TAMPA, Fla. (release) -- Raven Chavanne clubbed a three-run homer and Ellen Renfroe struck out 13 as the No. 4/4 Tennessee softball team took an 8-2 win over NC State on Sunday to win the championship of the USF Softball Classic.
The Lady Vols (10-0) won the tournament at USF Softball Stadium after running the table with wins over NC State (6-4) and Coastal Carolina on Friday, wins over No. 12/12 USF and Coastal Carolina on Saturday and another win over NC State in Sunday's championship game.
Chavanne went 3-for-4 with a three-run jack in the fifth inning. She also scored twice and had a stolen base in the victory. Kat Dotson had an outstanding day at the plate, going 3-for-4 and finishing a home run away from the cycle. Melissa Brown wend 2-for-3 with a two-RBI double. Cheyanne Tarango had two hits and two RBIs. Lauren Gibson went 2-for-3 with a double and a pair of runs scored.
Ellen Renfroe (4-0) was strong in the circle. Striking out 13 and allowing just four hits and two earned runs against a solid NC State lineup.
The Wolfpack's ace, Emily Weiman (6-3), got into some trouble early in the game and allowed four earned runs in just one inning of work. Rookie Chelsea Stanfield tossed five relief frames and gave up four runs (three earned).
Tennessee jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning. With one out, Madison Shipman knocked an RBI single to right to plate Chavanne and give UT the lead. Two batters later, Tarango connected for a two-RBI single to right field, plating Shipman and Gibson. Another two batters later, Brown slugged a double to center field to drive in Tarango.
NC State climbed back into the game, scoring two runs in the top of the fifth. After Lana Van Dyken drew a leadoff walk, Renada Davis hit a two-run homer over the wall in left field to bring the Wolfpack to within 4-2.
UT answered with three runs in the bottom of the fifth when Chavanne sent a 2-0 pitch from Stanfield soaring over the wall in center field, plating Hannah Trainer and Rainey Gaffin. The Lady Vols' lead grew to 7-2.
Tennessee added one more run in the bottom of the sixth. Gibson led off the inning with a double to left field and Tarango reached on a fielding error at third. Two batter later, Brown hit a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Gibson from third base.
Over the course of UT's 5-0 run through USF's tournament, the Lady Vols combined to hit .380 and outscore opponents, 44-5. Gibson led all UT batters with a .600 batting average (9-for-15) for the week with one homer, one double and five RBIs. Dotson hit .500 (7-for-14) with three triples, one double, three RBIs and six runs. Brown also hit .500 (6-for-12) with a double, a triple and six RBIs. Tarango batted .400 (6-for-15) with a homer and two doubles and she led the team with eight RBIs.
Tennessee's pitchers combined for a 1.03 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 34.0 innings of work. Ellen Renfroe picked up two wins and struck out 20 batters in 14.0 innings with a 1.00 ERA. Erin Gabriel had the best single outing, fanning eight in a one-hit, six-inning shutout win over Coastal Carolina on Friday.
UT next heads to Cathedral City, Calif., to play in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic from Feb. 21-23. The Lady Vols will face Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton, Northwestern, UCLA and UC Santa Barbara. All games will feature a free live audio broadcast and a free live blog on UTSports.com. When UT is the designated home team, there will be free live stats on UTSports.com. When the Lady Vols are the away team, the opposing team's site will host live stats.
The Lady Vols are just a few days away from opening their 2013 home schedule at Lee Stadium against Lipscomb on Feb. 26. The home opener will feature free reserved bleacher backs for kids 12 and under based on availability. Single-game tickets go on sale on Monday at 8 a.m. and can be purchased through UTTix.com or through the ticket office at 865-656-1200.
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