KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UT Release) - After temporarily suspending Game 2 in the sixth inning to play a televised Game 3 on time, No. 2 Tennessee scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth for a 7-6 comeback win over No. 4 Florida and its first sweep of the Gators since 2004.
UT (31-3, 7-1 SEC) won Game 1, 9-2, on Friday and rain on Saturday pushed Game 2 to Sunday morning at 10 a.m. The Gators (31-7, 5-7 SEC) held a 6-4 lead after five innings before play was suspended at about noon in preparation for the CSS broadcast of Game 3. Tennessee took a 5-2 win in Game 3 before resuming Game 2 play.
Melissa Davin led the way offensively, going 3-for-4 with a solo home run, three RBIs and three runs. Megan Geer was 2-for-4 with a solo homer.
Ellen Renfroe (21-0) earned the win after throwing two scoreless relief innings with a pair of strikeouts. Erin Gabriel started the game, striking out five and allowing three earned runs over four innings. Cheyanne Tarango had two strikeouts and three earned runs allowed over one relief inning.
Lauren Haeger (6-1) took the loss after allowing on earned run in the bottom of the sixth. Delanie Gourley started the game and gave up six earned runs over five innings.
Florida jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Kirsti Merritt clubbed a one-out, two-run home run over the wall in left.
Davin smashed a solo home run with one out in the bottom of the first to pull Tennessee to within 2-1. Davin hammered a 2-2 pitch from Gourley over the scoreboard in left field for her seventh home run of the season. The Lady Vols tied the game at 2-2 when Haley Tobler drew a one-out, bases-loaded walk to plate Madison Shipman. Taylor Koenig was hit by a pitch in the next at-bat, scoring Annie Aldrete and giving UT a 3-2 lead.
Tennessee's lead grew to 4-2 in the bottom of the second when Gourley threw a wild pitch with the bases loaded and two outs, scoring Davin on the play.
The Gators came roaring back with a four-run third inning to take a 5-4 lead. Merritt hit a leadoff home run to left field to pull Florida to within 4-3. Tarango relieved Gabriel in the circle and the Gators put up three more runs. With one out, Taylor Schwarz drew a bases-loaded walk, scoring Lauren Haeger and tying the game at 4-4. Two batters later, Kelsey Stewart knocked a two-RBI single through the right side to give the Gators a 6-4 advantage. Gabriel would later re-enter the circle in the fourth inning.
Geer opened the bottom of the fourth with a triple down the right field line, but the Lady Vols could not plate her as Gourley induced a groundout and two swinging strikeouts to escape the inning.
After Game 3 finished and the teams returned to the field to resume Game 2, Geer opened the bottom of the sixth with a solo home run to center field. Davin followed with a double down the left field line and Shipman and Aldrete drew walks to load the bases. Tarango was hit by a pitch, plating Davin for the tying run. UT pulled ahead, 7-6, when Hannah Akamine knocked a sac fly to deep right field to score Shipman.
UT will next head to Baton Rouge, La., for a three-game series at SEC foe LSU from April 4-6. Tennessee's game against Appalachian State, originally scheduled for April 1, has been canceled and will be re-scheduled at a later date.
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