The No. 7 UT Lady Vols softball team may have left their offense in Cathedral City, Calif., until they found it in the fifth inning of their home opener Tuesday night.
That’s when junior outfielder Melissa Davin reached on an error by Lipscomb second baseman Kelsey Cartwright.
A throwing error by right fielder Brittany Elmore later on a Hannah Akamine dribbler past Cartwright allowed Davin to score.
That’s all the Lady Vols (14-2) needed to beat the Lipscomb Bison (7-7), 6-0, at Lee Softball Stadium.
Lady Vols co-head coach Ralph Weekley noted the cold weather for a reason why his team’s offense took some time to warm up.
“It’s always nice to get a win,” Weekley said. “The conditions were cold. I know the players say ‘well we have been cold all year,’ and we have but, quite frankly, those bats and those balls are not designed to work well in this kind of weather.”
For a team that is averaging just fewer than eight runs per game, the Lady Vols were not clicking as well offensively through the first four innings.
After loading the bases with one out in the bottom of the first inning, senior Lauren Gibson lined out to the third baseman and Melissa Brown struck out, stranding all three runners.
UT did not have another scoring chance until Davin scored in the fifth.
“I just wanted to get it done for my team,” Davin said about her scoring effort. “And I wanted to capitalize on their mistakes.”
Davin finished the game 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
After that, the UT bats came alive. The Lady Vols tallied four runs in the sixth inning on four hits.
In total, the Lady Vols racked eight hits off Bison’s pitcher Heather Parker in five plus innings of work. Parker allowed four earned runs, struck out one and walked three.
Parker’s defense committed four errors behind her.
While the UT offense took a bit longer to show up, the Lady Vols defense was stellar.
According to the elder sister, Ivy, the team’s pitching staff’s approach this season is to attack the strike zone and attack the batter.
“Going after batters and attacking the strike zone and getting ahead quick,” Ivy Renfroe said about the team’s pitching staff approach. “I feel like there were a couple of at bats where I feel like where I fell behind.”
Behind the Renfroes, the Lady Vols did not commit an error and turned one double play.
The Lady Vols return to action Thursday afternoon as they travel to Charleston, S.C., and face the College of Charleston.