KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UT Release) - The No. 8/10 Tennessee softball team could not overcome a slow start on Sunday as the Lady Vols fell to No. 1/2 Alabama, 7-1, at Lee Stadium. UT won its first two games against the Crimson Tide on Friday and Saturday to take the season series.
Tennessee (21-4, 2-1 SEC) scored a run off a solo homer by Madison Shipman in the bottom of the seventh, but Alabama (23-3, 1-2 SEC) controlled the majority of the game thanks to a five-run fifth.
Shipman's solo home run in the seventh was her third on the season. She led off the seventh with a monster shot over the wall in left on a 2-2 pitch from Jackie Traina
Erin Gabriel (3-1) started the game for UT and took the loss after striking out two and allowing five runs (three earned) over two innings. Ellen Renfroe notched two strikeouts with two runs (one earned) allowed over 2.2 relief innings. Ivy Renfroe struck out one batter in 2.1 frames.
Traina (11-2) earned the win for Alabama after striking out four and allowing one earned run in a complete game.
In the first inning, the Crimson Tide took a 1-0 lead when Danielle Richard hit a two-out double to left center to plate Haylie McCleney from second base.
Tennessee had a chance to respond in bottom of the first, but left a runner in scoring position. With one out, Kat Dotson reached base after she was hit by an inside pitch. She stole second base, but Traina escaped the inning with back-to-back swinging strikeouts.
Alabama took command of the game in the third inning, scoring five runs to build its lead to 6-0. With the bases loaded and no outs, Traina drew a walk to plate Kayle Braud. Ellen Renfroe entered the circle after that and induced a sacrifice fly to center field, which brought in McCleney from third base. Three batters later, Leona Lafaele hit a two-out single up the middle to bring in two more runs for the Tide. Andrea Hawkins followed with an RBI double to right center.
The Tide added one more run in the fifth inning when pinch hitter Lauren Sewell knocked an RBI single through the left side to score pinch runner Kallie Case.
The Lady Vols took the season series from Alabama, 2-1, following a 4-3 win on Friday and a 2-1 victory on Saturday. This year's series marks the first time since 2007 that UT has won back-to-back games against a No. 1 team.
Tennessee will face Winthrop on Tuesday at Lee Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tickets can be purchased through UTTix.com. Kids 12 and under get in free and will receive a complimentary reserved bleacher back ticket for the game, based on availability.
After that, UT heads to Gainesville, Fla., to for a three-game series against No. 4/4 Florida from March 15-17. Saturday's game at UF will be broadcast on ESPNU while Sunday's contest will be shown on FSN/Sun Sports.
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