From Auburn Media Relations:
Auburn, Ala. - Pitching dominated the day as the fifth-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols beat the Auburn softball team 2-1 in the Southeastern Conference Tournament Thursday afternoon.
The loss eliminated Auburn from the tournament and dropped the Tigers' record to 33-21 overall. Tennessee improved to 46-9 and advances to the semifinal round of the tournament.
"I'm really proud of the way we played today," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "Obviously, we would have liked to get the win but we came out and played really well. We were aggressive, played we up the middle defensively and made Tennessee work. Jenee (Loree) did a very good job against their hitters."
Jenee Loree started and took the loss to fall to 11-9. Loree allowed two runs, both earned, on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts in five innings of work. Angel Bunner allowed only one hit in one inning of relief work.
Ellen Renfroe improved to 27-3 with the complete-game victory. Renfroe allowed one run, earned, on three hits with one walk and four strikeouts.
The Tigers missed early scoring opportunities, stranding three runners over the first two innings. Brooke Lathan singled with two outs in the first inning, but was unable to advance as Renfroe ended a 10-pitch at-bat against Elizabeth Eisterhold with a ground out to end the inning.
In the second inning, Hilary Mavromat reached on a two-out error and took second with Caitlin Schultze drew a walk. With two on, Renfroe ended the scoring threat when Baylee Stephens popped up to third.
The Lady Vols took a 1-0 lead on a two-out, RBI infield single in the bottom of the third inning. Tory Lewis led off with a single and took second on a sac bunt. A wild pitch moved Lewis to third with one out. After a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Madison Shipman was pitched around for a four-pitch walk. Shipman quickly stole second to put runners at third and second.
Lauren Gibson then hit a ground ball that Caitlin Schultze fielded on the run but was unable to get the out as Gibson beat the throw. Lewis scored on the play, giving UT a 1-0 lead.
After allowing two base runners in the second inning, Renfroe found a groove and retired nine consecutive Tigers. Lauren Guzman, however, broke the string with a leadoff single through the left side to open the top of the sixth.
A sac bunt from Amber Harrison moved Guzman to second. Lathan followed with a ground out to shortstop that moved Guzman to third with two outs. With the tying run 60 feet away, Renfroe ended the scoring threat when she forced Eisterhold to foul out down the left field line.
The Lady Vols added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Holly Baker crushed a 2-2 pitch off the scoreboard in left-center for a solo home run. It was Baker's first home run of the season and just her 10th hit of the year in 28 at-bats. The homer made it a 2-0 game and chased Loree from the game.
In the top of the seventh, Renfroe forced Caitlin Jordan to pop up to shortstop for the first out of the inning and Branndi Melero to fly out to center for the second out. Mavromat then crushed a 1-1 pitch over the fence in left-center for a solo home run, making it a 2-1 game. Renfroe rebounded, however, and ended the game when Schultze grounded out to third.