AUBURN, Ala. – The 16th-ranked Tennessee softball team defeated Auburn 2-1 Friday night in a low-scoring pitchers dual at Jane B. Moore Field.
Tennessee (36-8, 9-7 SEC) scored twice in the fourth inning, which was all the run support Ashley Rogers needed to help lead UT to the series opening victory.
Tennessee’s ace in the circle tossed a gem against the Tigers (26-17, 6-13 SEC) as she allowed just one run on two hits. Rogers struck out four Auburn batters Friday night to increase her season strikeout total to 225.
Rogers also threw her 18th complete game of the season as she picked up her 21st win of 2021.
Heading into the fourth, the game was scoreless until senior Chelsea Seggern stepped to the plate and smashed a solo home run over the wall in right center to break the deadlock and give UT a 1-0 lead.
The Lady Vols added a second run in the inning as Rylie West returned to the Tennessee lineup and roped an RBI double to center. Her double drove home Kiki Milloy from first who scored what would become the game-winning run.
In the bottom of the inning, Auburn hit back with a leadoff double from Alyssa Rivera. After a groundout advanced Rivera to third, Lindsey Garcia hit a sac fly to right that allowed Rivera to score and cut Tennessee’s lead down to 2-1.
After the three combined runs scored in the fourth, the game settled back into a pitchers dual between Rogers and Auburn’s Shelby Lowe. Rogers was extremely efficient in the fifth, sixth and seventh and she retired the final nine batters she faced.
Lowe pitched a complete game for Auburn, suffering the loss and dropping to 13-6 on the year. Her final line read two runs allowed on six hits, one walk and five strikeouts.
The Lady Vols welcomed back two key pieces to their offense Friday night as Rylie West and Amanda Ayala both appeared in UT’s victory. West started the game at DP and went 1-for-3 with an RBI double. It was her 10th double of the season, which ranks second on the team.
Ayala made one plate appearance as a pinch hitter, seeing her first action since April 4 against Kentucky.
Tennessee and Auburn take the field for game two tomorrow at 5 p.m. ET. The game can be streamed on SEC Network+.