The No. 21 Tennessee softball team was too much to handle for in-state competition Tennessee State on Wednesday, as the Lady Vols took games one and two by score of 2-1 and 3-0, respectively. With these victories, the Lady Vols extend their win streak to four and improve to 31-6 on the season.
Game one was not a pretty one for the Lady Vols, despite the end result. Tennessee posted its lowest scoring victory of the season in a game where the Lady Vols let pitching decide their fate. After allowing three hits early, Samantha Bender was relieved by Callie Turner who allowed just one hit across her three innings on the circle.
In the bottom of the fourth Ivy Davis launched a Raven Loveless pitch to center to give the Lady Vols a 2-1 lead that would ultimately prove enough to take game one. To ensure the Tigers wouldn’t try to steal the victory, Ashley Rogers entered the game at the top of the sixth and proceeded to strike out the next six batters to solidify a Tennessee victory and earn Rogers her second save of the season.
“Our plan was to throw her a few innings today and it worked out nicely in that game.” Co-head coach Karen Weekly said. “It really wasn’t the plan that she would go the whole game two, but we just couldn’t seem to put it together offensively…couldn’t get anything rolling.”
Rogers shined in game two, recording 12 strikeouts and allowing just one hit in her 18th win of the season. Combined with her efforts in game one, the Lady Vols ace recorded an incredible 18 Ks across just nine innings played. Rogers currently leads the SEC with a 0.88 ERA.
The first inning provided all the firepower the Lady Vols needed to earn the sweep. After stealing second and third, a throwing error on the Tigers brough Milloy home for her second trip around the bases in two games. Moments later, an Ashley Morgan sac fly to left field brought Cailin Hannon home to put the Lady Vols on top, 2-0.
Tennessee had more to give Tennessee State pitcher Lauren Powell in the first. Rylie West touched home off a Madison Webber hit, advancing Chelsea Seggern to second in the process. Finally, the Tigers defense was able to end the inning, stranding two Lady Vols on base.
Tennessee would lean on the pitching from Rogers to coast to its 31st victory of the season, wrapping things up to look ahead to the Lady Vols’ weekend series at South Carolina.
"We got a couple wins,” Weekly said. “I don’t think our team felt really good about their performance tonight, I think TSU played exceptionally well so that factors into it too. There's things to learn from every game.”
First pitch for Tennessee’s series against South Carolina is set for 2 p.m. ET and will be televised on SEC Network +. Look for the Lady Vols look to capitalize against a struggling South Carolina team that is just 1-11 in SEC play.