The No. 6 Lady Vols made two early statement wins in the first day of action at the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational.
The Tennessee Lady Vols (7-0) softball team picked up their first of two wins on the day in a matchup against No. 24-ranked Notre Dame.
The last game between these two teams was played in 2015. That game resulted in Tennessee claiming an 8-4 victory. The Lady Vols would again tally eight runs in Friday’s victory with a final 8-0 margin.
Aubrey Leach, Madison Pacini, and Chelsea Seggern led the way for Tennessee’s offensive attack in the game. Leach finished the day 3-for-3 at the bat with three runs scored and two RBIs. Her day included a two-run homer in the second frame. She also stole a base.
Seggern tagged two balls on the day, bringing home three runners. Pacini, a freshman from San Diego, Calif., put the cherry on top in the fifth frame with a three-run long ball over the center-field wall.
Senior pitcher Matty Moss (2-0) picked up the win on the mound for Tennessee. In three innings of action, she struck out five batters. She also picked up her first-career hit in her first-career at-bat.
In the second game of the day for Tennessee, it was a tighter battle. They managed to squeak out a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Despite not being ranked in the top-25, the Gophers are the three-time Big Ten Tournament champions. Their pitching staff also boasted one of the lowest ERAs in the country last season.
It was the young players that came up big for the Lady Vols in this one.
Sophomore Amanda Ayala and freshman Ally Shipman were responsible for bringing home Tennessee’s four runs in this one. Minnesota went up early with a run in the opening frame.
Later in the third inning, Ayala knocked a three-run homer to center-field. Her long ball brought home Leach and Jenna Holcomb. At this juncture, Tennessee held a 3-1 lead.
Minnesota’s Allie Arneson scored another run in the fifth inning on a single.
To insure Tennessee’s win, Shipman’s single up the middle brought home Chelsea Seggern, who had reached second after a sacrifice bunt from Ashley Morgan.
Junior pitcher Caylan Arnold (3-0) picked up the start and the win for Tennessee on the mound. She fanned nine batters in six innings of action.
Moss came in for closing duties. She retired three straight batters to close out the win.
The Lady Vols will face another doubleheader on Saturday while in the midst of an 11-game road trip, only the beginning of one of the toughest schedules in the nation. Tennessee will play No. 23/25 James Madison at 4 p.m. eastern time. Their second game of the day will be against Utah at 7 pm eastern time.