KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UTSports.com) -Lexi Overstreetset the tone with a two-run homer in the first inning and Annie Aldretebashed a grand slam in the third inning as No. 4/2 Tennessee crushed Western Carolina, 15-0, in five innings on Tuesday for its biggest win of the season.
Tennessee (22-2) scored three in the first inning and three in the second before pouring on nine runs in the third to put the game out of reach. UT's 15 runs are its most scored since a 15-0 win at Ole Miss on April 20, 2013. The Lady Vols' 14 hits in the win were their most since connecting for 15 hits in a 14-3 win over Oakland on Feb. 9 in Tampa, Fla.
Aldrete was 2-for-3 with the grand slam, five RBIs and two runs scored. Overstreet was 1-for-1 with the two-run homer, three RBIs, two runs and two walks. Rainey Gaffin was a perfect 3-for-3 with a triple and three RBIs. Haley Tobler went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Melissa Davin was 2-for-3 with one RBI and two runs and Shaliyah Geathers was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Ellen Renfroe improved to 13-0 on the year after tossing three shutout frames with five strikeouts and just one hit allowed.Rainey Gaffin had three strikeouts and allowed just one hit over two scoreless relief innings.
Courtney Buchanan (4-1) took the loss for Western Carolina, allowing six earned runs over two innings. Mallory Broome gave up seven earned runs while recording just one out in the third. Jordan Garrett allowed two earned runs over 1.2 relief frames.
Tennessee jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. With two outs, Aldrete hit an RBI single through the left side to plate Davin for UT's first run. In the next at-bat, Overstreet hammered a 2-0 pitch from Buchanan off the scoreboard in left field to give the Lady Vols a 3-0 advantage.
The UT offense kept rolling in the second inning with three more runs. With two on and one out, Megan Geer hit an RBI single to left field to score Geathers from third base. Davin followed with an RBI single through the left side to plate Gaffin.Madison Shipman drew a walk to load the bases with one out and Overstreet drew a walk to drive in Geer for Tennessee's sixth run of the game.
The Lady Vols exploded to nine runs in the bottom of the third inning to put the game well out of reach. With Broome in the circle to start the third, Tobler and Geathers hit back-to-back singles. Gaffin followed with an RBI triple to deep center field to push UT's lead to 8-0. Geer walked and Davin was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Two batters later, Aldrete hammered a 1-2 pitch to center field for the grand slam. Three batters later, Tobler hit a two-RBI double to left field to plate Hannah Akamine and Overstreet. With Tobler on third and two outs, Gaffin knocked an RBI single to right field to give the Lady Vols the 15-0 lead.
Shipman went 0-for-3 with a walk in the game and saw her single-season, school-record-tying 20-game hitting streak come to an end.
UT will open its SEC schedule this weekend in Fayetteville, Ark., taking on Arkansas in a three-game series from March 14-16.