KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Megan Geer's three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning was the difference in No. 14/13 Tennessee's 7-4 series-clinching win over South Carolina on Sunday afternoon at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.
With the game tied at four in the bottom of the sixth, Geer came to the plate with two on and two out. After a six-pitch at-bat, Geer hammered a 3-2 pitch off the scoreboard in left center to break the tie and give Tennessee a 7-4 lead.
The Volunteers (21-3, 2-1 SEC) were outhit 8-4 but drew 10 walks off of Gamecocks starting pitcher Jessica Elliott. Meghan Gregg and Geer both had three walks apiece while Scarlet McSwain also reached base twice via walk.
Matty Moss and Caylan Arnold shared duties in the circle with Moss getting the start and going five innings while allowing two runs and striking out five. Arnold tossed two innings in relief, also giving up two runs, but earned the win to improve to 9-3 on the year.
For the first time in the series the Vols opened the scoring, tallying three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Brooke Vines doubled home a pair of runs after Gregg and Geer reached on back-to-back walks with one out. Two wild pitches by Elliott allowed Vines to come around to score the third run of the inning.
Some heads up base running by CJ McClain helped the Big Orange extend its lead to 4-0 in the second inning. McClain originally held at third base on an infield single by Aubrey Leach, but took off for home well after the throw down to first base to catch the Gamecocks' defense sleeping.
South Carolina (18-7, 1-2 SEC) broke up the shutout with two runs in the top of the fifth. Kennedy Clark drove in the first run with an RBI groundout and Krystan White followed with a single to center field to cut the deficit to 4-2.
The Vols let a chance to add to their lead slip away in the fifth, leaving the bases loaded. Gregg, Geer and McSwain all walked to load the bases but Arnold popped out to end the threat.
The Gamecocks pulled even in the top of the sixth thanks to an RBI double by Kaylea Snaer and a sacrifice fly by Clark. Arnold got White to strikeout swinging with runners on second and third to end the frame and strand the go-ahead run at third base.
Tennessee didn't wait long to retake the lead as Geer hit an absolute bomb off the scoreboard in left center to put the Vols back on top by three. Arnold retired the side in order in the top of the seventh, striking out Taylor Williams to end the game and give UT a series win to open SEC play for the second straight year.
VOLS TAKE FIRST SEC SERIES: For the second consecutive year, Tennessee won its first SEC series of the season by taking two of three games from the Gamecocks. UT dropped Game 1 Friday night but bounced back with a 10-4 win in Game 2 on Saturday, and won the rubber match on Sunday.
GEER COMES UP CLUTCH: As she often does, senior Megan Geer came up clutch for Tennessee in Sunday's win. The California native reached base in all four of her at-bats and crushed a three-run homer in the sixth inning that proved to be the game winner.
UP NEXT: Tennessee hits the road for four games next week, starting with a neutral-site showdown with No. 2/4 Auburn on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET in Columbia, Tenn. Fans can listen to the game live on UTSports.com.