TEMPE, Ariz. (WVLT/SUBMITTED) – On Friday in Kajikawa Classic action at Farrington Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., No. 3 California’s Valerie Arioto hit two home runs and posted four RBIs to lead an 11-hit offensive attack as the Golden Bears topped the No. 9 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team, 13-5.
Despite playing without the services of junior third baseman and two-time All-American Raven Chavanne and with junior All-American Kat Dotson also out of the line-up because of a pre-existing injury, the Big Orange offense managed five runs on nine total hits off Cal All-American starter Jolene Henderson.
Junior third baseman Ashley Andrews led UT’s charge with a 2-for-3 effort at the dish, while junior right fielder Whitney Hammond (1-for-4, run), sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman (1-for-4, run), freshman first baseman Cheyanne Tarango (0-for-1, three walks, run), senior designated player Shelby Burchell (1-for-4) and freshman catcher Hannah Akamine (1-for-2, walk) were each credited with an RBI. Junior pinch hitter Melissa Brown (1-for-1) and sophomore left fielder Melissa Davin (1-for-3) both doubled in the contest.
Lady Vol junior pitcher Ivy Renfroe (0-1) took the loss, allowing eight earned runs on 10 hits with a pair of walks and nine strikeouts over 6.1 innings of work. Tarango drew her first collegiate duty in the circle, permitting four tallies on a hit with three walks and a K in two-thirds of a frame.
Cal managed to get on the board in the top of the first as first baseman Arioto drove a 3-1 offering from Renfroe just over the wall in center for a 1-0 advantage.
The Big Orange offense responded immediately with a threat in the bottom of the first against All-American pitcher Jolene Henderson. With one down Andrews beat out a perfect slap single on the infield to get things rolling. Junior second baseman Lauren Gibson managed one of her three walks in the game, and then Shipman laced a single through the infield to pack the bags full of Lady Vols. Tarango walked to force in the tying score and then Burchell followed with a bloop single off the glove of Cal’s diving Victoria Jones as Gibson scored easily from 60 feet away to make it 2-1. After a Lady Vol K, Akamine stepped to the dish and blooped a ball off the glove of an again diving Jones to bring Shipman across for a 3-1 advantage.
Consecutive base knocks by right fielder Breana Kostreba and shortstop Cheyenne Cordes got the Golden Bears off to a quick start opening the top of the second. Following a K Jolene Henderson ripped a single through the left side of the infield to pack the bases with just one retired. Unfortunately for UT, with center fielder Frani Echavarria at the plate, a passed ball brought across a tally, and then a wild pitch tied the score at 3-3.
Tennessee threatened again in the bottom of the second as Hammond and Andrews delivered back-to-back one-out, infield singles. Gibson battled over an eight-pitch at-bat before drawing a walk to load the bags for the Lady Vols for the second consecutive frame. Shipman followed by seeing 12 pitches against Henderson in working to a full count before bouncing out to short for an RBI as Hammond scored easily and pushed Tennessee back in front, 4-3. Tarango drew a free pass to pack the bags once again, but a foul pop-up outside of first by Burchell left the UT trio stranded.
With one retired in the top of the third, Renfroe walked Arioto, setting the stage for a two-run shot to left center by third baseman Jace Williams as the Golden Bears re-took the lead at 5-4. That ended Renfroe’s initial stint in the circle as Tarango was summoned in for her first pitching action and promptly struck out the very first batter she faced in Kostreba. Unfortunately, a walk issued to shortstop Cheyenne Cordes was soon cashed in via a two-run shot to right by catcher Danielle Henderson as Cal improved its advantage to 7-4.
The lead expanded to 10-4 in the top of the fourth as Arioto struck for her second HR of the contest, driving a three-run blast to deep center.
The pitchers settled things down for a while after that by putting zeroes up on the scoreboard in the fifth inning, while Renfroe retired six straight Bears over the fifth and sixth frames.
After UT pinch hitter Brown was left stranded at second following a double in the bottom of the sixth, Cal got another threat christened in the top of the seventh.
Williams walked to open the frame and Kostreba laced a single to right, putting two Bears aboard with no one retired. Cordes stepped to the dish and ripped a double past Baker in center and to the wall as Cal’s lead grew to 11-4. Pinch-hitter Lindsay Ziegenhirt ripped a shot to center that Baker tracked down for the second out. The Broadway, Va. native fired a strike to the plate but it was just a tad tardy as Kostreba crossed to make it 12-4. Echavarria laced a shot to deep left that hit off the top of the wall, allowing Cordes to scamper home for a nine-run advantage.
In the final chance for the Big Orange in the bottom of the seventh Tarango and Davin both walked and Baker singled to left to pack the bags full of Lady Vols. Hammond was struck by Henderson’s initial offering as Tarango trotted home from third to cut the deficit to 13-5. Andrews stepped to the dish and ripped a shot back to the circle, but Henderson made a quick stab and tossed on to first to end the match-up.