No. 15 Tennessee sweeps doubleheader to open Troy Cox Classic

Tennessee rode hot bats and well-timed bullpen calls to a 2-0 start on the Vols’ road trip.

KNOXVILLE,TN - MARCH 25, 2016 - Outfielder Brooke Vines #4 during the game between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Tennessee Volunteers at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Craig Bisacre, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics.

No. 15 Tennessee (7-0) picked up two wins on Saturday to kick off the Troy Cox Classic 2-0.

No. 15 Tennessee beats DePaul 8-6

In game one of the doubleheader, the Vols’ bats paved the way to an 8-6 win over DePaul (3-6).

DePaul jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the Vols’ first game of the day, but the lead didn’t hold long. Tennessee scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a 4-1 lead. Megan Geer drew a walk with the bases-loaded to tie the game at one a piece before Abby Lockman smacked a bases clearing double to give the Vol’s the three-run lead.

In the second inning, Tennessee extended their lead to 5-1 as freshman Jenna Holcomb raced home to score while Brooke Vines stole second.

The Blue Demons fought back in the third inning as Dylan Christensen and Megan Leyva hit back-to-back home runs to cut the Tennessee lead to 5-4. In the fourth inning, DePaul tied the game at 5-5 on an RBI double from Haydn Chistensen.

Tennessee shortstop Meghan Gregg broke the 5-5 tie on a three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Gregg finished the game 2-for-4 and two runs, while tallying three RBIs.

DePaul tacked on another run in the top of the sixth inning on a bases loaded walk, making it an 8-6 ballgame, but freshman Caylan Arnold shut down the Blue Demons in the seventh inning to end things.

Sophomore Matty Moss got the start in the circle for the orange and white on Saturday afternoon. Moss’ wasn’t as sharp as she was last weekend in the Eagle Round Robin, only lasting 2.0 innings and giving up four earned runs on five hits. Kelsey Morrison followed Moss, giving up an earned run on one hit in 1.1 innings pitched.

Junior college transfer Alex Brake picked up her first career Division I win by giving up just one earned run and three hits in 2.2 innings pitched.

Tennessee shuts out Bradley in second game of doubleheader

After ending any comeback bids in game one, Arnold started game two in the circle and led the Vols to an 8-0, five-inning win against Bradley (4-5) in game two of the doubleheader. The Maryville native struck out three in three innings of work, giving up just one hit and no runs to improv to 3-0 on the season.

Heads-up base running kicked off the scoring for the Vols in the third inning. Holcomb stole second, allowing Aubrey Leach to score from third after an errant throw by Bradley’s catcher.  Vines followed with an RBI single, scoring Holcomb, before Geer drove in Vines on a double. An illegal pitch by the Bradley pitcher allowed Geer to score and pushed the Tennessee lead to 4-0.

Vines got things going again  in the fourth inning with an RBI single to left field, scoring Leach. Gregg then smacked a single to left field, scoring Vines and giving the Vols a 6-0 lead. Geer followed with a single, allowing Gregg to score on an error. For the second time in two innings, Geer scored on an illegal pitch, extending the Tennessee lead to 8-0.

Arnold worked herself into a jam in the top of the fourth after walking the first batters of the inning. With runners on first and second, Moss entered the game and proceeded to get the next three Bradley hitters out. Moss finished the game with two strikeouts in two innings pitched, while not allowing a run or a walk and only giving up two hits in a bounce-back performance from earlier in the day.

Tennessee faces Northern Colorado (1-8) Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET before facing Oregon State (6-1) afterward in the second doubleheader in two days for the Vols.

Edited by Nathan Odom

Featured image by Craig Bisacre, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics