The No. 12 Lady Vols (4-1) opened their time at the Puerto Vallarta Collegiate Challenge with a double-header this afternoon, falling to the Mexican national team 2-0 and claiming a 6-4 victory over the Colorado State Rams.
Tennessee started the tournament off with an exhibition game against the Mexican Olympic team. Luckily for the Lady Vols, the game did not count against their regular season totals and stats, so they were able to take the opportunity to practice some younger players in preparation for the remainder of the tournament.
Even with four freshmen starting in new positions, Tennessee was able to hold off a very impressive Mexico team through five innings. In the end, a late run gave Mexico the shutout victory. In the bottom of the sixth, Mexico singled, doubled and tripled to put things out of reach for the Lady Vols.
Outfielder Kiki Milloy gave up only one hit in the first four innings, threw three strike outs and a walk, earning her a standing nod from her opponents.
Freshmen Anna Fox and KK McCrary got their first glimpse of starting infield at second and third, while Amanda Curran was named Tennessee’s offensive player.
A steady defense could not counter an inconsistent offense. The Lady Vols weren't able to make it on the board, tallying only two hits and five walks.
Mexico is the first of two national teams Tennessee will face this season. The Lady Vols are scheduled to play Team USA back in Knoxville on April 8 as part of the “Stand Beside Her” tour the national team is hosting. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.
Colorado State put up quite a fight against Tennessee, pushing the Lady Vols until the final ground out.
Tennessee was able to secure an early 2-0 lead in the second before the Rams tied it up with a homerun and various Lady Vols fielding errors.
Amanda Ayala pushed Tennessee’s lead further off a throw from Jenna Holcomb on a failed pick off the sixth. Alaya and Chelsea Seggern brought back-to-back RBI singles which gave the Lady Vols the necessary runs in the top of the seventh, providing a 6-2 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Rams nailed a two RBI double, bringing the score to 6-4, with a runner on and a tying run at plate. Tennessee’s defense maintained, and the Lady Vols were able to secure the final out.
Tennessee's offense remained inconsistent, leaving 11 runners on base throughout seven innings. With nine hits the Lady Vols stepped up just enough to maintain that edge over Colorado State. Ashley Morgan delivered a pair of timely hits on back-to-back at bats to help Tennessee’s offense claim the victory.
The Lady Vols will continue play in the Puerto Vallarta Collegiate Challenge at 7 p.m. ET tomorrow when they will face Utah, and again at 9:30 p.m. ET when they will take on No. 6 Texas.