Meghan Gregg added to her NCAA-leading RBI total early with an RBI double in the first inning, putting the Vols up 1-0. Scarlett McSwain also doubled, scoring Gregg, to go up 2-0.
Caylan Arnold pitched a gem in game one with a shutout. She did not allow a hit until the sixth inning, allowed two walks and struck out eight for the game. “I was trying to focus on spinning the ball, keeping it down and attacking the zone,” Arnold said. “[I am] trying to work on things and really get ready for this Alabama series coming up.”
The Vols (36-5) expanded on the lead in the second with three two-out hits, which included a two-run double from Gregg, going up 5-0.
Tennessee State (9-26) senior Lauren Woodard was on the mound for the Tigers. She allowed seven hits, six runs (five earned) and a walk through three innings. Amanda Cabrera came in for remainder of the game.
Shade became a factor as a shadow was cast in front of home plate to begin the third inning. Nevertheless, Tennessee’s defense did not allow TSU to establish any runners on base until the sixth inning.
The bats cooled off for the Vols as the shade started to settle in. However, CJ McClain reached first base on an error to start the bottom of the sixth. After stealing second, McClain scored after a throwing error at third base, scoring the seventh run for the Vols. Gregg put it away for Tennessee when she knocked in Aubrey Leach with an RBI single to run-rule TSU for the victory.
Game two spelled more of the same for Tennessee. After a 1-2-3 defensive outing, the Vols (37-5) scored six runs in the first inning. Aubrey Leach walked to begin the inning then Brooke Vines hit an RBI single to score the initial run for the Big Orange.
A hit and a couple walks later, the Vols had the bases loaded with just one out. Katie Weimer walked to score Treasuary Poindexter, putting the Vols up 2-0. That was the end of the night for TSU pitcher Lauren Powell after facing only six batters and surrendering five runs.
Taylor Rowland hit a sac fly, and Seggern added a two-run double to make it 5-0. McClain also joined the hit parade with an RBI chopper up the middle to tally the sixth run of the inning for the Vols.
The Vols were still hungry for runs in the second. Back-to-back fielding error plays saw Vines and Gregg score, pushing the lead to 8-0.
Gregg broke her single-season RBI record (62) with her RBI in the second. “I felt good out there tonight. I was swinging hard and looking for my pitch,” Gregg said. “Our fans give us a lot of energy, and that also gives us a lot of momentum for us to stay ahead in the game.”
TSU (9-27) responded in the third inning when Maddison Clark walked for the Tigers, and she came around to score after a blooper down the right field line. Tennessee’s Kelsey Morrison found herself in a jam, and co-coach Ralph Weekly had seen enough of the sophomore. Matty Moss entered for the Vols and forced a groundout to the end the frame. Moss allowed just one walk along with four strikeouts.
The Vols responded promptly in the bottom half of the inning. Three hits saw three runs score for Tennessee, bringing the lead to 11-1. Moss closed out the game in the fifth inning with a strikeout, leading to another run-rule victory for the Vols.
Tennessee plays a series at home this Easter weekend against conference rival Alabama. All three games will be broadcast on the SEC Network.
Edited by Robert Hughes
Featured image by Hayley Pennesi, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics