KNOXVILLE, TENN - The second-ranked Lady Vols softball team won their 20th consecutive game Friday night in front of a sellout crowd of 2,239 at Sherri Lee Parker Stadium - defeating No. 13 Alabama, 5-1.
In a star-studded matchup that featured the league's top two pitchers in active career wins, graduate pitcher Ashley Rogers bested Montana Fouts, earning her ninth win of the year. The righty allowed just one run in a complete-game, six-strikeout performance.
Fouts suffered the loss for the Tide, giving up five runs on seven hits in six innings of work. She is now 11-5 on the year. Tennessee (25-1, 7-0 SEC) got on the board in the third inning as Lair Beautae knocked a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring sophomore Katie Taylor for the game's first run. After senior Kiki Milloy reached first on a fielder's choice and advanced to second on an Alabama lapse - third baseman Zaida Puni ripped a single to left center, sending Milloy home and putting the Lady Vols up 2-0.
In the bottom of the fifth, Milloy ripped a two-out double into right-center - her 20th extra-base hit of the season - setting the table for a put-away inning. With an 0-2 count, Beautae smoked a two-run homer over the left field wall - her first of the season - doubling the Lady Vols' lead to four runs.
Tennessee added one more run to its total in the sixth, as McKenna Gibson crushed a solo shot that stayed fair over left field, giving the Lady Vols a 5-0 lead.
Alabama (23-9, 1-3 SEC) finally got to Rogers in the top of the seventh as Bailey Dowling hit a solo shot to left field, putting the Tide on the board. Rogers struck out Tide freshman Abby Duchscherer to close out the game and clinch UT's 5-1 series-opening win.
With the win, Tennessee has run its win streak to 20 straight - its longest such streak since winning 22 in a row in 2018. The Lady Vols also improved upon their best start to SEC play in program history with a seventh consecutive victory to open league play.
Tennessee and Alabama return for game two of the series Saturday, with first pitch scheduled for 5 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on SEC Network and can be heard on UTSports.com.