Kat Dotson sets record with nine RBIs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The No. 11 softball squad (21-4) utilized a school record nine RBIs from sophomore right fielder Kat Dotson and a season-high 16 total hits in picking up its 69th consecutive win over an in-state squad by powering past Tennessee State, 16-2, in six innings on a cool and windy Tuesday evening at Tiger Field.

Dotson, a Savannah, Ga., native went 3-for-4 at the plate with a three-run homer and her first career grand slam. The occurrence marked the first two-homer game of her brief career at Rocky Top, and the nine RBIs broke former Lady Vol Carrie Swinford's 15-year-old record of eight RBIs set on April 2, 1996, versus Wingate during the year prior to the Southeastern Conference beginning sponsorship of the sport.

Dotson now leads Tennessee with a .507 batting average, nine HRs and an 49 RBIs over just 25 contests.

"We definitely had a slow start tonight, probably as a result of playing a 10-inning game on Sunday at Kentucky," Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said. "Once we got rolling, though, against Tennessee State everyone contributed. We are extremely proud of Kat Dotson, who set a program record for single-game RBIs.

"We have some very tough games coming up over the next 10 days against Iowa and Alabama, so it was good getting back in the win column tonight."

Sophomore shortstop Melissa Brown tallied a career-high three hits during her three at-bats to go along with a pair of runs and two RBIs.

Junior Jessica Spigner blasted her third homer of the campaign, a two-run shot, during her only at-bat, and senior center fielder Kelly Grieve was 1-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI.

Sophomore third baseman Raven Chavanne delivered a 2-for-3 effort with three tallies, one of Tennessee's five total steals and an RBI. Sophomore Whitney Hammond started the contest in left field and made the most of her opportunity by going 2-for-4 at the dish with a pair of tallies.

Freshman pinch hitters Ashley Holmes and Tory Lewis each contributed a base hit during UT's eight-run sixth frame.

In the circle UT freshman Ellen Renfroe garnered her 12th win of 2011 by allowing one run on three hits with an impressive nine strikeouts in just 3.1 frames of relief. Junior Cat Hosfield started and eventually finished off the win by permitting one tally on four hits with a walk and three Ks during 2.2 innings of effort.

After a quick top of the first for the Lady Vol offense, Tennessee State got a threat started immediately in the bottom half. Back-to-back one out singles from TSU pitcher Caitlin Eaton and first baseman Brittany Webb put a pair on base.

Hosfield settled down immediately by striking out center fielder Jill Gardner and left fielder Jasmine Dunston consecutively to leave the Tiger duo stranded. Dunston, coincidentally, is the daughter of former major league player Shawon Dunston.

Tennessee junior first baseman Shelby Burchell christened the top of the second by battling new Tiger pitcher Kelly Troglin for a lead-off walk. Junior Holly Baker was summoned in to pinch run and quickly swiped second to reach scoring position.

Following a groundout, freshman designated player Melissa Davin (1-for-2, run) lined a diving shot that was caught near the turf by Shanika Johnson. Baker was caught straying too far off second base as a result and was doubled off to end the frame.

The Tigers recorded the game's initial score during the bottom of the second to take a 1-0 lead. A leadoff walk issued to designated player Kelly Troglin came back to hurt the Big Orange. After a pair of groundouts advanced the runner all the way to third, second baseman Tedra Alford plated her via a two-out RBI single through the left side of the infield.

Tennessee got on the board during the top of the third with all of its three-run outburst getting started via a walk issued to catcher Ashley Andrews. Brown followed with a base knock and swiped second to join Andrews in scoring position. From there Chavanne knocked in a tally on an infield hit and then Dotson singled in the first two of her nine total RBIs to grant the Big Orange a 3-1 advantage.

TSU's Webb opened the bottom of the third with a double off Renfroe as the Tigers attempted to answer right back. UT's 6-0 hurler struck out a pair to get within an out of escaping the inning, but had Troglin lace a 3-2 offering to the wall in left center for a two-bagger as Webb crossed to get TSU within 3-2.

The Lady Vol offense finally took control of the contest during the top of the fifth as the Orange & White plated five tallies to nab an 8-2 lead. Brown got the assault started with a lead-off single and things just snowballed from there.

Grieve managed a bases-loaded walk for an RBI, Hammond scored on a passed ball and then Dotson crushed a three-run bomb to wrap up the fifth frame's scoring.

With Renfroe firmly in control, striking out the Tiger side in the bottom of the fifth, Tennessee sent 12 batters to the dish in plating eight tallies during the top of the sixth. Lewis started the inning with an infield single and was soon cashed in on Spigner's towering drive to make it 10-2.

Singles by Hammond, Holmes and Grieve set the stage for Dotson's first career grand slam as the advantage quickly exploded to 14-2. A two-RBI base knock from Brown finalized the Lady Vol scoring at 16 runs.

From there Hosfield reentered the contest and coerced two quick groundouts. The 5-9 right hander hit Shanika Johnson with a pitch but finished off the win in style by striking out pinch hitter Ashley Heinaman looking.

The Tennessee Lady Vol softball team now returns home to host Iowa in single contests on both Thursday and Friday, March 17-18, at 6 p.m. ET at the Lee Softball Stadium.

Friday's matchup is also slated for live broadcast via "The Sports Animal" (AM 990).

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