Former Meigs star Ashley Rogers allows three hits in 161 pitches as Lady Vols advance

Tennessee played the longest game in its softball history and the longest game in Southeastern Conference tournament history Thursday afternoon, topping Mississippi State 1-0 in 13 innings.

Ashley Rogers was there for every pitch.

The former Meigs County High School standout hurled herself into the record books by throwing 161 pitches and allowing just three hits during her complete game in Gainesville, Florida. The 5-foot-10 senior topped Tennessee's previous record stint of 11 innings that had been shared by Ellen Renfroe (three times), Monica Abbott and current Lady Volunteers pitching coach Megan Rhodes Smith.

"I was not being pulled out of that game," Rogers said afterward in an SEC Network interview. "I did not want to come out. I was feeling good, and I just wanted to be as efficient as possible. I think I did that pretty well, and the defense was awesome behind me."

The 13-inning marathon, which consumed three hours and 58 minutes, surpassed Tennessee's 5-3 loss to Oklahoma in 12 innings during the championship opener of the 2013 College World Series.

Freshman Lair Beautae ended the game in the bottom of the 13th with a single to right-center field that scored sophomore Ryle West from second base. By downing the 11th-seeded Bulldogs, the third-seeded Lady Vols improved to 39-15 and earned a semifinal date with seventh-seeded Missouri, which upset second-seeded Alabama 3-0 early Thursday evening.

Tennessee and Missouri will square off Friday afternoon at 3, with ESPN2 televising the matchup.

Rogers retired nine of the first 10 batters she faced before yielding a leadoff walk to Bulldogs catcher Mia Davidson in the fourth. She then proceeded to retire 17 consecutive batters before walking Davidson again in the ninth.

Mississippi State did produce two baserunners in the 11th and 13th innings, but Rogers was able to escape those threats with a popup and a double play, respectively.

"I just felt that I had a good mix and that I didn't have to rely on one pitch or one side of the plate," Rogers said. "I was just trying to keep them off balance."

Thursday's outing by Rogers transpired exactly one year after she threw nine innings during a 3-2 triumph over Texas A&M in the opening round of the league tournament.

Baseball Vols win

Tennessee used a familiar swing of the bat and a unique pitching combination Thursday night to take a 5-2 victory over Georgia in the series opener inside Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

The Vols improved to 44-6 overall and to 21-4 in SEC play, and they can clinch no worse than a share of the overall league title by topping the Bulldogs again Friday afternoon (5:30 on SEC Network).

Trey Lipscomb set the tone for the opening win with a home run to left field in the second inning, which was the 20th this season for the senior third baseman. Blake Burns wound up going deep twice, with the freshman designated hitter delivering solo shots in the fourth and seventh innings.

Tennessee has played most of this season with Chase Burns starting the opening game each weekend and Chase Dollander pitching the middle contest. On Thursday, however, Dollander got the start and racked up six strikeouts in six innings while allowing one run.

Burns entered in the seventh inning and quickly tallied three strikeouts, and he would get two more outs in the eighth before being replaced by Redmond Walsh, who earned the save.

Georgia, which dropped to 32-17 overall and to 13-12 in the SEC, scored on Cole Tate's homer to right in the third inning and Tate's RBI double in the eighth.

Baseball Vols win

Tennessee used a familiar swing of the bat and a unique pitching combination Thursday night to take a 5-2 victory over Georgia in the series opener inside Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

The Vols improved to 44-6 overall and to 21-4 in SEC play, and they can clinch no worse than a share of the overall league title by topping the Bulldogs again Friday afternoon (5:30 on SEC Network).

Trey Lipscomb set the tone for the opening win with a home run to left field in the second inning, which was the 20th this season for the senior third baseman. Blake Burns wound up going deep twice, with the freshman designated hitter delivering solo shots in the fourth and seventh innings.

Tennessee has played most of this season with Chase Burns starting the opening game each weekend and Chase Dollander pitching the middle contest. On Thursday, however, Dollander got the start and racked up six strikeouts in six innings while allowing one run.

Burns entered in the seventh inning and quickly tallied three strikeouts, and he would get two more outs in the eighth before being replaced by Redmond Walsh, who earned the save.

Georgia, which dropped to 32-17 overall and to 13-12 in the SEC, scored on Cole Tate's homer to right in the third inning and Tate's RBI double in the eighth.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.