Georgia Drops Series Opener to Tennessee

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April 5, 2013

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ATHENS, Ga. - The University of Georgia softball team was unable to overcome an early deficit, despite hitting three home runs, as it dropped a 10-3 decision to the No. 6/5 Tennessee Lady Vols in the series opener on Friday, April 5 at Jack Turner Stadium in Athens, Ga. With the loss, Georgia falls to 27-10 on the year and 6-4 in the Southeastern Conference. Tennessee improves 32-6 overall and 7-3 in the SEC.

Morgan Montemayor got the start and suffered the loss to fall to 7-6 on the year. She allowed seven runs, six earned, on seven hits and a walk in 1.1 innings of work. Chelsea Wilkinson threw the final 5.2 innings in relief, allowing three earned runs on five hits and four walks, while striking out four batters. Starting pitcher Ivy Renfroe earned the win to move to 14-3 on the year. She allowed three runs, on seven hits and three walks in 5.1 innings in the circle. She also struck out two batters. Ellen Renfroe came on to throw the final 1.2 innings for the Lady Vols. She did not give up a hit and struck out three of the six batters she faced.

Tennessee took a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Raven Chavanne led off with a single over the head of Anna Swafford at third and scored one batter later when Kat Dotson singled through the right side, allowing the Lady Vols to take a 1-0 lead. Holding a 2-0 lead after a pair of fielder's choices, Melissa Brown singled through the left side, allowing Madison Shipman to score and put the Lady Vols up 3-0. Hannah Akamine made it a 4-0 game on when she drove in a run with a single through the right side. Montemayor got the final batter to ground out to second to end the inning.

Shipman helped the Lady Vols extend their lead to 7-0 in the top of the second with a one out, three-run home run off the scoreboard in left field. Wilkinson came on in relief on Montemayor following the home run, and struck out the first batter she faced. She worked around a single, an error and walk to get the pinch hitter Rainey Gaffin to strike out swinging to end the inning with the bases loaded.

Tina Iosefa recorded Georgia's first hit of the day with a leadoff single through the right side in the bottom of the second. Kaylee Puailoa followed by working a 10-pitch at bat for a base hit through the left side before Tess Sito dropped a single between the left fielder and shortstop in shallow left. With the bases loaded, Christine Olney hit into a fielder's choice that allowed pinch runner Tiesha Reed to cross the plate for Georgia first run of the game that made it a 7-1 game. The final batters were retired in order to end the inning.

Tennessee looked to threaten again in the top of the third when Chavanne led off with a single and moved around to third. After a Wilkinson strikeout, Sito moved to her right to grab a ball hit hard up the middle and throw to Geri Ann Glasco at first for the second out. Sito recorded the final out of the inning with a diving catch at second to end the inning and any threat for another Lady Vol run.

Swafford got a run back in the bottom of the third when she took the payoff pitch over the center field wall and cut the lead to 7-2. The home run was eighth of the year and her sixth leadoff homer of the season. Georgia loaded the bases with two outs on a fielder's choice, a single and a walk, but left the runners stranded as the runner on second was picked off to end the inning.

After holding the Lady Vols scoreless in the top of the fourth, Puailoa hammered the third pitch she saw in the bottom of the frame over the center field wall that made it a 7-3 game.

Tennessee tacked on one run in the top of the fifth and two in the top of the sixth to extend its lead to 10-3. Each of the runs scored came off of home runs, as Lauren Gibson recorded a two out, solo home run in the fifth before Akamine hit a two-out, two-run home run to right center in the sixth.

Georgia didn't go away quietly, putting a pair of runners on in the bottom of the sixth and one on in the seventh, but was unable to capitalize before falling 10-3.

Georgia and Tennessee are set to face off in the second game of the three-game series tomorrow, April 6, at 4 p.m.

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