published Friday, May 31st, 2013

Lady Vols pounce on Gators, 9-2

Tennessee celebrates their win over Florida following the second game of the Women's College World Series softball tournament on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/The Oklahoman, Sarah Phipps)
Tennessee celebrates their win over Florida following the second game of the Women's College World Series softball tournament on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/The Oklahoman, Sarah Phipps)
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Melissa Brown had a two-run double in Tennessee's three-run first inning, and Ellen Renfroe limited Florida to four hits and struck out nine as the Lady Vols won 9-2 Thursday in the second game of the Women's College World Series.

Tennessee (50-10) will face Washington tonight at 7 EDT.

"I think it feels great to get that first win under our belt," Renfroe said. "We're just excited to move on and focus on the next game and enjoy this while we can, but we have business to take care of later."

Washington opened the tournament with a 4-3 victory over Nebraska.

Second-seeded Florida (57-8) will play Nebraska in an elimination game Saturday.

Tory Lewis from Chattanooga went 1-for-2 with a double and a sacrifice bunt and scored two runs for Tennessee, while fellow Girls Preparatory School graduate Whitney Hammond scored once as a runner for catcher Hannah Akamine, who was 2-for-4.

In the first inning, Tennessee's Kat Dotson and Lauren Gibson drew walks off Hannah Rogers, and Madison Shipman singled to left field to load the bases. Rogers walked Cheyanne Tarango to force in a run, then threw two more balls to Brown before Florida coach Tim Walton ended her day after 13 pitches. Brown drove a 3-2 pitch from Lauren Haeger to center to make it 3-0.

Florida cut it to 3-2 in the fifth on Kelsey Stewart's NCAA-leading 10th triple and Stephanie Tofft's RBI single.

Dodson and Gibson doubled in Tennessee's four-run sixth, and the Vols added two runs in the seventh.

"We didn't play very well, with uncharacteristic mistakes," said Walton, whose team had two errors. "Offensively, we had a chance and came back in the fifth and we battled. I really give our kids credit for the fight. We just didn't have enough."

After watching Florida edge out his team for the SEC championship on the last day of the regular season, Tennessee co-coach Ralph Weekly cautioned his players.

"I called them together and told them they weren't going to back into a championship," Weekly said. "They had to explode and explode right then or they would take it from us."

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