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Vols post two straight run-rule wins against Tigers

1558 days ago
Tennessee Athletics
Photo: Tennessee Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- No. 12 Tennessee put together a dominant performance to sweep a Sunday doubleheader against No. 3 Auburn.

Game 1 Recap: UT 10, Auburn 2

After having to postpone the game after half an inning on Saturday night because of rain, No. 12 Tennessee came out strong on Sunday to earn a 10-2 run-rule victory over No. 3 Auburn in the series opener between the two teams at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.

The Volunteers (37-12, 13-6 SEC) loaded the bases and scored in every inning while taking advantage of 12 walks by the Tigers' pitching staff. Megan Geer had a stellar afternoon with a pair of singles and four RBIs to lead the offense while every player in UT's starting lineup reached base.

Matty Moss started and threw three solid innings to improve to 10-3 on the season while Rainey Gaffin shutout the Tigers over the final two innings to close the door and help the Vols improve to 21-1 at home this year. The win was also the 10th for Tennessee over a ranked opponent this season.

Auburn (45-6, 15-4 SEC) opened the scoring after leadoff batter Tiffany Howard reached on an error and ended up scoring on a passed ball to give Auburn an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. The Vols responded immediately with three runs in the bottom of the first, aided by five walks from Tigers' pitchers Kaylee Carlson and Rachael Walters.

Aubrey Leach, Brooke Vines and Meghan Gregg all walked to load the bases with no outs for Geer, who singled to tie the game at one. Two more walks from Gaffin and Scarlet McSwain later in the inning drove in another pair of runs to put UT 3-1.

Auburn loaded the bases with just one out in the second and cut the Tennessee lead to 3-2 with a sacrifice fly by Howard. Moss was able to limit the damage, however, striking out Kasey Cooper with the bases loaded to end the inning.

Tennessee answered again in the home half of the second, regaining its two-run lead with an RBI bunt single from Geer. The Vols had a chance to add to their lead but left the bases loaded to end the frame.

The Big Orange loaded the bases for the third straight inning in the bottom of the third and took advantage by tacking on five more runs to extend its lead to seven. Geer drove in her third run of the game by drawing a bases-loaded walk before Lexi Overstreet came up with a big single to plate two more runs. Gaffin continued the string of clutch hits with an RBI single up the middle before back-to-back walks brought in another run and put the Vols up 9-2.

Geer capped off her fantastic offensive performance with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth to extend the UT lead to eight. It was her fourth RBI of the game, as the junior drove in a run in all four of her at-bats.

Game 2 Recap: UT 12, Auburn 1

Aubrey Leach, Brooke Vines and Gretchen Aucoin all had multi-hit nights while senior Erin Gabriel stifled Auburn's potent offense to earn her 18th win of the season in a complete-game effort on senior weekend.

The Tigers (45-7, 15-5 SEC) entered the series with the nation's highest scoring offense and Gabriel held them to just a single run on the night while striking out four in five innings.

The Vols are the first team to run rule Auburn in back-to-back games since Kentucky in 2009. They have also already scored more runs than any other team has against the Tigers in a series this season. Tennessee's 22 combined runs on Sunday were four more than top-ranked Florida scored against the Auburn in their entire three-game series earlier this year.

Despite the lopsided victory for UT, it was Auburn who struck first for the second straight game. A solo home run from Kasey Cooper gave the Tigers an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. The long ball came with two outs and was the 17th of the season for Cooper, who leads the SEC in homers.

However, just like they did in Game 1, the Vols immediately responded to tie the game in the bottom of the first. Leach and Vines led off the inning with back-to-back infield singles and Leach eventually came in to score on an error by Auburn's shortstop to tie the game at one.

The Big Orange batted around and exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the second inning to take a commanding lead they would never relinquish. UT had five hits and also took advantage of three Tigers' errors in the inning. Shaliyah Geathers and Vines both ripped RBI doubles and Lexi Overstreet cleared the bases with a two-RBI single to put the Vols up 8-1 after two innings of play.

Another big inning in the fourth helped the Vols increase their lead to 11. A walk and two singles loaded the bases for Geathers, who drew an RBI walk to drive in her second run of the game. An errant throw on a ground ball from Leach allowed two more runs to cross the plate and Vines capped off the scoring with her third hit of the night, an RBI single to score Geathers and give UT a 12-1 advanatge.

Auburn loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth but Gabriel got Jade Rhodes to strike out swinging to end the game and give Tennessee its 22nd home victory of the season. The Vols own the best home record in the country at 22-1 and have won 14 of those 22 games via run rule. They are also 8-1 against ranked opponents at Lee Stadium this year. A win over the Tigers on Monday would give UT an perfect 12-0 record at home in SEC play this season.

The Orange and White will go for their fourth series sweep this year as they host Auburn for the series finale Monday night at 7 p.m. The game will air live on the SEC Network.