KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- No. 14/13 Tennessee was unable to come up with clutch hits and struggled with walks in a 9-1 loss to South Carolina to open SEC play on Friday night at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.
Caylan Arnold walked five batters and gave up two home runs in 2.2 innings pitched to fall to 8-3 on the season. The Volunteers (19-3, 0-1 SEC) also struggled offensively, managing only one run on three hits while leaving 10 runners on base.
Arnold ran into trouble in the top of the second after retiring the first two batters of the inning. Jordyn Augustus and Taylor Williams drew back-to-back walks before Arnold hit pinch hitter Shannon Plese to load the bases. Gamecocks' leadoff hitter Kaylea Snaer made the Vols pay by hammering an 0-1 pitch over the center-field wall for a grand slam to put USC up 4-0.
Tennessee got a run back in bottom half of the inning thanks to a bases-loaded walk by Aubrey Leach. Chelsea Seggern started the inning off with a single, extending her hit streak to five games, before Taylor Rowland singled and Scarlet McSwain walked to put runners on every base.
Another long ball extended South Carolina's lead to five in the third inning. Arnold walked Tiara Duffy to put a runner on base for Victoria Williams, who preceded to hit a two-run homer to right center and put the Gamecocks up 6-1.
Two walks and a fielder's choice loaded the bases for UT again in the bottom of the fourth but a strikeout by USC pitcher Jessica Elliott on a full count ended the threat. The Vols came away empty again in the fifth after putting runners on the corners with one out.
Walks came back to haunt UT again in the top of the sixth as the Gamecocks scratched across three more runs with another two-out rally. After retiring the first two batters, the Vols gave up a single and walked two hitters two load the bases. RBI singles by Krystan White and Duffy extended the South Carolina lead to 9-1.
Snaer led USC (18-5, 1-0 SEC) with a 3-for-4 performance and four RBIs while Elliott gave up just one run in a complete-game effort despite issuing six walks.
SEGGERN EXTENDS HIT STREAK: After struggling at the plate over the first few weeks of the season, freshman third baseman Chelsea Seggern has found her groove over the past few weeks. The Texas native went 1-for-2 and scored Tennessee's only run on the night. Seggern has now had a hit in the past five games.
STRANDED: The Vols loaded up the bases in the second and fourth innings but could only scratch across one run. Tennessee left a total of 10 runners on base.
UP NEXT: Tennessee will look to bounce back in Game 2 of the series with first pitch set for 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. The game will be broadcast live on the SEC Network and can also be heard on Sports Radio WNML (AM 990) as well as UTSports.com.