Dominant Pitching Leads Lady Vols to 20th Straight Win

Photo By Cayce Smith/University of Tennessee Athletics

By: Gabriel Daniel

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.- No. 2 Tennessee earned its 20th straight win and 25th win overall in a 5-1 victory over No. 13 Alabama Friday night in front of a sellout crowd at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.

Tennessee (25-1, 7-0 SEC) was spurred on by another terrific performance from senior pitcher Ashley Rogers.

Rogers earned her ninth win on the year and stayed undefeated. Rogers showed her control early and often, allowing only three hits and one run while pitching the entire game.

“That’s exactly what we want to do, we want to go out there and compete. Not think too much about the stats, or the rankings, or the records, just go out there and be our best self anytime we step on the field,” said Rogers.

Rogers finished the game with a 0.53 ERA. Alabama (23-9, 1-3 SEC) also had nice a defensive performance with pitcher Montana Fouts striking out six Tennessee batters and held the Lady Vols scoreless through two innings.

“She’s obviously an incredibly pitcher and one of the best in the game right now, I just have to go out there and be my best self for my team and get the win,” said Rogers.

The Lady Vols bats started off slow, getting one hit through the first two innings and striking out four times. But, in the bottom of the third, the Lady Vols offense started to get things going. Katie Taylor and Mackenzie Donihoo got Tennessee its first hits of the game before scoring thanks to hits by Lair Beautae and Zaida Puni. Coach Karen Weekly said that offense performed as expected.

“We got timely hitting, and when you’re facing a pitcher like Montana Fouts, you’re not expecting coming in here thinking that you’re going blow anybody out. But we put enough good swing on pitches to put up five runs,” said Weekly.

Beautae added to her strong start to the game hitting a home run to left field that brought Kiki Milloy in for the score and extended the Lady Vols lead to four. It was Beautae’s first home run of the season after missing the entire first month of the season due to injury. She returned to the lineup full time last week against LSU.

“I was just trusting the process with my coaches, just knowing that they had my back and they were going to get me prepared for whatever was in front of me, and I just went out there and kept trust the process. When it was time, it was time.”

The Lady Vols will continue their series against Alabama Saturday evening at 5 p.m. ET at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.