The No. 5/6 Tennessee softball team improved to 6-0 at home this season with a convincing 14-2 win over BYU at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium on Thursday afternoon.
Tennessee opened the first inning with an impressive defensive showing. Freshman pitcher Ashley Rogers fanned the first batter before the next two grounded and flied out, respectively.
The Lady Vols’ fifth-ranked scoring offense poured it on in their first opportunity.
In the bottom of the first, the Lady Vols rang up seven runs, along with some assistance from the Cougar defense. After walking Ayala and Leach, BYU’s fielders committed their first error and gave up a single to Kaili Phillips. This error allowed Leach and Ayala to get the scoring started for Tennessee.
In the next at-bat, senior Haley Bearden smashed a triple to center field, bringing in Phillips and Chelsea Seggern. At this juncture, the Lady Vols were up 4-0.
Another BYU error advanced Ashley Morgan to second base before another error brought her home for the fifth Tennessee score of the frame. Two batters later, Leach’s single brought in Gracie Osbron for a 6-0 lead.
Another BYU error brought in Kaitlin Parsons for Tennessee’s seventh run of the inning.
The Cougars committed a total of five errors in the opening frame. In contrast, the Lady Vols have only accumulated four all season.
BYU was finally able to stop the bleeding and went on to score two runs of their own in the top of the second at the expense of Ashley Rogers.
“She (Rogers) is a great, young kid,” co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. “She doesn't need any discipline or anything, but sometimes you have to learn life lessons. How do you learn anything in life? You experience some things and you correct them, and I’m sure she will.”
Tennessee punched back when Morgan slapped her second home run of the season over the center field wall.
Matty Moss stepped in the circle for the Lady Vols to start the third inning. After a small scoring threat from BYU, a strikeout and a groundout wrapped up the defensive inning for Tennessee.
The Lady Vols’ bats heated up again in the third period.
Phillips’ 3-run shot to left-center brought in Leach and Cailin Hannon, putting the count at 11-2.
Despite allowing a hit in the top of the fourth, Moss took over in the circle as she fanned three batters. To put the cherry on top, Tennessee tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the fourth.
With Madison Pacini and Savannah Huffstetler on base, Leach doubled to left field to claim the two RBIs.
Leach led the way for the Lady Vols offensively.
“(My mentality) was just going back to my approach and seeing pitches I like to hit,” Leach said. “Kind of struggled down in Florida, so it was good to get back in the swing of things.”
For the final Lady Vols score, Tianna Batts’s single brought home Leach for the 14-2 conclusion.
Tennessee returns to the field tomorrow when they play host to No. 11/13 Texas in its second game of the Tennessee Invitational. The first pitch will be thrown at 5:30 p.m. ET.