The No. 5/7 Tennessee softball team wrapped up its series against No. 13/14 Auburn with an 8-1 win Sunday night after two consecutive losses against the Tigers.
The first game of Sunday’s doubleheader at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium started off slow for the Lady Vols. After a scoreless first inning, Tennessee’s defense couldn’t hold back the Tigers as Auburn score on solo home runs in the second and third, pushing the score to 2-0.
Caylan Arnold pitched 3.0 innings, allowing two runs on two hits. Matty Moss relieved Arnold in the fourth, where she allowed one run on two hits in 4.0 innings.
The Lady Vols remained unable to stop Auburn, as the Tigers extended their lead to 3-0 in the sixth after a free pass, two wild pitches and a single to left field.
Kaitlin Parsons gave Tennessee hope in the sixth inning after doubling and moving to third on a 4-3 groundout. However, the Tigers soon responded and two more infield outs ended the frame.
The Lady Vols gave it one last shot in the seventh after an attempted two-out rally. Kaili Phillips doubled down the left-field line on her second hit of the day, but it wasn’t enough for Tennessee, as a strikeout in the next at-bat ended the game.
Despite putting runners on in all but two innings, Tennessee couldn’t bring anything home, with the Tigers claiming their second win of the series, 3-0.
“I don’t know what happened the first two games,” stated co-head coach Ralph Weekly. “They’re really good but we didn’t play up to our potential and in this league, you can’t have an off-night, you have to be ready to go.”
The second game started off a little different for the Lady Vols. Combined efforts from Parsons, Aubrey Leach, Chelsea Seggern, and Phillips pushed Tennessee to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
Seggern loaded the bases after Parsons’ and Leach’s singles before Phillips’ groundout to second base brought Parsons home.
Tennessee continued to push in the first inning, as a walk from Ashley Morgan loaded the bases for a second time and a single towards left-center from Amanda Ayala brought Leach home, advancing the score to 2-0.
The Tigers didn’t fold, as a home run in the top of the second brought the score to 2-1. After two outs and a diving catch from Jenna Holcomb, the two teams headed to the third.
In the bottom of the fifth, Parsons singled, stole second and advanced to third. Seggern came in behind her with a single, placing Parsons in scoring position. Phillips soon brought both runners home with a hit to center field, pushing the lead to three runs.
Before the end of the frame, Tennessee made it 5-1 after a wild pitch pushed runners to second and third before Ayala’s single brought Phillips home.
A strong Tennessee defense with Ashley Rogers on the mound kept the Tigers at bay in the sixth before Seggern stepped up to bat. She singled to right and was joined by Phillips, who was hit by pitch.
The runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch and then a home run from Morgan emptied the bases, bringing the score to 8-1, where it remained till the end of the game.
“You know what we tell them all the time,” Weekly said. “Just keep on keeping on. In these long days, you’ve just got to bring it every inning. It’s tough, it’s a long day.”