KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Another dominant performance in the circle from junior Ashley Rogers and an explosive fifth inning, propelled the No. 21 Tennessee softball team past eighth-ranked Kentucky, 6-1, on Friday at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.
The win is Tennessee's (27-5, 3-4 SEC) second victory over a top-10 opponent this season, and Kentucky's (25-5, 3-4 SEC) fourth road loss in its last five true road games.
Rogers' performance credited her with a win for the fourth consecutive game for the Lady Vols, as she fanned 10 batters and gave up just one run on three hits, while also tossing her 12th complete game of the year. Rogers' 10 K's marked her seventh double-digit strikeout performance of the season.
Senior Amanda Ayala was electric at the dish, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored, two RBIs and a massive home run to help UT regain the lead late in Friday's win.
Classmate Ashley Morgan was also big, finishing 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. Both of Morgan's hits and RBIs came in the Orange & White's final two innings at the plate to give the Lady Vols some much-needed insurance.
Graduate student Cailin Hannon was the third Lady Vol to finish with multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI to give Tennessee a quick lead in the opening.
The Lady Vols opened the scoring in the first inning on back-to-back hits from Ayala and Hannon. Ayala punched a single through the left side, before Hannon belted a double to left field to give UT the early, 1-0 lead.
Two innings later, Kentucky evened things up on a solo shot off the scoreboard from Kayla Kowalik.
Following two business-as-usual innings, and the score still tied, Ayala delivered with Kaitlin Parsons on first. The Bloomfield, New Jersey native went yard over the left field wall, putting UT back in the lead, 3-1.
The Orange & White closed the fifth inning with two more runs on singles from Ashley Morgan and Kiki Milloy to take a massive, 5-1, lead heading into the evening's latter stages.
Morgan collected her second RBI of the day on a single through the left side, scoring Ayala for the third time and increasing the UT lead to, 6-1 heading into the final frame.
Tennessee will take on Kentucky in game two of its Easter Weekend series with the Wildcats on Saturday night on national television. First pitch from Sherri Parker Lee Stadium is slated for 6 p.m. ET on ESPN2.