The No. 7 Lady Vols (17-2) took down the No. 4 Florida Gators in their first matchup of the weekend, finishing the game in five innings with four home runs, opening SEC play 1-0.
The Gators struck first after loading the bases in the first and scoring on a walk with a hit and two free passes. Despite putting up the first point, Florida wasn’t able to score again throughout the next four innings.
While the Lady Vols weren’t able to score their runners in the second or third, Tennessee came through in the fourth inning with a three-home run frame.
Matty Moss entered at the mound and remained there for 4.2 innings, allowing just two hits. She struck out two of 19 batters that she faced. Moss didn’t allow any runner to reach second base after the first inning.
Kaili Phillips (2 for 3, 3 RBI) started things off for the Lady Vols in the first with a shot to left-center that brought the score to 1-1. After a single to right by Haley Bearden and a two-run hit to center by Ally Shipman (2 for 2, 2 RBI), the Gators began to trail Tennessee.
Phillips is the first Lady Vol since 2014 to hit home-runs in four straight games. The last Tennessee player to have accomplished this was Madison Shipman. Of her last 14 at-bats, Phillips has hit eight of them, six resulting in home-runs.
In the next at-bat Gracie Osbron had a one-bagger up the middle before Cailin Hannon (2 for 3, 4 RBI) smashed a two-run ball to right center, scoring them both and bringing the score to 5-0.
The Lady Vols didn’t let up in the fifth after scratching four runs off of four hits, bringing the run rule into play. Amanda Ayala started Tennessee off before Philips came in with her second home-run of the night. Hannon followed her with her second huge hit of the night, with two runners scoring on a drilled ball to right to bring in the 9-1 final score.
This is the first time the Lady Vols have ever run-ruled the Gators in Gainesville, and it’s the first time since 2006 that Tennessee has beaten Florida in less than seven innings.
The Lady Vols play in the second game of the series today at 1 p.m. and will be facing Florida for the second time. The game will be aired on SECN+/WatchESPN.