The Tennessee softball team had four runs on the scoreboard before BYU recorded its first out of the game on Thursday. The Lady Vols scored two runs before they got their first hit.
Using the early momentum, the No. 5/6 Lady Vols (20-3) defeated BYU (10-12) by a score of 14-2 in the first game of the Tennessee Invitational. The Lady Vols will be taking on BYU and Texas throughout the weekend at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
The Lady Vols jumped out to the early lead and continued to build on it throughout the first inning. After Aubrey Leach and Amanda Ayala came around to score the first two runs, two more Lady Vols would reach base.
Hayley Bearden stepped to the plate with the two runners on the base path. She would hit the ball to the fence and run to third base for a bases-clearing triple.
“We came out and played good ball in the (first) inning… Our team can be tough when we get on a roll and we got on a roll tonight,” co-head coach Ralph Weekly said.
Leach and Ayala would reach base again in the inning, this time with a 7-0 lead after Leach drove in the final run of the inning. Leach would reach again on a single and Ayala would reach on an error. Both runners would be left on base in the inning.
“We feed off of each other (playing),” Leach said. “There is a lot of energy in a game.”
The Lady Vols recorded three hits in the seven-run inning. The team had two walks in the inning, with Leach and Ayala getting credited with one each to start the game. BYU committed five errors in the bottom of the first frame.
The Lady Vols took advantage of poor defense by BYU, as the Lady Cougars would commit six errors on the day, but that was not the reason for the lopsided result. Tennessee would hit for power all night on Thursday.
Bearden got the power bats rolling when she hit her triple; it was the first extra base-hit for the Lady Vols. Ashley Morgan continued the team’s hot streak when she hit a solo home run in the next frame.
Kaili Phillips hit her ninth home run of the season in the bottom of the third inning on Thursday. She scored three runs on one swing, knocking the ball to the scoreboard.
“I thought the lineup did what it needed to do,” Weekly said. “(We) got on base, moved (the runners) over, drove them in and I was pleased offensively.”
The Lady Vols added more points to their fielding percentage on Thursday. Playing a clean game defensively helped the Lady Vols keep their hold on second highest fielding percentage in the nation.
Tennessee’s pitching staff only allowed six base runners in the five innings played. Starting pitcher Ashley Rogers was credited for giving up the two runs, both coming in the top of the second inning. She gave up three hits, one walk and only struck out one.
Matty Moss was credited with the win on Thursday, giving her a 6-1 record in 2019. In relief, she gave up two hits, zero walks and recorded five strikeouts.
The Lady Vols will be back in action on Friday against the No. 11/13 Texas Longhorns. It will be Texas’s first game of the Tennessee Invitational. First pitch is set for 5:30 p.m. inside Sherri Lee Parker Stadium.