Lady Vols top Buccaneers on first day of Buccaneer Invitational

Lady Vols top Buccaneers on first day of Buccaneer Invitational
Box score

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Tennessee took advantage of a seven run fifth inning in staying undefeated on the opening day of the Charleston Southern Buccaneer Invitational as the Volunteers defeated host Charleston Southern on Friday afternoon at the CSU Softball Field, 8-1.

The Buccaneers pushed across their lone run in the bottom of the sixth inning as Hayes Holdsworth brought in Jasmine Conley on an infield groundout, sending the teams into the seventh frame, but the CSU comeback ended there as the Volunteers held on for the win.

Charleston Southern falls to 3-8 overall on the season, while Tennessee improves to 16-3 with their two wins this afternoon.

Jennifer Giles (1-6) suffered the loss on the afternoon for the Buccaneers, carrying a no-hitter into the third inning before struggling to escape the fifth inning in giving up eight runs, six earned in the defeat. Giles, who entered the game leading the Big South Conference in innings pitched, went the distance for her sixth complete game and finished with two strikeouts.

Ivy Renfroe (6-1) bounced back from her first loss of the season last night, going the distance and scattering five hits for the win. The Tennessee right-hander retired seven CSU batters on strikes in 118 total pitches on the mound.

Marci Christian led the Buccaneers bats in the game, going 2-for-3 from the plate with a pair of singles to extend her team-leading hitting streak into double-digits. After failing to get a hit in her first game, the junior utility player from Arvonia, Va. has recorded hits in the past 10 games, hitting .467 from the plate during the stretch.

Raven Chavanne and Madison Shipman led the UT bats in the game with two hits apiece, while Lauren Gibson drove in three RBI with a double in the fifth inning and scored twice to help the Volunteers' efforts.

Both pitchers opened the contest carrying no-hitters into the third inning with Tennessee snapping Giles' bid in the top half of the frame as Chavanne reached on a two-out bunt single. Following back-to-back walks issued to Kat Dotson and Gibson to load the bases, Giles retired Shipman on a popup to Natalie Yonan at second base to end the threat.

Trea Steele snapped Renfroe's no-hit bid in the bottom half of the inning, chopping a ball down to third and beating the throw for the infield single with two outs. Jana Matthews followed with a base hit up the middle to put two runners on, but Renfroe quelled the CSU threat, retiring Stephanie Sbardella on strikes to end the inning.

The Bucs threatened to put a crooked frame up in the bottom of the fourth as Lizzy Olmstead moved around the bases, ending up on third with two outs after coming in to run following Christian's first hit of the game. Melanie Stickney reached after getting plunked by a Renfroe offering to bring up Ari Tedesco with runners at the corners. Tedesco followed with a smash heading for the gap between the UT third baseman and shortstop, bringing the CSU crowd to their feet, but Chavanne made a terrific diving play on the sharply hit ball, snagging the line drive to end the inning and keep the score knotted up.

Tennessee broke through the seal on the scoreboard in the fifth inning with Gibson clearing the bases with one out in the inning, driving the ball to the fence in right centerfield, allowing Melissa Davin, Chavanne and Dotson to score on the play to put the Volunteers ahead 3-0.

Shipman scored Gibson three pitches later with a double to centerfield and Shipman came around to score on a delayed steal attempt after getting caught in a rundown between third and home. Melissa Brown and Rainey Gaffin brought in the final two runs with RBI singles before Giles retired Chavanne on a fly ball to left field to end the inning.

The Lady Vols pushed across another run in the top of the sixth inning as Cheyanne Tarango drove in Gibson with a sacrifice fly down the right field line.

Charleston Southern extended the game in the bottom half of the inning as Sbardella drew a lead-off walk. With Conley in to run, Christian advanced her into scoring position with a single up the middle. Following a sacrifice bunt by Hannah Wagner, putting both runners in scoring position, Conley crossed the plate on Holdsworth's groundout, putting CSU on the board, down 8-1.

The Buccaneers mounted one final rally in the bottom half of the seventh, putting two runners on with two outs as Yonan reached on a single and Matthews drew a walk, but Sbardella's line drive down the left field line was snagged for the final out, ending the contest.

Charleston Southern is back in action tomorrow afternoon on the second day of the Buccaneer Invitational, taking on UNC Wilmington at 1 p.m. on the CSU Softball Field, before closing out the day against Valparaiso in the final contest on Saturday, with first pitch projected for 3 p.m.