PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico - No. 12 Tennessee had some fun in the sun to close a doubleheader opening day at the Puerto Vallarta Collegiate Challenge with a hard-fought 6-4 victory over a persistent Colorado State team that kept the pressure on UT until the final ground out.
After taking a 2-0 lead in the second, the margin carried the Lady Vols (4-1) through 2.5 innings until the Rams (4-2) tied it up on a homer and a couple of fielding errors.
UT stretched its lead again on scores from Amanda Ayala (2-for-2) on a muffed throw and from Jenna Holcomb on a failed pick off in the sixth. Ayala and Chelsea Seggern (2-for-3) knocked through back-to-back RBI singles to bring in a pair of necessary insurance runs in the top of the seventh as the Rams looked to make a last push with a 6-2 deficit.
With two outs left in the bottom of the seventh, CSU blasted a two RBI double to come within two, with a runner on and the tying run at the plate. UT was able to maintain and get the final out in its fifth hour of competition after beginning the day at 11 a.m. (ET) in an exhibition game with the Mexico Olympic Team.
Ayala led the UT-CSU game with a pair of runs and hits and was also walked twice, while Seggern accounted for a pair of RBIs.
Tennessee stuck with starting left-hand pitcher Callie Turner through the tumultuous time and the freshman was able to stay the course to pick up her third win of the season. Turner delivered a career-high 10 strikeouts in a complete game effort, giving up three earned runs and a walk.
A bit of pressure was put on the newcomer in the circle as the Orange and White offense was unable to pull away decisively and left 11 runners on base.
The UT bats talked just enough, nine times to be specific, to keep the edge with junior first baseman Ashley Morgan also contributing a pair of timely hits on back-to-back at-bats to give the offense sporadic sparks.
Tennessee continues play in Puerto Vallarta under the Friday night lights against Utah at 7 p.m. (ET) and No. 6 Texas at 9:30 p.m.