NCAA Tournament: Lady Vols defeat Eastern Kentucky in opener

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The Lady Vols (42-13) opened the NCAA Tournament on a winning note Friday.

No. 18 Tennessee, the tournament’s No. 16 national seed, defeated Eastern Kentucky, 8-1, in the opening round of the Knoxville Regional at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.

The Lady Vols will advance to play No. 22 James Madison (35-1) in a winners bracket game at noon EDT Saturday.

The Dukes outlasted Liberty, 4-3, in 10 innings Friday.

Amanda Ayala went 3-for-4 with three RBIs for Tennessee. Ayala scored the game’s first run when she came home on a first-inning single by Ashley Morgan.

After the Colonels (35-16) scored a run in the top of the second frame to even the game, 1-1, UT broke the tie in the bottom of the fifth.

The Lady Vols took a 3-1 lead in the inning as Ayala and Madison Webber came up with RBI singles.

The Lady Vols then scored five runs in the sixth. Ivy Davis hit a three-run homer out of the park.

On the mound, Tennessee junior Ashley Rogers tossed a complete game, yielding one run and four hits.

Rogers, who improved to 28-6 on the season, finished the contest with six strikeouts.