Rosemont, Ill (UT Release) - Tennessee softball legend Ellen Renfroe signed with the Chicago Bandits of National Pro Fastpitch on Thursday.
Renfroe will join Tennessee icon Monica Abbott on Chicago's pitching staff, giving the Bandits the two most-accomplished pitchers in Lady Vol softball history. Former UT pitcher Andi Williamson is also on Chicago's roster.
"I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to join the Chicago Bandits, and to continue to play the sport I love at a new level," Renfroe said in a press release from the Bandits. "I can't wait to start the season with my team and to get to know them and the fans of the Bandits."
The Bandits open their 2014 season tonight at 7:05 p.m. ET at the Akron Racers.
"We are thrilled to have Ellen join the Bandits," Chicago Bandits general manager Aaron M. Moore said. "At draft time, we didn't think this would be a possibility and now that it has happened, we are definitely excited. Ellen will fit in great with the Bandits and our fans should really enjoy having her around."
Renfroe completed her Tennessee career as one of the greatest pitchers in UT history. Nicknamed "The Spin Doctor" but ESPN's Beth Mowins, Renfroe always put on a pitching display with her elite command of the ball. She finished her career with 1.65 ERA, a 102-25 record, 12 saves, 84 complete games, 41 shutouts, two no-hitters and 1,005 strikeouts over 175 appearances, 129 starts and 872.0 innings in the circle. Renfroe was a two-time NFCA All-American (2011, 2012), a four-time NFCA All-Southeast Region pick, a three-time Top 25 Finalist for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year (2012, 2013, 2014) and a three-time All-SEC selection (2011, 2012, 2014).
Renfroe was a model student-athlete during her career at UT, thriving both on the field and in the classroom. She was named the 2014 Capital One Academic All-American® of the Year for softball and the 2014 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Renfroe was also a three-time Capital One Academic All-American® (2012, 2013, 2014).
Renfroe enjoyed a stellar senior campaign in 2014, going 30-8 with a 2.02 ERA and 245 strikeouts. She set career highs with 30 complete games, 239.1 innings pitched and 30 wins as a senior. She was named USA Softball Player of the Week on April 1, making her just the fourth Lady Vol to earn that honor twice in a career after Abbott (four times), Tonya Callahan (twice) and Raven Chavanne (twice). Renfroe was also named SEC Pitcher of the Week three times this year (Feb. 17, Feb. 24, March 31). She earned SEC Pitcher of the Week honors eight times in her incredible Tennessee career, which stands second-most in UT history only to Abbott's 16 times receiving the award.
Renfroe finished her career ranked second in several Tennessee career pitching categories - an impressive feat considering Abbott set several NCAA records from 2004-07 that are likely unbreakable. Renfroe ranks second in UT history in career ERA (1.65), games started (129), wins (102), shutouts (41), innings pitched (872.0) and strikeouts (1,005). She also ranks third in appearances (175), winning percentage (.803) and complete games (84).
Her signature moment was in Game 1 of the 2013 Women's College World Series Championship Series when she went toe-to-toe with Keilani Ricketts for 11 innings, striking out 13 Oklahoma batters in an instant-classic game.