Tennessee softball dominates Eastern Kentucky, 10-1

Photo by Brad Blackwelder.

Tennessee softball just can’t lose.

At least, that’s what it seems like after the Vols (32-5, 6-3 SEC) beat Eastern Kentucky (14-19, 3-2 OVC) 10-1 to extend their winning streak to 11 straight games.

Moss and Arnold stay dominant

The pitching duo of Matty Moss and Caylan Arnold has been electric all season, and Tuesday’s contest against the Colonels was no exception Moss allowed just two hits in 3.1 innings, earning her 16th win of the season. Arnold finished the game by pitching the final 1.2 innings, with Eastern Kentucky earning just one hit off of the freshman. The only run for the Colonels came in the top of the second inning off of a double by Kelly Wood.

Brooke Vines can’t be stopped

Brooke Vines continued her excellent season with a dominant performance against Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday. The sophomore racked up a pair of hits and a pair of RBIs, with one of the hits being her second home run on the season. Over the Vols’ 11-game winning streak, Vines has had 19 hits and 24 RBIs, as well as both of her homers.

Quick stats

  • After a second-inning single, Megan Geer has now reached base in 17 consecutive games, the longest streak on the team.
  • Junior outfielder C.J. McClain had a pair of steals, increasing her total on the season to 17, most on the team.
  • Meghan Gregg increased her team-leading RBI total to 52 with a third-inning double to right field.

What’s Next

No. 19 Tennessee completed their 10-game home stand on Tuesday night, and the team travels to Lexington over the weekend for a three-game series against the No. 20-ranked Kentucky Wildcats.

Photo by Brad Blackwelder

Raborn: The NCAA Tournament was perfect this year

The 2017 NCAA Tournament was one of the best tournaments in recent years for one simple reason: there was a lack of early upsets. Upsets are the staple of the NCAA Tournament, no? However, an excess of upsets is damaging to the layout of the tournament and prevents viewers from seeing the matchups they really want to see.

This year, there was one No. 10 seed over No. 7 seed upset as well as a couple of No. 11 seed wins over No. 6 seeds, and one No. 12 seed over a No. 5 seed. Outside of that, the first round was clean and made some great second round matchups. People got to see Kentucky and Wichita State in the rematch from 2016 and an improbable win with Wisconsin defeating the defending Champion Villanova Wildcats. Viewers also got to see one of the best matchups in the whole tournament when South Carolina’s stingy defense played against one of the most dangerous offenses in the nation in Duke. Upsets in the first round like were seen in in 2015 and last year would have prevented these matchups from happening.

The Sweet Sixteen featured a matchup between arguably the two best players in the nation: Malik Monk of Kentucky and Lonzo Ball of UCLA. The Sweet Sixteen was the highlight of the tournament this year when No. seed 11 Xavier upset No. 2 seed Arizona and No. 4 seed Florida stunned No. 8 seed Wisconsin on a buzzer-beating circus shot.

The Elite Eight did not feature any close matchups other than the No. 1 and No. 2 seed game between North Carolina and Kentucky. However, it forged one of the most interesting Final Fours in recent memory.

This year’s Final Four was one of the best I have seen in my lifetime. Two of the four teams, No. 1 seed Gonzaga and No. 7 seed South Carolina, had never been to a final four in their history as a basketball program. Also, No. 3 seed Oregon made its first Final Four appearance since the first NCAA Tournament in 1939 and No. 1 seed North Carolina returned to the Final Four in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2008-2009.

South Carolina nearly managed to complete a legendary comeback, but fell short in a close four-point loss to send Mark Few and Gonzaga to the national championship game. North Carolina won in a thriller as Oregon was unable to box out during the final free throws of the game. This made for the first matchup between two No. 1 seeds since 2015 when Duke and Wisconsin squared off.

Is this not what everyone wants to see? The best teams in the nation playing each other on the biggest stage?

Fans got to see the best Gonzaga team in history with guard Nigel Williams-Goss and two massive 7-footers in Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins take on guard Joel Berry and North Carolina, who returned to the championship game for the second year in a row. The result was exactly what you would expect from such a great matchup. It’s the kind of quality product that is produced when the NCAA Tournament plays out like it did this year. North Carolina clearly deserved the national championship because it had one of the toughest roads to the championship of any team. There was a perfect mix of Cinderella teams like Xavier and South Carolina, yet there were plenty of elite matchups that were noteworthy.

Until next year, folks.

Edited by Robert Hughes

Featured image from wikimedia.org, courtesy of Creative Commons