TAMPA - Sara Nevins kept No. 4 Tennessee hitless through
five innings, but a bad sixth doomed the No. 12 Bulls in an 11-0 loss Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Vols scored all six of their runs with two outs in
the sixth on the way to earning the top seed in the final game of round-robin
play at the USF Tournament. Second-seeded USF (5-2) will battle third-seeded NC
State Saturday at about 6:30 p.m. for a spot in Sunday's tournament
Right-hander Ellen Renfroe (3-0) gave up five hits, walked
four and struck out seven for the 8-0 Lady Vols. Renfroe's solid performance
was appreciated by a Tennessee team that couldn't put anything together on
offense until the sixth inning.
The Lady Vols didn't put a runner on until the third inning
when Melissa Brown led off with a walk. A sacrifice moved pinch runner over to
second, but Nevins got out of the jam with a strikeout and a groundout.
USF put its first runner in scoring position in the third
when Ashli Goff hit an infield single and stole second with two outs. Kourtney
Salvarola followed with a walk before the Lady Vols caught Goff trying to steal
third base to end the inning.
The Bulls were back in scoring position in the fourth inning
after D'Anna Devine led off with a single to left field and moved over to
second two batters later. Lee Ann Spivey walked with two outs, but the threat
ended with a Sydney Dinelli strikeout.
Nevins pitched a perfect fourth and fifth before Tennessee's
bats heated up in the big sixth inning.
The Lady Vols applied when Melissa Davin legged out an
infield single to start the inning. A sacrifice bunt moved Davin over to second
and Nevins posted her fifth strikeout before Tennessee broke through. Kat
Dotson hit an RBI triple off the right field wall and a fielding error resulted
in the Lady Vols' second run.
Tennessee loaded the bases and Nevins' outing was over after
Hannah Akamine hit a two-run single up the middle. Two more Lady Vols crossed
the plate in the sixth thanks to a triple by Brown off right-hander Sam
Dotson added her second triple of the game in the seventh
that drove in two more runs for the Lady Vols. Lauren Gibson produced Tennessee's
ninth run with a one-out single and Haley Tobler capped off the scoring with a
Devine and Goff wound up leading USF's offense with 2-for-3
performances while the Bulls stranded six runners.