Tennessee Tech proved in the first inning they could hit the softball against the Lady Vols on Tuesday night.
But senior shortstop Madison Shipman's homerun to deep center field during her first at-bat proved that the Lady Vols had more than enough fire power to combat any legitimate threat from the Golden Eagles.
The No. 2 Tennessee Lady Volunteers softball team (33-5) cruised to an easy 13-5 victory over the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (12-31) at Lee Stadium, giving the team its 80th consecutive win over in-state opponents.
Shipman laid the lumber for the Lady Vols Tuesday night, hitting two home runs, which upper her total to 11 on the season – already a career-high high for the senior.
"I guess (the career-high) feels pretty good," Shipman said. "I try not to think about that too much actually. I really don't even know that. I've just been working really hard this year on my hitting especially; I am doing what I wanted to."
"Whatever I can do to make the team better, that's what I am trying to do."
Shipman wasn't the only Lady Vol who was hitting the ball well at the start of the game as the Tennessee scored seven runs in the first inning after the Golden Eagles jumped to a quick 2-0 lead earlier in the inning.
UT then responded with three home runs in their half inning, as Shipman, Melissa Davin and Cheyanne Tarango each sent shots over the wall, giving the Lady Vols a 7-2 lead they wouldn't relinquish.
A pitching change from Tennessee Tech, however, stunted the UT attack, something that the Lady Vols took as a negative from their midweek victory.
"Whenever they make a pitching change, you've got to adjust to that pitcher, and we didn't do a good job of making adjustments to that second pitcher," Shipman said. "I think we lost a little focus there."
The Golden Eagles threatened to make the game interesting in the third inning after they brought three runs across to cut the lead to 8-5.
But UT put an end to that in the fifth inning with a five-run outburst, highlighted by freshman Annie Aldrete's three-run double that forced the game to end via run rule.
"I was really just trying not to pop up," Aldrete said. "We have the whole record of pop-ups in the dugout, and I mean if you hit it on the ground, something good is bound to happen. They are either going to make an error or the ground will help you out.
"So that's what I was trying to do, just hit it on the ground, get at least one run in, so I can keep the inning going."
Tennessee will resume their schedule this weekend as the team travels to College Station, Texas, to play Texas A&M Lady Aggies on Friday for a three-game series. First pitch for Friday's contest is scheduled for 8 p.m EST.
"Texas A&M is a very strong team," co-head coach Karen Weekly said. "They can hit the ball very well. I understand college station is a pretty crazy environment to play in, so that will be a new experience for our girls."