TEMPE, Ariz. – Despite keeping No. 5/5 Arizona scoreless through three innings, No.12/11 Tennessee was unable to recover from a lopsided opening inning to give up its first game of the season 8-0 at the Kajikawa Classic.
Plagued by early errors and the woes of a youthful pitching staff, the Lady Vols (2-1) were unable to recover from a five-run deficit in the bottom of the first. The Wildcats (5-0) first two runs came on a pair of costly infield errors and things went awry from there.
Despite all of the first-inning runs being unearned, freshman Callie Turner picked up her first loss giving up one hit and five walks.
Redshirt sophomore Samantha Bender came in with loaded bases in the bottom of the first and escaped the inning on a ground out to give the UT defense a breather. The Lady Vols couldn’t put much together by way of offense but Bender commanded the circle and only gave up one walk in 4.0 innings.
Things were nearly even through 3.5 innings, with the Wildcats outhitting the Lady Vols 6-5 on the night.
Unfortunately, the defensive momentum could not sustain and in the bottom of the fifth Arizona was able to put together a late effort and tack on three scores to seal the run-rule.
Tennessee concludes its opening weekend on Monday against host-team No. 22/22 Arizona State at 9 p.m. (ET). The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks. UT will then continue on to Mexico for the Puerto Vallarta Collegiate Challenge on Feb. 13-15.