UT and Alabama set to clash in Super Regional

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -– Tennessee hosts Alabama this Friday and Saturday for the Knoxville Super Regional. The winner of this double-elimination series advances to the 2013 Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.

All three games will be nationally televised on the ESPN networks with Beth Mowins as the play-by-play announcer and Jessica Mendoza as the analyst. Friday’s game will be broadcast at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. Saturday’s Game 2 will be at 5 p.m. on ESPN and, if necessary, Game 3 will be at 8 p.m. on ESPN2. There will also be a free live audio broadcast with Brian Rice on the call on UTSports.com via the CBS ULive player as well as on the radio on WNML 990 AM. Fans can follow the action with free live stats and an interactive live blog on UTSports.com.

Tennessee (47-10) is coming off a 3-0 showing in the Knoxville Regional last weekend. The Lady Vols outscored their opponents 17-0 in those three games and Ivy Renfroe and Ellen Renfroe combined for 23 shutout innings in the circle.

Alabama (45-13) went 3-0 in the Tuscaloosa Regional, outscoring its opponents 24-7 in those three wins. The Crimson Tide batted .446 as a team last weekend with Kayla Braud (.727 BA) and Andrea Hawkins (5-for-5) leading the way.

The Lady Vols and the Crimson Tide played a three-game series in conference play from March 8-10. UT took the series, winning the first game, 4-3, thanks to an RBI single by Madison Shipman in the bottom of the seventh. Tennessee took the second game when Rainey Gaffin hit a key RBI double in the sixth and Ivy Renfroe tossed a strong seven frames. Alabama won the third game, 7-0, avoiding the sweep. The Crimson Tide poured on five runs in the fourth in the Game 3 win as the UT offense did not get going until it was too late.

• The Lady Vols (47-10, 16-6 SEC) finished second in the SEC in the regular season and advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament. UT went 3-0 in the Knoxville Regional last week with wins over Longwood and NC State (twice). Tennessee ranks among the best in the nation in a slew of statistical categories including:
• Category (National Rank)
• Team Batting Average: .337 (4th)
• Team Scoring (RPG): 7.05 (3rd)
• Team Fielding Percentage: .974 (11th)
• Team ERA: 1.82 (13th)
• Raven Chavanne is a Top 3 Finalist for USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year. She is just the third Lady Vol to make it to the Top 3, joining Monica Abbott (who won in 2007) and Tonya Callahan (2008). Chavanne ranks fourth in the nation with a .470 batting average and a 1.19 runs scored per game average. She also is 11th in the country in stolen bases per game with a 0.68 average (39-for-40). Chavanne is also a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award.
• Lauren Gibson was named the SEC Player of the year after outstanding play in conference games. She was also a Top 10 Finalist for USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year. On the year, Gibson is batting .416 (40th in the nation) with 18 home runs (t-16th) and 66 RBIs (1.16 average is 12th in nation).
• Chavanne, Gibson, Kat Dotson and Madison Shipman earned NFCA All-Southeast Region first team honors. Ellen Renfroe was named to the All-Southeast Region second team.
• Chavanne, Shipman and Ellen Renfroe were named to the Capital One Academic All-District 3 First Team.
• Chavanne, Gibson, Kat Dotson and Madison Shipman earned first Team All-SEC and SEC All-Defensive Team honors.
• Tennessee is 18-33 all-time against Alabama and 10-12 against the Crimson Tide in games played in Knoxville.
• The Lady Vols took two of three in their 2013 season series against Alabama from March 8-10.
• UT has three players with double-digit home runs. Gibson has 18 and Madison Shipman and Cheyanne Tarango each homered in the Regionals to move their season totals to 10.
• Ellen Renfroe's 11-inning, 13 strikeout gem in UT's 1-0 win over NC State on May 18 marked her first win in the NCAA Tournament.
• Ivy Renfroe continues to be one of the most dominant NCAA Tournament pitchers. With two shutout wins last week, she is now 15-4 all-time in NCAA Tournament play with a 1.53 ERA and 121 strikeouts over 118.2 innings.

• The Crimson Tide(45-13) finished eighth in the SEC in the regular season and fell in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament to eventual champ Florida. Alabama also ranks among the best in the nation in a slew of statistical categories including:
• Category (National Rank)
• Team Batting Average: .334 (7th)
• Team Scoring (RPG): 7.00 (4th)
• Stolen Bases Per Game: 1.98 (10th)
• Slugging Percentage: .510(17th)
• The defending national champions went 3-0 in the Tuscaloosa Regional with wins over Jacksonville State and Western Kentucky (twice).
• Alabama features a well-rounded lineup that has eight batters hitting .314 or higher, two high-average speedsters (Kayla Braud and Haylie McCleney) and two major power threats (Kaila Hunt, Jackie Traina).
• Kayla Braud leads the team with a .476 batting average and 38 stolen bases. Haylie McCleney is right behid her with a .466 average and 29 stolen bases. Andrea Hawkins (.387 BA), Kaila Hunt (.378 BA, 15 HRs, 60 RBIs) and Jackie Traina (.333 BA, 13 HRs, 45 RBIs) round out the Tide's top five hitters.
• In the circle, Jackie Traina (19-6, 2.48 ERA, 208 Ks, 188.1 IP) and Leslie Jury (18-7, 2.54 ERA, 101 Ks, 132.1 IP) are a formidable 1-2 punch.

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