PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico - Patience proved prudent as No. 12 Tennessee (6-2) closed out its time in Puerto Vallarta with a decisive 5-2 victory over Cal Baptist (4-5) on Saturday afternoon.
After going scoreless the first two innings, the Lady Vols stayed calm at the plate and battled back to the tune of a four-run half in the bottom of the third to take the lead for the remainder of the game.
Junior Ashley Morgan (1-for-2) was hit by a pitch on a full count and advanced to second on a 2-2 single from senior Jenna Holcomb (1-for-3). Sophomore Kaitlin Parsons jammed the bases after drawing a walk, before Amanda Curran, who pinch ran for Morgan, came home on a wild pitch to start the scoring run and to tie things 1-1.
Once again, junior outfielder Amanda Ayala (1-for-3), who was the designated player against the Lancers, belted a two-RBI double down the right field line to give Tennessee a 3-1 advantage. Senior shortstop Chelsea Seggern (1-for-3) returned the favor immediately following with an RBI single up the middle to bring in Ayala.
The Lancers cut the lead to 4-2 in the top of the fourth but consistent pitching from freshman Callie Turner and a more focused Lady Vols defense only allowed two runners to get on the last three innings.
Turner moved to 5-1 on the season in a complete game effort, recording four strikes and two walks.
Senior Cailin Hannon (1-for-3) punctuated the day for the Orange and White offense with a bomb to right field to provide the final scoring margin.
Turner and Ayala were named to the all-tournament team. The freshman pitcher picked up three wins in the circle, also downing Colorado State and Utah, while junior outfielder Ayala was clutch at the plate collecting four hits and three runs through four games (she did not play against Mexico). Ayala currently leads the team with a .458 batting clip, seven runs, 11 hits and eight RBIs.
The Lady Vols head to Tampa, Fla., for the USF Invitational on Feb. 21-23 where they will face a trio of Florida teams beginning with FIU on Friday at 11:30 a.m. (ET) before facing UCF twice once on Friday at 2 p.m. and then Saturday morning at 9 a.m. Tennessee's final two outings of the tournament will be against the host-team USF on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 11:30 a.m. The Lady Vols hold a 16-10-1 overall record against their weekend lineup.