TEMPE, Ariz. - After knotting the game twice in the first 4.5 innings, Tennessee sophomore Kaili Phillips belted a three-run go-ahead dinger to give the No. 11 Lady Vols (1-0) the insurance runs they needed to pull away and pick up their first win of 2020 over No. 15 Northwestern (1-2) with a 6-3 victory.
Phillips recorded 10 homers last season, the most of any of UTs returners, and stepped up big on Saturday afternoon in the bottom of the fifth with two outs on the board to bring in junior Amanda Ayala and senior Treasuary Poindexter. Phillips' bomb broke a 2-2 tie and gave the Lady Vols the lead the remainder of the game. The Ooltewah, Tenn., native went 1-of-4 on the day.
The Lady Vols' bats talked throughout the season opener as they recorded 10 hits and six RBI, collectively. Ayala (3-for-4) led with a game-high three hits. After giving up an early run in the top of the first, UT tied things up with a monstrous display from freshman and leadoff hitter Kiki Milloy, who went yard in her first collegiate at-bat, shelling one high through left center. Milloy finished the day with two hits and a game-leading two runs.
Sophomore Kaitlin Parsons moved things to 2-1 after leading off the bottom of the second with a single. The Long Beach, Calif., native stole second and found the plate on an RBI single from senior Jenna Holcomb.
The Wildcats were able to knot things one more time at 2-2 in the top of the fifth, but the payout was short-lived after Phillips' bomb.
The freshmen class was impressive on both sides of the ball, as first-year pitcher Callie Turner got the starting nod, with sophomore ace Ashley Rogers out temporarily with an injury.
In a complete game effort, Turner picked up her first win fanning four batters. The Land O'Lakes, Fla., native gave up five hits, two earned runs and five walks. A member of the U.S. Junior National Team, Turner's stuff was on display in spurts, highlighted by retiring three batters on the swing in the top of the sixth to keep NU scoreless for four frames.
TEMPE, Ariz. - No. 11 Tennessee (2-0) concluded a doubleheader opening day with a commanding offensive display to stave off a scrappy Kansas team and win 10-2 in six innings and remain undefeated at the Kajikawa Classic.
A four-run, sixth inning gave the Lady Vols their first early ending of the year, walking off on an errant throw after a fielder's choice prevented sophomore Kaili Phillips' run with loaded bases. A high wild toss by Kanas' catcher to first to try and turn the double sealed the Jayhawks fate as sophomore catcher Ally Shipman came across the plate to provide the final margin.
Tennessee's bats didn't slow even as the temperatures dropped in the desert. The Lady Vols recorded 12 hits, led by a perfect outing from senior shortstop Chelsea Seggern (3-for-3), who blasted two yard balls. The Preseason All-SEC honoree opened up scoring in the bottom of first with a one-out homer and then again in the bottom of the fourth to put Tennessee ahead 5-0. Seggern also recorded a career-high four runs as she came across the plate from Shipman's two RBI triple in the third and junior Amanda Ayala's two RBI double in the bottom of the sixth. Eight different Lady Vols recorded a hit to close Saturday.
Returning from a season-ending injury, Shipman made her debut earlier in the day against Northwestern but also put together a perfect showing at the plate versus Kansas, going 2-for-2 and adding a pair of runs, two RBIs and two walks.
Tennessee scored in every inning but the fifth, producing three runs in the third and four in the sixth, while the Jayhawks scrapped in a run in the top of the fourth and the fifth. KU left seven runners on base and could not capitalize on loaded bases in the fifth with no outs and only managed to bring in one runner.
UT also saw most of its pitching staff in the evening outing with redshirt sophomore Samantha Bender picking up her first win in the Lady Vols new pinstripe uniform. In 4.0 innings, the Iona College transfer retired one batter and gave up two walks and one earned run.
Bender was relieved by 6-0 freshman Anna Hazlewood who made the Jayhawks effort futile only giving up a walk to jam the bags unfavorably.
Callie Turner came in for more assurance as the Lady Vols looked to run-rule KU. Turner picked up the save behind 1.0 innings, one strikeout and one walk.
Tennessee opens Sunday bright and early with a matchup against Western Michigan at 11:30 a.m. (ET) before concluding with a top-25 matchup you with No. 5 Arizona at Farrington Field at 6:30 p.m.