No. 8 Tennessee scored five in the fifth and Ellen Renfroe struck out eight over seven strong innings as the Lady Vols took a 9-2 comeback win over No. 9 Kentucky on Sunday to take the season series.
Tennessee (39-9, 14-7 SEC) scored one in the second inning, five in the fifth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh. Kentucky (40-11, 13-8 SEC) scored both of its runs in the first inning.
With eight strikeouts in the complete-game win, Renfroe (25-5) now has 207 on the season. She is just the second Lady Vol to throw 200 strikeouts in each of her four seasons. The only other UT pitcher to accomplish the feat was legend Monica Abbott (2004-07).
Melissa Davin hit a solo home run, her 12th on the season, and a sac fly to drive in a pair of runs. Megan Geer was 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs. Taylor Koenig hit a two-RBI single. Madison Shipman was 2-for-4 with one RBI and one walk.
Kelsey Nunley (20-6) took the loss after allowing seven earned runs over seven innings.
Sunday’s attendance was 1,685. The weekend total attendance was 4,664 – a Kentucky record for a three-game series.
Kentucky took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Emily Gaines hit a one-out, two-RBI double to center field.
In the second inning, Davin smashed a solo homer on the first pitch she saw from Kelsey Nunley, sending a shot over the wall in right field to pull UT to within 2-1. Tennessee loaded the bases after Koenig was hit by a pitch, Lexi Overstreet rocked a hit down the left field line and Alley Perkins reached on an error at first. Nunley induced a fielder’s choice with a 6-2 out at home and an infield pop up to leave three Lady Vols stranded.
Tennessee exploded with five runs in the sixth inning to take a 6-2 lead. With one out, Haley Tobler knocked a single to left center. Megan Geer drove Tobler in with an RBI triple down the right field line, tying the game at 2-2. With two outs, Annie Aldrete and Davin drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Koenig knocked a two-out, two-RBI single to right field to give UT a 4-2 lead. Cheyanne Tarango reached on a throwing error by the third baseman, scoring Davin on the play. Overstreet followed with an RBI single to center field, plating Koenig for UT’s sixth run of the game.
Kentucky tried to answer in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases with two outs. Renfroe got out of the jam by striking out Emily Gaines.
UT added another run in the sixth to push its lead to 7-2. With the bases loaded and two outs, Davin hit a sacrifice fly to right field, plating Tobler from third base.
The Lady Vols plated two more runs in the top of the seventh. Geer knocked a one-out RBI single up the middle to score Perkins. Shipman hit a two-out bloop RBI single over the pitcher’s head to bring home Tobler for UT’s ninth run.
Tennessee will conclude its regular-season schedule at home next weekend with a three game series against Ole Miss from May 2-4. UT will celebrate Senior Day on Saturday, May 3.