LEXINGTON, Ky. -- No. 17 Tennessee earned its first SEC series sweep on the road since 2015 with a 9-3 win over No. 20 Kentucky on Sunday afternoon at John Cropp Stadium.
The last time the Volunteers swept an SEC road series was April of 2015 at Mississippi State. UT has now swept three consecutive opponents over the past three weekends and has won 14 straight games overall.
Scarlet McSwain and Meghan Gregg led the charge offensively for UT, combining for three hits and eight RBIs on the afternoon. McSwain hit a grand slam in the first inning to give the Vols an early lead and added an RBI single in the second to tie her career high with five RBIs. Gregg drove in three more runs with a bases-loaded double in the third to increase her nation-leading RBI total to 57.
Caylan Arnold got the starting nod for the second straight game and battled through five innings to earn the win and improve to 15-4 on the season. The freshman right-hander gave up three runs on nine hits but also tied a career high with nine strikeouts and reached the 100 strikeout mark for the year.
For the third straight game the Vols jumped out to a lead in the top of the first inning. UT took advantage of three walks from UK starting pitcher Larissa Spellman when McSwain hammered the first pitch she saw over the left-field wall for her second-career grand slam.
The Big Orange (35-5, 9-3 SEC) didn't stop there, as Katie Weimer doubled with two outs and came around to score on a triple off the wall by Chelsea Seggern to give the Vols a 5-0 lead after one half inning of play.
The Wildcats (24-11, 5-7 SEC) responded right away with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first. Breanne Ray had the big hit with a two-out single to center field to drive in a pair of runs and cut the UT lead to 5-2.
McSwain came up with another clutch, two-out hit in the second to drive in Aubrey Leach and extend the lead to four. The Vols plated three more runs in the third inning to give them their largest lead of the afternoon. Gregg drilled a 3-2 pitch to left center for a bases-clearing, three-run double to make it 9-2.
Kentucky tried to battle back and got two more RBI singles from Ray, who finished the day with three hits and four RBIs, but it wasn't enough as Matty Moss closed the door over the final two innings to preserve the win.
SWEEP CITY: With Sunday's win, Tennessee has now swept three straight weekend series' and two straight in conference play (Ole Miss & Kentucky). The Vols have also swept the Wildcats two straight times and won seven straight in the series against them.
McSWAIN ON FIRE: Scarlet McSwain continued her torrid stretch at the plate, tying a career high with five RBIs in Sunday's victory. The junior from Paris, Tenn., reached base in all four plate appearances, going 2-for-2 with two walks, a single and a grand slam. For the series, McSwain batted .500 with 10 RBIs and had a hit and an RBI in all three games.
BIG ORANGE BATS: The Big Orange brought out the big bats for Sunday's series finale, cranking out nine runs on eight hits. The Vols have now scored five or more runs in 30 of their 40 games this season, including all three games of this weekend's series. UT also scored in seven of the 19 innings this weekend and plated multiple runs in the first inning of each game.
UP NEXT: The Vols return to the friendly confines of Sherri Parker Lee Stadium for a Tuesday doubleheader against Tennessee State. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. and fans can listen to Brian Rice call the action on Sports Radio WNML (AM 990) and UTSports.com starting at 6 p.m.