NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (release) -- Melissa Brown drove in three runs, Cheyanne Tarango homered and Ellen Renfroe fanned 11 batters as the No. 7/9 Tennessee softball team took a 10-3 victory over Charleston Southern on Sunday in the Buccaneer Invitational.
Tennessee (19-3) completes a grueling start to the season with 21 of its first 22 games on the road. UT went coast-to-coast, heading west twice for the Red Desert Classic in Utah and he Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in California and heading south twice for the USF 4 Team Tournament and the Buccaneer Invitational. In under a month's time, the Lady Vols played 22 games with six wins by run rule and 11 shutout victories.
On Sunday, the Lady Vols poured on five runs in the first inning to take command early. Charleston Southern scored three in the bottom of the first, but UT's pitching shutout the Buccaneers for the remainder of the game.
Brown was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs. Tarango went 2-for-3 with a solo homer in the sixth, two RBIs and two runs on the day. Madison Shipman was 2-for-5 with two RBIs and a double. Raven Chavanne had a pair of infield singles, two walks, one run and one stolen base.
Erin Gabriel started the game and recorded one strikeout and two earned runs allowed over one third of an inning before taking a hard liner back to the circle off her hand, forcing her out of the game. Ellen Renfroe (7-1) threw the remainder of the game, striking out 11 and allowing just one hit and one earned run over 6.2 frames.
Jennifer Giles took the loss for CSU with 10 runs allowed (nine earned) over seven innings.
In the first inning, UT poured on five runs. Chavanne and Kat Dotson opened the game with an infield single to the shortstop and a double down the left field line. Lauren Gibson was hit by a pitch to load the bases and two batter later Tarango was hit by a pitch to plate Chavanne for the game's first run. Hannah Akamine was hit by a pitch in the next at-bat to plate Dotson and give UT the 2-0 lead. Melissa Davin reached on a fielder's choice, scoring Gibson on the play. Brown followed with a two-out, two-RBI double to right center.
The Buccaneers responded with three runs in the bottom of the first. With one out and two runners on base, Ellen Renfroe entered the circle for Gabriel. Marci Christian hit a 1-1 pitch to deep center field, out of the reach of a diving Tory Lewis. Christian motored around the bases for a three-run, inside-the-park home run to pull CSU to within 5-3.
Tennessee answered with two runs in the top of the second. With Dotson on third and Gibson on second, Madison Shipman ripped an two-RBI double off the wall in left field to give UT a 7-3 advantage.
In the top of the fifth, Gibson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to plate Davin from third base.
The Lady Vols scored two more in the top of the sixth. Tarango opened the inning with a moon shot on a 1-0 pitch, sending the ball over the wall in center field for a solo home run. Three batters later, Brown delivered with a single down the left field line to plate pinch runner Hannah Trainer from third base.
Ellen Renfroe finished the game strong, striking out the last eight of the last 10 batters she faced in the game.
The Lady Vols return to Lee Stadium this week to face defending national champion No. 1/2 Alabama in a three-game series from March 8-10. Tennessee and Alabama will square off on Friday at 6:30 p.m., on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.