Five Lady Vols homer as No. 4 Tennessee downs Mississippi State
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Five different Lady Vols homered on Saturday as No. 4 Tennessee powered its way past Mississippi State 11-5 to even the season series.
With five home runs, UT (36-7, 12-5 SEC) matched its single-game school record for the second time in a week. The record of five homers in a single game was set on April 25, 1999, against Southern Miss and previously tied on April 12 at then-No. 21 Texas A&M.
Tennessee scored four in the first, six in the second and one in the fourth. Mississippi State (34-15, 6-11 SEC) plated one in the first, three in the second and one in the sixth.
Madison Shipman, Annie Aldrete, Melissa Davin, Haley Tobler and Cheyanne Tarango combined for five home runs in the win. Shipman hit a three-run blast, scored twice and drew two walks. Aldrete had a three-run shot to push her season RBI total to a team-high 45. Davin was 2-for-3 with a solo homer. Tobler's blast was a two-run shot. Tarango's homer was a solo blast and her fifth on the season.
Alley Perkins started at third base for the first time in her Tennessee career and went 2-for-3 with one run. Megan Geer hit 2-for-4 with two runs.
All four Tennessee pitchers saw action in the circle with Tarango (3-1) earning the win after striking out four and allowing two runs over 4.2 relief innings. Erin Gabriel started the game and threw one frame with three runs allowed. Rainey Gaffin threw a few pitches in the sixth without recording an out and issued a walk. Ellen Renfroe fanned three batters in 1.1 scoreless relief frames to close out the game.
MSU ace Alison Owen (16-9) took the loss after issuing 10 runs over 1.2 innings. Shana Sherrod gave up one earned run over 2.0 relief innings. Jacey Punched threw 2.1 shutout innings after Sherrod.
Mississippi State took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Heidi Shape hit an RBI double to left field, plating Jessica Offutt from first base.
The Lady Vols responded in a big way in the bottom of the fourth. Shaliyah Geathers drew a leadoff walk and Geer reached on a bunt single. With two runners aboard, Shipman clobbered a 1-1 pitch from Owen over the wall in left field for her 15th home run of the year, giving UT a 3-1 lead. Two batters later, Davin launched a 1-1 pitch to straightaway center for her 11th home run of the season, extending Tennessee's lead to 4-1.
The Bulldogs answered with four runs in the top of the second to knot the game at 4-4. Tarango entered the circle for Gabriel with two on and no outs. With the bases loaded, Tarango struck out two batters, but Offutt came up with a three-RBI double to right center in the next at bat to even the score.
Tennessee exploded to six more runs in the bottom of the second to take a 10-4 lead and control of the game. Tarango opened the inning with a solo homer to left field. Perkins singles through the left side and Shipman drew a two-out walk three batters later. Aldrete crushed a 3-2 pitch from Owen over the wall in left field for a three-run homer - her 11th blast on the year. Davin followed with a bloop single to left center and Tobler drove her in with a 2-run bomb to center off a 1-1 pitch.
The Lady Vols added one more run in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs and the bases loaded, Hannah Akamine drew a walk, scoring Geer from third base.
Mississippi State scored one run in the top of the sixth when Offutt hit a two-out, RBI single to right field.