Freshmen lead Lady Vols to softball win
Rainey Gaffin
Rainey Gaffin
InsideTennessee sportswriter
Posted Mar 20, 2013


The Lady Vol softball team is a veteran one, but the future was on display Tuesday against Murray State. Go inside with InsideTennessee for a free read and videos.

Tennessee (24-6) got a breather in between SEC matchups with Florida and Texas A&M with a visit by Murray State (7-13), and the Lady Vols, behind three freshmen, secured a 7-0 win.

Freshman Erin Gabriel had her repertoire of pitches on display – change-up, fastball and drop ball – and claimed her fourth win of the season with eight strikeouts. She allowed two hits and issued just one walk in five innings.

After Murray State dealt with the movement and speed of Gabriel, senior Ivy Renfroe handled the last two innings and mowed down four batters via strikeout.

Renfroe also provided some entertainment for the intrepid souls who remained at windy and cold Lee Stadium. She stumbled with her first step, and the pitch sliced and went about 10 feet over the head of the startled Hannah Akamine. Renfroe was the first to start laughing.

Sign up now to join the Tennessee community.
Free 7-day trial!

Freshman Lexi Overstreet was behind the plate to open the game and was complimented by co-head coach Karen Weekly for the way she framed pitches for Gabriel.

It was a much-needed confidence boost for Gabriel, who struggled with Alabama in her last outing. On Tuesday, she showed the control and speed that made her a top pitching prospect in the class of 2012.

Rainey Gaffin, a freshman slugger who Weekly said would provide pitching help next season, showed why she was recruited for her power. Gaffin drilled a no-doubt home run over the right-center wall in the fourth inning. She also had a stand-up double that got to the wall in center field. Gaffin was 2-3 with three RBI.

Gaffin said that Ralph Weekly told her before the game that she would get her first career homer that evening. She had looked into the dugout to see if Karen Weekly, who was back just four days after gallbladder removal surgery, wanted her to play the short game. Weekly didn’t see her so Gaffin decided to swing away. She went long.

Overstreet, a catcher/third baseman who has also dusted off her outfield skills to get her bat in the lineup, was 1-2 at the plate and 1-1 behind it as she threw out the first base runner who tried to swipe second. The Racers didn’t run again.

The seniors also made an impact. Raven Chavanne was 2-2, walked once, scored twice, drove in a run and stole three bases. Lauren Gibson was 1-3, walked once, stole a base and drove in a run. Kat Dotson drove in a run and stole a base. Whitney Hammond was 1-3, scored a run and stole two bases. Melissa Brown was 1-2 with a run scored.

Tennessee next hosts Texas A&M beginning Friday for a three-game series.

The Lady Vols will retire the jersey of pitcher Monica Abbott – Gabriel anticipates not being able to speak when she meets her – on Saturday before the 6:30 p.m. at Lee Stadium. That game is sold out and will be shown on ESPNU.

Game highlights from utsportstv

INSIDE TENNESSEE VIDEO COVERAGE

Erin Gabriel, Lexi Overstreet

Rainey Gaffin

Karen Weekly



Related Stories
Lady Vols hold off Auburn in opener
 -by InsideTennessee.com  Apr 12, 2013
Softball runs win streak to 14 games
 -by InsideTennessee.com  Apr 13, 2013
Lady Vols softball sweeps Auburn
 -by InsideTennessee.com  Apr 14, 2013

MAGAZINE COVERAGE
Get the 2014 Recruiting Yearbook and a full year of Rocky Top Magazine with an Annual Total Access Pass.
Sign Up Today!

Upgrade Now!
Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from InsideTennessee.com. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Softball > Tennessee
[View My HotList]