Shortstop Josh Morris belted a grand slam in the top of the sixth inning

to propel ninth-ranked Tennessee to a 9-5 victory over East Tennessee State

in Johnson City on Wednesday.

The Volunteers, winners of six consecutive games, came to bat in the

top of the sixth inning with the score knotted at four apiece. Jason Evans

began the frame with a single to center field. Following a Donnie Ross walk,

Mike Garrett loaded the bases on a fielder's choice. That set the table

for Morris to launch his second home run of the season. Sonny Cortez closed

out the Tennessee scoring in the sixth with a two-run home run to right-center

field.

East Tennessee State, losers of six in a row, plated four of its five

runs on home runs. Freshman Chris Mayes registered a three-run shot in the

second inning, with junior Rodney McLain hitting a solo homer in the bottom

of the ninth inning.

Freshman right-hander Matt Huskey (1-0) earned the win in relief for

the Volunteers. Huskey gave up three hits and one run in two and one-third

innings of work. Senior Justin Snow (0-1) absorbed the loss for the Buccaneers.

Snow opened the sixth inning for ETSU, but retired just two Tennessee batters.

Tennessee improves to 12-2 with the win, while ETSU drops to 4-6. The

Volunteers open Southeastern Conference play at Mississippi State today.

Softball heads to California

The Lady Vol softball team, 8-10 overall, will head to the West Coast

this weekend to compete in the Fresno State Softball Classic. Hosted by

the fifth-ranked FSU Bulldogs, the tournament will feature 10 teams divided

into round-robin pool play but will not contain a playoff round.

Tennessee played hosts Fresno State last night. Results were not available

at press time. Today, the Lady Vols will face No. 22 Kansas (10-8) at 8

a.m. PT and 1997 Women's College World Series participant UCLA (8-4) at

2 p.m. PT. They will also play Indiana (3-6) on Saturday at 10 a.m. PT.

Through 18 games, junior shortstop Lisa Warren continues to be the club's

top hitter, batting .441 (30-68) out of the leadoff spot. Last weekend,

the Escondido, Calif., native was selected the MVP of the Lady Vol Invitational

and aims to extend her school-record hitting streak of 15 games. Junior

second baseman Kelli Fitzgerald (.349, 12 runs, 11 RBI) and senior Jodi

Ramirez (.319, 1 HR, 7 RBI) have also made significant contributions for

head coach Jim Beitia.

In the pitching circle, the duo of juniors Sarah Ayers (6-7, 1.90 ERA,

40 strikeouts) and Buffy Walker (1-1, 0.00 ERA, 11 strikeouts) has limited

opponents to a .247 average at the plate. In addition, Ayers was a perfect

3-0 in the tournament last weekend.

The Lady Vols seek to improve their 3-19 mark against clubs ranked in

the top 25, including a 1-3 record this season. On Feb. 15, UT edged No.

3 Washington, 2-1, at the Coca-Cola Classic in Phoenix, Ariz.

Copyright © 1998, The Daily Beacon. All rights reserved.