling in the bottom of the third as the Rebels scored five runs to pull within 11-5. Brittany Broome drew a one-out walk to load the bases with Marina Parra on third and RT Cantillo on second. Allison Brown drew a bases-loaded walk to plate Parra for Ole Miss' first run of the game. Erinn Jayjohn then sent the first pitch she saw from Ellen Renfroe over the wall in left for a grand slam. Tarango relieved Ellen Renfroe in the circle and got the final two outs of the inning.
Shipman extended the Lady Vols' lead to 12-5 in the top of the fourth when she hit a two-out RBI single to center field off Fenter.
Ellen Renfroe re-entered the game in the bottom of the fourth.
Tennessee put the game out of reach in the top of the sixth. Dotson led things off with a double down the left field line. Gibson smashed an 0-1 pitch from Fenter for a two-run homer to left center. Four batters later, Tory Lewis hit a one-out RBI single up the middle to score Davin from third base.
Tennessee will try for the series sweep on Sunday when the Lady Vols and Rebels square off at 2 p.m. ET.
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