Tennessee Uses Long Ball to Down Titans

FULLERTON, Calif—The No. 2 Tennessee softball team showed off its long ball capability by launching three home runs to down Cal State Fullerton, 8-4, at Anderson Family Field on Tuesday evening.

Second-ranked Tennessee flexed its muscles by striking for eight runs on eight hits jumping out to a lead that the Titans couldn't dig out of.

Shortstop Madison Shipman sent a 2-0 pitch over the center field wall for an early 1-0 lead, concluding her night with a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate. Annie Aldrete drew a four pitch walk while first baseman Lexi Overstreet capitalized with a two-run round-tripper to left center field off of Titans starter Jasmine Antunez (5-3). Overstreet finished the evening batting 2-for-4 with three RBI while scoring one run for the Vols. In the circle for Tennessee was Ellen Renfroe (8-0) who pitched a complete game six-hitter, fanning nine Titans en route to her eighth win of the season.

Titans starter Jasmine Antunez labored early, yielding four runs on three hits in two innings of work. Antunez was able to strikeout four Volunteers, but three walks doomed the right-hander as the power of Tennessee translated into eight hits. The early 4-0 hole after the first inning was too much for the home Titans to overcome.   

Freshman Christina Washington came in for relief of Antunez, pitching three innings yielding two runs on two hits. Washington kept the Titans in the game, but was credited with five walks on the evening which kept her effectiveness limited.

Infielder Samantha Galarza was the only Titan to have a muli-hit game against Volunteer ace Renfroe, batting 2-for-3 while scoring one run and knocking in one RBI.

Senior Monique Wesley became the third Titan pitcher to enter the game, surrendering two runs in two innings while striking out two Vols while helping strand eight overall runners on the diamond for Tennessee.   

The Volunteers tacked on two more runs on three singles by Shipman, Melissa Davin and Taylor Koenig to extend their lead to a daunting 8-1 after the top half of the sixth inning. The Titans are now 0-5 when trailing after the sixth inning.

Cal State Fullerton mustered up one last rally in the final frame as senior Lauren Mario took the first pitch she saw and hit a two-run homer to center field, bringing around sophomore Melissa Sechrest to score after she singled earlier in the inning.

Tennessee's Renfroe struck out pinch-hitter Kayla Blanco on five pitches and forced Titans catcher Ariel Tsuchiyama to ground out to end the rally.

The Titans continue their home stand this weekend in co-hosting the Cal State Fullerton/Long Beach State tournament. Fullerton will have a full slate of five games with one on Thursday against Oregon State, two on Friday versus Louisville and Northwestern, and conclude with two on Saturday competing with Nevada and Illinois. All Fullerton games will be played at Anderson Family Field for the weekend.

Game Notes: Galarza hit her third home run of the season while marking her second multi-hit game of the season…Senior Eliza Crawford took a 1-0 pitch deep over the right field wall to capture her team-high sixth round-tripper of 2014…Tennessee starter Renfroe fanned seven different Titans at least once in the start, striking out two batters twice individually…The six home runs combined from both teams is the highest amount in any Titan game this season…The Titans pitching staff of Antunez, Washington and Wesley issued nine walks to the Vols, the most surrendered in any individual game this year.

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