Coming off a thrilling series win over then-No. 4 Alabama, the University of Kentucky Softball team headed to Knoxville to take on the No. 18 Tennessee Volunteers. The ‘Cats have never won a series in Knoxville and they didn’t get off to a good start on Friday, losing 6-1.
FINAL – Tennessee 6, Kentucky 1
Game two of the series will be Saturday at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN2. #WeAreUK
— Kentucky Softball (@UKsoftball) April 2, 2021
Tennessee took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, but a Kayla Kowalik homer to left-center in the top of the third tied things up. Kowalik leads the SEC in individual batting with a .477 batting average. It was her sixth home run of the season.
The fifth inning was all Vols, though. Senior outfielder Amanda Ayala started things off with a two-run homer to put Tennessee up 3-1. The homer prompted a Kentucky pitching change, but the ‘Cats still couldn’t work their way out of the hole. The Vols would tack on two more runs before Kentucky was finally able to end the inning, leaving the bases loaded.
Tennessee did an exceptional job of hitting the outside pitch, and their efforts continued to pay off in the bottom of the sixth. The Vols added another run to make it 6-1 after an Alex Morgan single RBI. Kentucky had a chance to respond in the top of the seventh, but couldn’t find any offensive spark to overcome the deficit.
Though Kentucky is the SEC’s best batting team with a .356 average, Wildcat batters struggled to make plays. Lady Vol pitcher Ashley Rogers had a great night on the mound, striking out 10 batters in her full seven innings pitched. Rogers has only allowed one run in her last 27 innings pitched.
The ‘Cats only had three hits in the entire match, as opposed to Tennessee’s 11.
Kentucky will look to find some offense and even the series tomorrow. First pitch is at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.