OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (utladyvols.com) -- Tennessee freshman pitcher Ellen Renfroe has been chosen as the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week for May 17, according to a Tuesday release from the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA).
Add that accolade to an ever-expanding list of accomplishments for the Jackson, Tenn., native during her rookie campaign in the Orange & White. The 6-0 right hander has already picked up Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year, SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player & SEC All-Tournament, second team All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman honors in 2011 and also owns a pair of selections as both the SEC Pitcher (March 28 & April 18) and SEC Freshman of the Week (March 21 & April 4).
“It is such a terrific honor to be chosen as the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week,” Ellen Renfroe said. “When you are pitching against great teams like Kentucky, Auburn and Georgia, you have to have a solid defense behind you and a great offense to give you support, so my teammates deserve most of the credit for this award. I especially want to thank the Lord for granting me the ability to play softball at this level and for giving me the opportunity to play with such a great group of teammates.”
She proved a vital contributor from the circle last weekend in helping lead No. 5 Tennessee to the program’s second SEC Tournament Championship and third league title overall (2006 SEC Tournament, 2007 SEC regular season crown).
Renfroe registered a 3-0 record in the circle with a 0.76 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 18.1 innings of work while holding three ranked teams (#22 Kentucky, #23 Auburn and #8 Georgia) to a miniscule .179 batting average.
As the starting pitcher during the tourney opener versus UK, she worked five innings, allowing just a single run to the .300-hitting Wildcats while striking out three.
Easily her finest performances of the weekend came in vital relief as Renfroe entered in the second inning of the semifinal versus #23 Auburn with two base runners on and no one retired. She eventually struck out the side to help the Big Orange escape a huge early jam. From there she permitted just a single base knock over the final five frames to the Tigers as the Big Orange held on for a 2-1 victory.
Renfroe entered the match-up versus a power-hitting #8 Georgia squad in relief during the first inning of the SEC Championship Game with Tennessee already trailing 4-0. In a crucial effort from the circle, she held UGA to just one tally on five hits with five strikeouts over 7.1 innings of work as UT rallied for a 6-5 (8 inn.), walk-off victory. With the weekend’s performance, Renfroe improved to 26-5 overall with a 1.28 ERA for the 47-10 Lady Vols.
“Being named USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week is a huge honor for both Ellen and our team,” Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Karen Weekly said. “Ellen’s performance during the entire SEC Tournament was masterful. Her relief appearance against No. 8 Georgia in the championship game was especially clutch, holding UGA’s powerful offense to just one run over 7.1 innings. These types of awards come after great individual and team performances. Ellen would be the first to credit her teammates for the SEC Championship.”
As the No. 14 national seed Tennessee will open its NCAA Tournament run on Fri., May 20, at 6:30 p.m. ET against Liberty. Georgia Tech and Oklahoma State will christen the opening day of the Knoxville Regional on Fri. at 4 p.m. ET.