KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The No. 2-ranked Lady Vols softball team won a wild game three over No. 13 Alabama, 7-5, to win the series Sunday afternoon at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium in front of a third consecutive sellout crowd of 2,396 – the third-largest crowd for a Tennessee home game.
Tennessee (26-2, 8-1 SEC) scored seven runs on seven hits, led by senior Kiki Milloy’s two-hit three-RBI day. Graduate Ashley Rogers came on in relief for starter Payton Gottshall, tossing 5.2 innings. Rogers allowed three runs on three hits but fanned five Alabama batters en route to the win.
The Athens, Tennessee, native is now 10-0 on the year.
With the series loss, Alabama (24-10, 2-4 SEC) has now dropped its first two SEC series for the first time in program history. Alabama starter Montana Fouts threw just 2.2 innings on Sunday, allowing five runs on four hits. She took the loss and is 11-6 in 2023.
The Tide scored first with a pair of runs in the second. Ashley Prange drove in Ally Shipman for the game’s first run before eventually being walked in herself for their second run.
The Lady Vols struck back in the third thanks to a Milloy three-run home run – her 14th homer of the year – to left.
Tennessee added two more runs after Giulia Koutsoyanopulos homered to right center – which was initially called a three-run shot – but was reversed to a single with an unassisted out credited to the first baseman after Koutsoyanopulos passed base runner Brylee Mesusan. Koutsoyanopulos was called out on the play but the two runners on base scored to give UT a 5-2 lead after three.
The Big Orange added a little insurance as they tacked on two more runs in the fourth off a Lair Beautae double to center, scoring Rylie West and Milloy.
Not going quietly, Alabama pushed back in the top half of the fifth with a solo home run from Kenleigh Cahalan and a two-run homer off the bat of Bailey Dowling – cutting Tennessee’s lead to 7-5.
After giving up the three runs in the fifth, Rogers stimmed the Tide in the sixth and seventh – sitting Alabama down 1-2-3 in both innings.
LIKE SHE WAS NEVER OUT
Since returning to the starting lineup full-time last weekend at LSU, sophomore Lair Beautae is Tennessee’s leading hitter at .381 (8-for-21) with one home run, seven RBIs, a double and five runs scored.
DEALING IN THE SEC
With Ashley Rogers’ two wins against Alabama, the righty is now 4-0 in SEC play with a 0.98 ERA, three complete games and a pair of shutouts. She has notched 32 strikeouts in 28.2 innings of work, while surrendering just four runs on eight hits.
Tennessee has a quick turnaround as it gets set to play ETSU at home on Tuesday night. The first pitch is slated for 6 p.m. ET and the game can be streamed on SEC Network+ or heard on UTSports.com with The Voice of the Lady Vols Brian Rice.