The 2018 Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, California hosts some of the best softball talent every year. Each team that competes in the yearly classic has a chance to walk away undefeated or without a win. This year was no different.
Tennessee entered the tournament as the No. 11 team in the country with a 10-1 record. Coached by Ralph and Karen Weekly, the Lady Vols were a favorite to sweep their Nutter Classic schedule, and they did just that.
In their first game, Tennessee routed BYU 13-0. Defending SEC Player of the Year Meghan Gregg hit her second home run of the year, bringing in two runs in the top of the first. Ace pitcher Caylan Arnold finished the day with four strikeouts while only allowing three hits.
Tennessee then took on the Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman. In the second inning, junior Abby Lockman hit a solo homer over the right field fence to give Tennessee a 3-1 lead. Matty Moss picked up the win over the Wildcats after allowing one run and striking out four. The 7-1 victory kept the Lady Vols perfect on the first day of the classic.
On day two, Tennessee’s first game came against UC Davis. Much like their first game against BYU, the Lady Vols did not allow any runs to the Aggies. Tennessee didn’t waste any time scoring, as RBI’s from Chelsea Seggern and Scarlet McSwain gave the Lady Vols an early 2-0 lead. Matty Moss got the win and improved to 7-1 on the season.
The Vols face the Oregon State Beavers next. Arguably playing against their best competition so far in the classic, the Lady Vols looked to establish their dominance early.
Meghan Gregg blasted a 3 run home run in the top of the first to give the Lady Vols a 3-0 lead. Tennessee’s bats stayed cold until the fifth and sixth innings, when the Lady Vols scored three runs each. Tennessee beat Oregon State 9-3 and remained perfect in the classic.
Day three started with the toughest team that the Lady Vols face this season, the No. 2 Oregon Ducks.
Tennessee knew that if it wanted to win, the Lady Vols would have to score early. The only run in the game came from Jenna Holcomb after Gregg hit an RBI double in the bottom of the first. The Lady Vols beat Oregon 1-0 thanks to strong outings from pitchers Matty Moss and Caylan Arnold.
The sixth and final game of the Mary Nutter Classic for Tennessee came against Northwestern. Caylan Arnold carried the Lady Vols with a dominating pitching performance and her season high 13 strikeouts.
Arnold improved to 6-0 on the season after her performance against the Wildcats. Chelsea Seggern drove in three runs to push Tennessee to a 6-1 win on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, the Lady Vols remained perfect in the Mary Nutter Classic and showed the country how dominant they can be. They improve to 16-1 on the season and look to continue their streak. Their next game will come against Charleston Southern on Friday, March 2 in the Tennessee Invitational in Knoxville.
Edited by Seth Raborn
Feature image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics