TEMPE, Ariz. – A back-and-forth scoring bout, turned into a battle of the bats between No. 12/11 Tennessee (2-0) and Western Michigan (1-3) to open Sunday at the Kajikawa Classic.
Unfortunately, the exciting 13-6 UT-leading result will not be counted as an official game because NCAA ruling requires the umpire “to declare ‘no game’ if play is terminated before each team has completed five innings or if a halted game of less than five innings is not resumed.” The teams were still in the bottom of the fourth, when the game reached the hard-stop time of 1:30 p.m. (ET) to accommodate Western Michigan’s travel schedule.
Even still, UT used the “scrimmage” to let their bats talk, but it was not a one-sided conversation as Tennessee just edged WMU 13-12 in hits.
The Lady Vols were quickly put on their heels as the Broncos, the designated home team, scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first after keeping UT off the board in its first at bat.
Tennessee wasn’t down for long and tacked on three scores in the top of the second to take a 3-2 lead on runs from sophomore Kaili Phillips (3-for-4) and freshmen Anna Fox and Madison Webber (1-for-1). Webber, who recorded her first hit of her collegiate career, showcased her base-running acumen as she led the day with three runs.
After WMU took a 4-3 lead to follow, the Lady Vols regrouped and churned out 10 runs across the next two frames. Ten different Lady Vols scored in the outing, while four recorded at least two hits and two RBIs.
The Orange and White ripped 11 hits across the third and fourth frames, which proved to be detrimental as far as the game clock went, but was an impressive offensive display in real time. Junior Amanda Ayala led off with a single and then was brought home on an RBI double from Phillips to jumpstart the offense.
Phillips and Ayala (3-for-4) co-led UT with three hits apiece, while Phillips added two runs to the ledger.
Phillips was brought home on a single from fellow sophomore Ally Shipman and then Webber was walked. Senior outfielder Cailin Hannon singled to jam the bases with one out and junior Ashley Morgan, who stepped in to pinch hit for left fielder Jenna Holcomb, brought in Shipman on an RBI ground out.
Freshman Kiki Milloy and senior Chelsea Seggern drew back-to-back walks, and Seggern picked up an RBI as Webber got an easy trip back to the plate. Ayala punctuated the third half scoring frenzy with an RBI single to bring Hannon home and move things to 8-4.
Things looked put away as the Lady Vols entered the bottom of the fourth ahead 13-4, but the Broncos hoped to exact some revenge after UT’s redshirt sophomore pitcher Samantha Bender retired the side the inning before. WMU recorded four hits, interrupted up by a double play, to add another two runs to the board and move out of run-rule territory.
As UT was about to make another pitching change – freshman Anna Hazlewood started – with two outs and two Broncos aboard, the game was called and the outing was nullified.
The Lady Vols will face their highest ranked opponent of the weekend at 6:30 p.m. (ET) as they take on powerhouse No.5/5 Arizona at Farrington Field. The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.