This Week in UT Sports History is a new weekly column written by new RTI contributor Lexie Little
Last week marked highs and lows for current University of Tennessee athletes. The No. 1 Tennessee basketball team (23-2, 11-1 SEC) had their 19-game win streak end against No. 5 Kentucky (21-4, 10-2 SEC) in an 86-69 loss at Rupp Arena. Tennessee Baseball opened the season 3-0 against the Appalachian State Mountaineers, becoming the first team in program history to post consecutive shutouts in a series sweep. Softball continued to slide to success despite losses to No. 2 Florida State and No. 23 James Madison at the Clearwater Invitational, and the Lady Vols basketball squad (17-8, 6-6 SEC) squeaked out a 62-60 win against Missouri (19-8, 8-5 SEC) in a game with 17 lead changes.
Now, take a look back at other events from this week in UT sports history:
Feb. 18, 2006
The then 12th-ranked Tennessee men’s swimming and diving squad finished fourth at the SEC Championships at the UT Student Aquatic facilities in Knoxville on Feb. 18, 2006. Vol Michael Wolfe finished third in the 200 butterfly with a time of 1:44.54, losing to 12-time Olympic medalist and former Florida Gator Ryan Lochte who set an SEC record at 1:42.39. The 2019 SEC Championships begin Tuesday at Georgia’s Gabrielsen Natatorium in Athens. Georgia previously hosted the championships in 1997, when the Vols and Lady Vols earned top-three finishes, producing eight SEC champions. Events commence at 10:30 a.m. with men’s 1-meter and women’s 3-meter diving preliminaries. Competition continues through Saturday, and all events can be streamed on SEC Network Plus. Friday and Saturday’s evening finals will also be live on the SEC Network starting at 6 p.m.
Feb. 19, 2011
A rare walk-off grand slam from then Tennessee junior first baseman Shelby Burchell powered the Lady Vols’ 2011 squad to a dominant run-rule win against Cal Poly, 11-2, in six innings at Stephanie Lynn Craig Park in Las Vegas, Nevada. The elder Renfroe sisters, freshman Ellen and sophomore Ivy, pitched in the match-up. Three Renfroes from Jackson, Tennessee, have donned the orange and white within the past decade, the most recent being Anna Renfroe who played two seasons with the Lady Vols as and infielder. In August 2018, Ellen Renfroe Reed was named head softball coach at Lakeway Christian Academy in White Pine, Tennessee, leaving an assistant coach position at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Eldest sister Ivy is a softball pitching instructor. However, it was Burchell who stole the show Feb. 19, 2011. Her grand slam marked the second she earned that season. She would finish the season batting .325 with 15 home runs and 54 RBI.
The 2019 Lady Vols (8-2) face-off against East Tennessee State (6-1-2) Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Johnson City, Tennessee.
Feb. 20, 1986
A Vol is born. Former Vol baseball player Julio Borbon came into the world swinging Feb. 20, 1986 in Starkville, Mississippi. Despite Mississippi State roots, Borbon helped Tennessee to reach the College World Series in 2005 with a .350 batting average, leading the Volunteers in 2006 and 2007 with 19 stolen bases and a .366 average. The Texas Rangers selected Borbon in the first round of the 2007 MLB Draft, and he made his major league debut in 2009. After a brief stint with the Chicago Cubs, Borbon and the Baltimore Orioles agreed to a minor league deal in 2016. He made his first MLB start in three years on Aug. 20, 2016 against the New York Yankees. Since, Borbon has played in the Mexican Baseball League and Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.
The 2019 Volunteers baseball team (3-0) faces Northern Kentucky (0-3) at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Tuesday in Knoxville. First pitch is set for 4:30 p.m. Fans can stream the matchup on SEC Network + or WATCHESPN.
Feb. 21, 2007
Chris Lofton scored 20 points to roll the No. 25 Crimson Tide in overtime, 69-66, at Thompson-Boling Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007. With 26 turnovers, Alabama ended a seven-game win streak over Tennessee as the Vols, then 19-9, maintained their perfect home win streak at 15-0. (The Vols would keep a perfect record at home that season, 16-0). With a season-high 18 steals, the Tennessee squad earned a scrappy win capped by a final dunk from Duke Crews. The 2006-07 team, coached by current Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl, reached the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament, losing to Ohio State 85-84 on a last-second blocked shot. Lofton, a Tennessee standout turned international pro, recently left the Le Mans Sarthe Basket organization in France to join the Seoul SK Knights in South Korea.
The 2018-19 Vols look to bounce back against Vanderbilt (9-16, 0-12 SEC) on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. in Thompson-Boling Arena. The game will be televised on ESPN.