No. 15 Tennessee (12-0) opened up the Marry Nutter Classic with a 2-1 win over defending national champions, No. 5 Oklahoma (7-3). The Vols followed the big win with an 8-3 win over UC Santa Barbara (3-7) to finish the day 2-0. At 12-0, Tennessee is one of three remaining undefeated SEC teams.
Maryville native Caylan Arnold continues to impress as a true freshman for the Vols. Against the defending champs, Arnold pitched a complete game to improve to 5-0 on the season. She only gave four hits to the Sooners, while striking out four. The lone run the Vols gave up came on an error.
Arnold has yet to give up an earned run all season.
Freshman Chelsea Seggern was responsible for the Vols’ two runs of the game. Seggern drove in both runs with a single to right field in the second inning, scoring Meghan Gregg and Megan Geer.
Tennessee carried a 2-0 lead from the second inning on into the bottom of the seventh.
With two outs and runners on the corners, a throwing error extended the inning and allowed Oklahoma to tally their only run of the game. With Tennessee’s lead now cut to 2-1, Geer made a thrilling catch in right field just one batter later to seal the Vols’ upset victory over Oklahoma.
The win over the fifth-ranked Sooners gave the Vols their third consecutive win over opponents ranked in the top five. It was Tennessee’s first win over a ranked opponent this season.
Gregg led the way in game two against UC Santa Barbara as the Vols went on to cap off a 2-0 day with an 8-3 win over the Gauchos. She was 2-of-4 in the batter’s box with a home run and four RBIs.
UC Santa Barbara first baseman Alyssa Diaz got things going for the Gauchos in the top of the first inning, smacking a two-run homer to give her team a 2-0 lead. The Vols responded in the bottom of the first with Brooke Vines driving in a run on an RBI groundout. Gregg followed with a home run to tie the game up at 2-2.
Diaz struck again in the top of the third inning, hitting another homer to give the Gauchos a 3-2 lead. Tennessee responded quickly, as Taylor Rowland drove in Geer on an RBI single to tie the game up at 3-3 in the bottom of the third inning.
UC Santa Barbara wouldn’t score the remainder of the game.
Tennessee took a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning on an RBI single from Abby Lockman, scoring Sheridan Allen. A throwing error from the Gauchos’ left fielder allowed CJ McClain score on the same play.
The Vols extended their lead to 8-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning when Gregg hit a three-run double to left-center with the bases loaded. She now owns a career-long hit streak of nine games and leads Tennessee in RBIs on the season with 22.
In the circle, Vols sophomore Matty Moss pitched a complete game while setting a new career high in strikeouts with 10. Moss gave up three earned runs on five hits and improved to 6-0 on the season. She now has 42 strikeouts in 34.0 innings pitched on the season.
Tennessee’s 12-0 start is the best start to a season since going 14-0 to begin the 2014 season.
The Vols continue to play at the Marry Nutter Classis in Cathedral City, California this evening with a doubleheader. Tennessee faces Nebraska at 6:30 p.m. ET before facing No. 17 Utah at 9 p.m. ET. They’ll conclude the tournament on Saturday afternoon against Texas at 3 p.m. ET.
Edited by Quinn Pilkey
Featured image by Amanda Izzi, Courtesy of Tennessee Athletics