The No. 9 Tennessee softball team (30-8, 8-5 SEC) got a strong pitching performance from Ashley Rogers in a 4-0 home win over Mississippi State (25-15, 3-10).
The Lady Vols welcomed the Lady Bulldogs to Sherri Parker Lee Stadium for their first of a three game series.
In a battle of two teams who like to light up the scoreboard, both teams struggled to generate any offense out of the gate.
The Lady Vols got their first runner on base in the second inning when senior Haley Bearden singled to left field, but that was the only hit of the inning.
“They started off getting to us early, and we had to make some adjustments,” co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. “We hit six straight pop ups. It’s just like when we were at Missouri, we had six straight ground balls. You have to adjust.”
After retiring three straight batters at the top of the third, Tennessee broke the stalemate. Junior Jenna Holcomb singled and then advanced to second before being brought home on a Kaitlin Parsons single. The run marked Holcomb’s 18th run so far this season.
Mississippi State’s Emily Williams then walked Aubrey Leach and Chelsea Seggern to load the bases for the Lady Vols, but a Kaili Phillips strikeout ended the momentum.
Later in the bottom of the fifth, the duo of Parsons and Holcomb engineered another score for the Lady Vols. After Holcomb was walked, Parsons tripled to right field to collect the RBI. Parsons was brought home shortly after on a sacrifice fly from Aubrey Leach, putting Tennessee up 3-0.
To leadoff in the bottom of the sixth, Haley Bearden smashed a solo homer over the right field wall for the Lady Vols’ final score of the game. Offensively for Tennessee, Holcomb led the way with two runs. She also stole a base. Parsons finished 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs.
Ashley Rogers took the win in the circle for Tennessee to improve to 14-2 on the year. In a complete game, she only surrendered two hits and fanned four batters.
“(Ashley Rogers) impressed me the most today,” co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. “MSU is a fierce hitting team. They got two kids with 18 home runs in the lineup. She pitched an outstanding game.”
Mississippi State’s Mia Davidson and Fa Leilua came into the game with a combined 39 home runs so far this season. They went a combined 0-for-6 behind the plate.
“One word we focused on was attack,” said Rogers. “Attack every single batter with confidence, and just go at them with everything you’ve got with every single pitch.”
The Lady Vols will look to clinch the series when they return to the field tomorrow against the Lady Bulldogs in the second of their three game series. The action is set to start at 1 p.m. eastern time.