The Tennessee Lady Vols unblemished record took a double hit as they played in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.
The fourth-ranked Lady Vols dropped a tough 3-2 decision to Northwestern in the California tournament, then were beaten by 13th ranked UCLA, 2-0.
No. 4/4 Tennessee suffered its first two losses of the season on Friday, falling to Northwestern, 3-2, and coming up short against No. 16/13 UCLA, 2-0, in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.
The Lady Vols (12-2) were the road team for both contests and fell behind 2-0 in the first inning in both games. Tennessee saw strong relief pitching efforts by Cheyanne Tarango and Ivy Renfroe that kept the team in the games to the very end, but the UT offense could not get things going late in the game.
GAME 2: No. 16/13 UCLA 2, No. 4/4 Tennessee 0
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - No. 4/4 Tennessee could not overcome the two runs it gave up in the first inning as No. 16/13 UCLA defeated the Lady Vols, 2-0, Friday afternoon in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Invitational
Tennessee (12-2), which played both of its Friday games at Big League Dreams' Wrigley Field gave up a pair of runs in the first and never got its bats going despite strong pitching from the second inning on. UCLA (9-1), a very potent offensive team as well, was held to just two hits in the game as Ivy Renfroe tossed four innings of no-hit ball in relief.
Lauren Gibson's single in the second inning that bulleted through the left side and Kat Dotson's leadoff bloop single to shallow center in the fourth were UT's only two hits of the game.
Ellen Renfroe (5-1) took her first loss of the season after giving up two runs (one earned) and striking out two over the first two frames. Ivy Renfroe fanned four batters and held the Bruins without a hit over the final four frames.
Ally Carda (6-0) earned the win for the Bruins after striking out six and limiting Tennessee to two hits in the first five innings. Paige McDuffee struck out three over two hitless innings in relief.
UCLA took the 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Stephany LaRosa hit a double down the left field line off Ellen Renfroe to plate Gracie Goulder from first base. LaRosa scored in the next at-bat when B.B. Bates reached on a fielding error at first base.
The Lady Vols left three runners on base while UCLA left six stranded.
Gibson was left on base after leading off the second with a single. Carda used a strikeout and flyout to center and a pop up to second to close out the frame.
In the fourth, Dotson had the leadoff hit and two-batters later Gibson reached on a fielder's choice with Dotson out at second. Carda fanned the next batter to leave Gibson on first.
In the top of the sixth, Raven Chavanne drew a nine-pitch walk with one out, but McDuffee sent the next batter down swinging and induced a groundout to second to close the inning.
Tennessee will look to bounce back from its two Friday losses when the Lady Vols take on UC Santa Barbara on Saturday at 8 p.m. PT (11 p.m. ET). The game will feature a free live audio broadcast and a free live blog on UTSports.com
The Lady Vols open their 2013 home schedule at Lee Stadium against Lipscomb on Feb. 26. The home opener will feature free reserved bleacher backs for kids 12 and under based on availability. Single-game tickets can be purchased through UTTix.com or through the ticket office at 865-656-1200.
GAME 1: Northwestern 3, No. 4/4 Tennessee 2
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - Lauren Gibson hit a solo home run and Meilssa Brown hit an RBI triple to lead a fourth-inning rally, but a sixth-inning score by Northwestern handed No. 4/4 Tennessee its first loss of the season, 3-2, on Friday at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.
The Lady Vols (12-1) overcame an early two-run deficit midway through the game when seniors Gibson and Brown came up with some big hits to ignite the UT offense. Northwestern (5-6) climbed out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on Marisa Bast's two-run home run to left.
Gibson was 1-for-2 with one walk and the solo blast. Brown finished 1-for-2 with the RBI triple and a walk. Raven Chavanne tallied two hits in the game.
Cheyanne Tarango (2-1) took the loss, despite pitching an outstanding 4.1 frames in relief of starter Erin Gabriel. Tarango kept the Wildcats at bay in time for UT to even the game at 2-2 in the fourth. She finished with seven strikeouts and one unearned run allowed. Gabriel pitched one inning with one strikeout and two earned runs allowed. Ivy Renfroe tossed a scoreless two-thirds of an inning at the end.
Northwestern's Amy Letourneau (3-3) contained Tennessee's potent lineup, striking out six with two earned runs, four hits and three walks given up.
In the bottom of the first with one out and a runner on first, Bast took a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left field to give Northwestern early momentum with a 2-0 advantage.
Letourneau sent UT batters down 1-2-3 in both the second and the third innings before the Lady Vols got their offense clicking in the fourth.
With one out in the top of the fourth, Gibson took a big swing at a 2-1 pitch and sent it sailing over the fence in center field for a solo home run, getting Tennessee on the scoreboard. Three batters later and with two outs, Brown drilled the first pitch she saw to deep right field, scoring pinch runner Hannah Trainer before racing around the bases for a sliding triple.
Northwestern took the lead one last time in the bottom of the sixth when with one out Andrea DiPrima singled to center field and Fran Strub scored an unearned run from second base on a fielding error in the outfield.