The No. 9 Tennessee softball team (36-10) had a slow start to the day, not scoring in either of the first two innings. It wasn’t until Cailin Hannon hit triple in the third inning to open the scoring up.
The Lady Vols defeated Tennessee State (10-27) in both games of Wednesday’s doubleheader. The Tennessee State softball team did not record a run off starting pitching. Both games ended in run-rule efforts.
“There is a lot of pressure playing (out of conference) in-state teams…if you drop an SEC game it does not hurt you as much,” co-head coach Ralph Weekly said.
Matty Moss was the star of the first game, pitching in relief after Caylan Arnold started. Moss pitched five innings, gave up three hits, walked only one batter and struck out 10. It was Moss’s first action since giving up a game-ending grand slam last weekend.
“You have to just leave the past behind and be mentally strong to not let anything break you... (we) use the same approach every day,” Moss said.
Kaili Phillips and Aubrey Leach carried the offense in game one. Each had two RBIs while Phillips went 3-for-3 at the plate, hit her tenth home run of the season and scored three runs.
In game two, the pitching kept rolling for the Lady Vols. Ashley Rogers started and got the win with five innings pitched, one hit, one walk and 10 strikeouts of her own.
“We have had a lot of talented freshman but (Ashley) is right there with them, she can do a lot,” Ralph Weekly said.
The Lady Vols started off better offensively in the second game, scoring two runs in the first. Chelsea Seggern hit her third home run of the season while driving in leadoff hitter Leach.
Tennessee would add one run in the second before an offensive explosion in the bottom of the third.
After loading the bases, Amanda Ayala came up to the plate. She hit a two-RBI single. After one more run, Jenna Holcomb came up to bat and she also had a two-RBI single. Then she stole a base and led the team with three stolen bases on Wednesday.
“(I) try to turn the lineup over any way I can to get Aubrey next,” Holcomb said.
The scoring would conclude after Leach hit an inside-the-park home run. By the end of the inning, the Lady Vols held a 10-0 lead.
The Lady Vols tacked on five more runs in the next inning and scored three with two outs. The final score of the second game was 15-2 after the senior Leach got her first action in the circle.
Tennessee outscored Tennessee State, 23-2, combined and had 24 hits to Tennessee State’s five. Both teams committed three errors on Wednesday.
The Lady Vols will hit the road to travel to Ole Miss this weekend for a three-game series. Tennessee is currently fourth in the SEC while Ole Miss is third.