AUBURN, Ala. -- Tennessee used timely, aggressive offense and a another strong start from lefty Aaron Soto to drive past the Auburn Tigers, 13-4, in Thursday night's series opener at Plainsman Park.
Tennessee's lineup combined for 13 runs on 17 hits against the Tigers' staff, led by the middle of the order's Jordan Rodgers (3-for-5, 2 RBI), Vincent Jackson (2-for-4, 3 RBI), Nick Senzel (1-for-5, 2 RBI) and Derek Lance (3-for-5, RBI).
With their 17 hits, the Vols have now collected double-digit hits in four of their last six games.
Tennessee used an aggressive start at the plate to take a 4-0 lead in the first inning. With two runners in scoring position, Senzel reached on a fielding error by Auburn's shortstop to score Benito Santiago (2-for-5, RBI) from third. A sac fly by Jackson and RBI-singles from Rodgers and Tyler Schultz (2-for-5, RBI) then pushed UT's advantage to 4-0.
The Vols went on to put up a three spot in the fourth and extend their lead to 7-1, kickstarted by a leadoff double from Derek Lance. Jackson and Rodgers produced back-to-back hits to drive in three runs and put the Vols further ahead.
Auburn came back to threaten in the seventh, as a single and two walks by UT's relief staff loaded the bases with two outs. Inheriting the situation, senior Steven Kane then induced a high fly ball to left field where Jackson made the catch to end the Tigers' turn at the plate.
The Vols came back to put up four runs in the eighth, with the help of two consecutive sac flies from Hall and Senzel. With Jackson on second, Rodgers then knocked an RBI-double into the left field corner and came around to score on a fielding error by Auburn's catcher, making it an 11-1 ballgame.
The Tigers fought back to scratch three runs on the boards in the eighth but Tennessee answered in the top of the ninth, plating twp runs to secure their 13-4 final.
Making his fourth start of the year for the Big Orange, lefty Aaron Soto (4-1) dealt 6.1 innings of one-run baseball vs. the Tigers and struck out a career-high six batters for the win.
In relief, the Vols went to freshman Will Neely (0.1), Alabama native Zach Reid (0.0) and Steven Kane in the seventh. Kane worked 2.1 innings and fanned two batters to close out the series opener.