KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (School release) --Annie Aldrete crushed two homers and knocked in six RBIs to help lead the No. 2 Lady Vols to a 9-2 series opening win against No. 4 Florida on Friday night at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.
Tennessee (29-3, 6-1 SEC) extended its win streak to six following the win against the Gators (31-5, 5-5). UT scored three in the third, one I the fourth, two in the fifth and three in the sixth. Florida scored one in the third and one in the fifth.
Aldrete led the Lady Vols offensively, going 3-for-4 with two three-run homers for a career-high six RBIs. Aldrete's six RBIs are the most by any UT player since Lauren Gibson drove in nine in a 15-5, six-inning win at Ole Miss on April 20, 2013. Megan Geer ripped an RBI double and went 2-for-3 with a run and a walk. Cheyanne Tarango went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer. Melissa Davin finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Ellen Renfroe (19-0) fanned seven and allowed six hits and one earned run over seven innings.
Florida's Hannah Rogers (14-4) got the loss after allowing four hits and three runs over three innings. Lauren Haeger allowed one run over one relief frame. Alyssa Bache gave up five runs over two relief innings.
Florida had an opportunity to put runs on the board in the top of the second. The Gators had bases loaded after Chelsea Herndon singled, Taylore Fuller walked and Justine McLean reached on an error. However, Davin made a diving grab in left field to rob Kelsey Stewart of a hit and end the inning.
Florida took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third. With runners on the corners, Merritt crossed the plate following on a dropped fly ball to left center.
Tennessee answered in the bottom of the third. After back-to-back singles by Geer and Davin, Aldrete slammed a three-run homer to right field on the first pitch she saw , giving Tennessee a 3-1 lead.
Gaffin led off the bottom of the fourth with a triple to deep center. Geer followed with a double to deep center field to plate Gaffin to push UT's lead to 4-1.
The Gators took little time to respond. In the top of the fifth, Merritt blasted a leadoff home run to left center to cut the UT lead to 4-2.
The Lady Vols posted two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Following an Aldrete single, Tarango knocked a two-run homer over the left field wall to extend the lead to 6-2. The home run marks Tarango's second of the year.
Tennessee posted three more runs in the bottom of the sixth. With Davin and Madison Shipman on the bases, Aldrete blasted her second three-run homer of the game over the scoreboard, making the score 9-2.
Game 2 of the weekend series between No. 2 Tennessee and No. 4 Florida is Saturday at 1 p.m. ET. CSS will televise the game, which will also be carried online via ESPN3. Justin Cazana is the play-by-play announcer and Barbara Jordan will provide analysis. Fans can also listen live to Brian Rice's call on WNML 990 AM and UTSports.com. The live stats and the live blog will be available on UTSports.com.