The No. 7 Lady Vols (9-2) kicked off this weekend’s Tennessee Classic with a win against Kansas (2-9) with a final score of 9-0. Kansas is one of four teams Tennessee will take on this weekend, others including Virginia, Bradley, and Louisville.
The first inning started off hot for Tennessee, with Ashley Rogers allowing Kansas no runs or hits. Tennessee then took over after singles from Ashley Morgan and Amanda Ayala brought Aubrey Leach and Chelsea Seggern home, bringing the Lady Vols to a 2-0 lead.
Tennessee ended the first inning 4-0 after freshman Gracie Osbron’s first career hit brought in two runs from Ayala and Haley Bearden.
“Gracie was slated to be a short stop ever since we recruited her and this is the first we’ve seen of her,” head coach Ralph Weekly said. “She got to play three innings today, she may get four tomorrow, that’s up to our medical people. It means a lot when these young kids are pressing the veterans.”
The second inning started off the same for Tennessee, after Rogers gave up no runs or hits to Kansas. However, the Lady Vols didn’t collect any runs and only one hit, after Leach ran to second. At the bottom of the inning both teams came up empty, with the score remaining 4-0.
“It’s awesome to have an offense and defense behind me that I know I can trust,” Ashley Rogers said. “I can throw anything in the zone and I know they’re going to snag it, whatever comes to them. It's really a confidence booster having a strong offense and defense. My team is just awesome.”
At the bottom of the third Ayala walked to first and stole second. She was followed by Bearden, who hit her second homer of the season towards left field, bringing her and Ayala home. The Kansas Jayhawks remained scoreless in the third, leaving the score 6-0.
After a weather delay at the top of the fourth, Rogers handled the first four hitters to challenge her. Ratts started things off for the Lady Vols with a hit to center that pushed her to first and Leach to third. After Ratts stole second, Seggern hit towards right field to score Leach and Ratts and push her to second. Seggern later scored on Morgan’s single.
At the top of the fifth, Kansas’ Miranda Rodriguez scored a single before Rogers delivered the final strikeout to end the game.
“She [Rogers] is a pretty amazing pitcher,” Weekly said. “She was judged by many high school publications as being the No.1 high school pitcher in the nation. I know that she’s got a lot of stuff.
"Her ball moves, she can throw four or five different pitches, she can throw hard if she needs to, fields her position pretty well, and she’s got a good mental game.”
The Lady Vols will play Virginia for the second day of the Tennessee Classic tomorrow at 12 p.m. before they face off against Bradley and Louisville Sunday and Monday.