Anita Manuma drives in 4 RBI

Sparked by a four RBI, 2-for-3 effort by sophomore center fielder Anita Manuma and a one-hit shutout by senior Megan Rhodes, the No. 5 Tennessee softball team (11-1) picked up an 8-0 win in 5 innings over Virginia (1-6) on Friday evening in the Tennessee Classic held at the Sherri Parker Lee Softball Stadium.

Rhodes paved the road to victory for the Big Orange, allowing just one hit over five shutout innings, with six strikeouts in the contest.

Offensively, UT was led by a stellar performance from Manuma who doubled her RBI total for the season, knocking in four runs in the game. The Ewa Beach, Hawai'i, native had a pair of hits, including a three-run blast to record her second home run of the year.

Fellow classmate and right fielder Erinn Webb, meanwhile, had a productive night of her own, driving in three runs and finishing 2-for-2 with a single, a double and a walk.

"I thought Megan Rhodes pitched really well tonight," co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. "Virginia, a good hitting team, had scored six runs in their previous game today. Megan came out and quieted their bats. Tiffany Huff hit extremely well, and it was nice to see Anita Manuma get extended on her home run. Erinn Webb continues to be torrid at the plate."

Both pitchers cruised through the first as Rhodes and Virginia starter Karla Wilburn matched each other by registering one-two-three innings. In the top of the second, UVA third baseman Abby Snyder went down on strikes to become Rhodes third strikeout victim through two frames.

Shannon Doepking keyed a scoring threat for the Big Orange to begin the bottom of the second by reaching via a lead-off walk. Huff dropped a ground ball toward first that Cavalier first baseman Lauren McCaskey corralled. Unfortunately for UVA, her throw was wide of the bag allowing both runners to reach safely.

Webb laced a shot off the glove of a diving Kierstie Cameron at second to plate two runs for a 2-0 lead. Following a walk to freshman designated player Jen Lapicki to again place two aboard, Manuma cleared them with a towering three-run shot to deep center field to improve the count to 5-0.

A leadoff free pass issued to Virginia's McCaskey in the top of the third didn't amount to anything as the runner was eventually gunned down attempting to steal second on a strong throw by Doepking to conclude the frame.

Huff christened a two-out threat in the bottom half of the third with a single up the middle that went right through the legs of Wilburn in the circle. Webb followed with her second hit of the match-up by banging a double off the wall in right center as Huff cruised into third. Lapicki stepped into the box and ripped a promising shot that shortstop Carly Winger managed to corral on a terrific play while moving toward second base. She threw across the diamond to first to close out the threat.

With a no-hitter still intact through 3.2 frames, Rhodes finally permitted a base knock in the fourth as left fielder Lindsay Preuss drove a double down the left field line into the corner. Designated player Kelly Haller hit a towering drive to left, but Hammond camped under the ball and made the catch to leave the occupant stranded in scoring position.

Virginia advanced a runner to second base in the top of the fifth via a lead-off walk to third baseman Abby Snyder and a wild pitch. Rhodes responded by striking out Cavalier right fielder Sarah Tacke and pitcher Whitney Holstun and inducing a popup to third by McCaskey to maintain Tennessee's six-run advantage.

Consecutive singles from Doepking and Huff in the bottom of the fifth set the stage for the run-rule to come into play. Webb walked to load the bases and was followed by RBI-singles from Lapicki and Manuma to end the contest.

No. 5 UT will continue the Tennessee Classic on Saturday at Lee Softball Stadium with matchups against Wagner (2:30 p.m.) and Louisiana-Monroe (5 p.m.). Action will begin at 10 a.m. with BYU taking on Virginia.

Live stats will be available through utladyvols.com for all contests and, as always, periodic updates will be recorded on the Lady Vol Hotline (865-974-8700, box #6).


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