Late-Inning Surge Pushes #4 Lady Vols Past Auburn

(Courtesy / UT Athletics)

Late-Inning Surge Pushes #4 Lady Vols Past Auburn

AUBURN, Ala. – The fourth-ranked Lady Vols used a late-inning scoring surge to extend their winning streak to 19 straight games, defeating Auburn Friday night at Jane B. Moore Stadium, 5-1.
 
Tennessee (27-4, 7-0 SEC) owns the nation’s longest active win streak, while also claiming the second-longest road winning streak in the country – having won 11 in a row away from home.
 
Junior Sophia Nugent led Tennessee at the plate Friday, blasting two home runs to finish 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored and three RBIs.
 
Nugent opened the scoring in the second inning with a two-run shot – her fifth of the season – deep over the left field wall.
 
Auburn (15-10-1, 2-8 SEC) answered back in the third as it loaded the bases before a hit batter brought home the Tigers’ lone run of the game.
 
Senior Rylie West kick-started the late push for UT as she clubbed her ninth home run of the year to lead off the sixth inning. West’s blast set a single-season career-high for home runs, surpassing her 2021 season when she knocked eight out of the park.
 
With two away, Nugent hit her second long ball of the night with a solo home run to extend Tennessee’s lead 4-1.
 
Tennessee scratched across one final run on a Zaida Puni single in the seventh.
 
Sophomore Karlyn Pickens got the start for the Lady Vols in the circle, lasting three innings before giving way to graduate right-hander Payton Gottshall in the fourth.
 
Pickens finished the night with two strikeouts, two walks and allowed one run on one hit. Gottshall tossed the final four frames, scattering three hits with three strikeouts en route to her 12th victory of the season.
 
Maddie Penta started for Auburn on Friday night, allowing four runs on six hits, with five strikeouts and three walks over six innings of work. She suffered the loss and is now 8-6 on the year.
 
Annabelle Widra relieved Penta to start the seventh and gave up a run on one hit and a walk.
 
STAT OF THE DAY
With Friday’s win, Tennessee tied the 2023 squad for the best start to conference play in program history.
 
UP NEXT
The Lady Vols and Tigers are back in action Saturday for game two of the three-game series. First pitch is slated for 5 p.m. ET.

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