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Bearden’s two grand slams power Tennessee over ETSU, 11-0

Tanner Cook • Updated Apr 16, 2019 at 9:14 PM

The East Tennessee State softball team faced a tough task in a midweek nonconference matchup with No. 8 Tennessee on Tuesday night at Betty Basler Field.

The Buccaneers (17-20-2) held the Lady Vols to three hits, but two of those were grand slams by Haley Bearden and ETSU dropped its eighth straight game, 11-0.

Bearden ended her night going 2-for-3 with eight RBIs and a walk.

The Lady Vols have been known for their potent offense all season and have now outscored their opponents 269-82 through three-fourths of their schedule.

Aubrey Leach, Kaitlin Parsons and Chelsea Seggern all scored at least twice for Tennessee without recording a hit. The Lady Vols struck out just five times as a team and improve to 8-2 in true road games.

Starter Ashley Rogers and Matty Moss combined for the no-hitter for the Lady Vols, who improved to 33-8 on the season, winning the last five contests.

“We’re playing well, but I told Brad (Irwin) this: we had three hits. But we worked a lot of walks and we were patient at the plate,” Tennessee co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. “They’ve got a good team and that score really doesn’t show that. It could’ve been a 5-0 game and we respect what they’re doing here. I’m pleased with our kids’ discipline at the plate tonight.”

The Lady Vols drew 12 walks from three different ETSU pitchers. For the Bucs, it was the second-most walks they given up this season — behind only the 16 surrendered against St. Francis early in the season. The first three batters for Tennessee didn’t register an official at-bat, but drew a combined 10 walks.

Kelly Schmidt started the game for ETSU and ended up with the loss, but was taken out when she threw a wild pitch way over the catcher’s head in the third inning. She immediately reached for her shoulder and received immediate attention by the athletic trainers.

Taylor Boling replaced her, but did not do much better, allowing seven runs.

“Going into any game, if you told me that we’d give up just three hits, I’d take it,” ETSU head coach Brad Irwin said. “Of course, two of those were really big hits. They had eight runs off of those two hits. When you put runners on, they’re going to eventually come back and hurt you. … This is not the kind of pitching we see in our conference every day. Our kids got in there and gave it everything they had. I think it prepares us for the weekend and we won’t go the rest of the season and see that again.”

ETSU had just one baserunner in the game, which was a walk by Jordan Durbin in the second inning. Tennessee pitchers combined for nine strikeouts with Rogers tallying eight of them.

The Bucs also fall to just 2-7 at home on the season and 0-19 all-time against Tennessee.

Up next for ETSU is a home series with Southern Conference for Furman beginning on Thursday. The next six games for the Bucs are key as they’re all conference home games.

The Lady Vols will hit the road for a crucial weekend series with the Georgia Bulldogs beginning on Friday.

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