KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – The No. 2/3 Tennessee softball team heads out to California this week to begin a 10-game, 10-day stay in the Golden State from Feb. 21 to March 1.
UT (9-0) opens its trip against No. 11/12 Nebraska, Oregon State, No. 13/11 Stanford and Fresno State in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic from Feb. 22-23 in Cathedral City, Calif.
All four games this weekend will feature free live audio via UTSports.com. Live stats for Tennessee’s Feb. 22 games against Nebraska (8 p.m. ET) and Oregon State (10:30 p.m. ET) will be provided through Huskers.com and OSUBeavers.com, respectively. On Feb. 23, UTSports.com will host live stats for the 5 p.m. ET game against Stanford and the 7:30 p.m. ET game against Fresno State.
When Tennessee takes on Nebraska (7-2) on Saturday, co-head coach Ralph Weekly will be in his 1,500th game as a collegiate head coach. Senior pitcher Ellen Renfroe, who was named SEC Pitcher of the Week last week, is on a 26-inning shutout streak to start the 2014 season. That is the third-best start by any Tennessee pitcher, trailing only Monica Abbott’s 2005 start of 35.1 straight scoreless frames and Renfroe’s 2012 sophomore start of 27.1 consecutive shutout innings. Renfroe is also sitting on 799 career strikeouts. Her next K would make her just the second UT pitcher to reach 800 for a career, joining Monica Abbott, who set the NCAA record with 2,440.
Tennessee enters this week’s games as the SEC’s top-hitting team with a .378 team batting average. UT ranks fourth in the league with a 0.98 team ERA.
Next week, UT plays a single game at Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 25 before playing BYU, San Diego State, Colorado State, Fresno State and Utah in the San Diego Classic form Feb. 27 to March 1. Tennessee opens its home schedule on March 5 with a doubleheader against Wright State starting at 5 p.m. ET.
SCOUTING NO. 11/12 NEBRASKA
UT is 3-0 all-time against Nebraska. The last time the teams played was on May 16, 2009. Tennessee defeated Nebraska, 5-2, in the Knoxville Regional. Ashton Ward drive in three and Erinn Webb had a pair of doubles. Danielle Pieroni tossed 5.2 frames in relief with one earned run allowed and five strikeouts to earn the win.
No. 11/12 Nebraska (7-2) was a 2013 Women's College World Series team and went 45-16 last year. The Huskers return 11 letterwinners, six starters and three pitchers from last season.
Taylor Edwards (.500 BA, 3 HRs, 2 2Bs, 8 RBIs), Kiki Stokes (.429 BA, 1 HR, 3 RBIs), and Hailey Decker (.414 BA, 1 HR, 3 2Bs, 5 RBIs) are Nebraska's top three hitters. Emily Lockman (4-1, 1.14 ERA, 37.0 IP, 30 Ks) is the team's top pitcher.
SCOUTING OREGON STATE
UT is 4-4 all-time against Oregon State. The teams last played on Feb. 21, 2009, when UT took a 4-0 win in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Danielle Pieroni picked up the win after tossing five scoreless relief innings with three strikeouts. Tiffany Huff and Erinn Webb hit home runs.
Oregon State (3-8) went 34-24 in 2013 and concluded its season in the NCAA Regionals. The Beavers return nine letterwinners and two pitchers from last year's squad.
Christie Langlois (.435 BA, 2 2B, 2 3B, 7 RBIs), Kori Nishitomi (.375 BA, 2 2B, 3 RBIs) and Kylie Padilla (.353 BA, 1 HR, 3 2B, 2 3B, 11 RBIs) are the Beavers' top hitters. Four Oregon State pitchers have seen action in the circle. Amanda Najdek has pitched the most innings and gone 1-5 over six appearances and four starts with a 4.53 ERA and 22 strikeouts over 29.1 innings pitched. The Oregon State pitchers have combined for a 4.20 ERA while opponents are hitting .316 against them.
SCOUTING NO. 13/11 STANFORD
No. 13/11 Stanford holds a 5-2 edge in the all-time series. The Cardinal has won the last two meetings between the two teams. Tennessee fell to Stanford, 5-0, on Feb. 20, 2011. The Cardinal one-hit the Lady Vols with Madison Shipman recording UT's only hit of the game. Ellen Renfroe took the loss after starting and allowing two runs over 1.2 frames. Ashley Chinn earned the win for Stanford, striking out six in a seven-inning one-hitter.
Stanford went 39-21 in 2013 and concluded its year in the NCAA Lincoln Regional. The Cardinal returned 13 letterwinners, six starters and one pitcher from last season's squad.
Stanford (12-0) is off to a hot start in 2014. Bessie Noll leads the team with a .548 batting average. The Cardinal boast a power-hitting trio of Leah White (.459 BA, 3 2Bs, 9 RBIs), Cassandra Roulund (.436 BA, 2 HRs, 7 2Bs, 16 RBIs), Kylie Sorenson (.424 BA, 1 HR, 5 2Bs, 1 3B, 14 RBIs). Stanford's ace is Madi Schreyer, who is 9-0 with a 1.36 ERA and 41 strikeouts over 46.1 innings.
SCOUTING FRESNO STATE
Tennessee is 1-1 all-time against Fresno State. UT won the teams' last meeting, 5-0, on Feb. 23, 2007. Monica Abbott tossed a 14-strikeout one-hitter and India Chiles went 3-for-4 in the win at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at Big League Dreams Park.
Fresno State (8-2) went 30-24 in 2013 and returned 13 letterwinners, seven starters and four pitchers from last season.
Vonnie Martin (.357 BA, 1 HR, 8 RBIs), Michelle Solomon (.324 BA, 2 HRs, 2 2Bs, 1 3B, 10 RBIs), Stesha Brazil (.313 BA, 2 HRs, 2 2Bs, 1 3B, 14 RBIs) are Fresno State's big bats. Jill Compton has been the Bulldogs' top pitcher, going 4-1 with a 1.81 ERA and 24 strikeouts over 31.0 innings pitched.
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