[title_box title=”Softball Vols win 4-of-5 in Michele Smith Invitational”]
The Vols’ softball team spent the weekend in Clearwater, Florida playing in the Michele Smith Pediatric Cancer Invitational. Tennessee entered the tournament ranked in the top 15 with a record of 4-2.
Tennessee got things started by taking on No. 19 James Madison and ace Jailyn Ford. The Vols fell to the Dukes in the opening game of the tournament 9-0.
Tennessee fell behind early, giving up three runs in the top of the first inning, on two hits and one error. Ford struck out eight Vols and held Tennessee to just two hits. UT loaded the bases in the bottom of the first inning after Megan Geer drew a 2-out walk.
Ford then struck out Gretchen Aucoin, ending the best chance to score the Vols would get all game. The Dukes added two more runs in the second, one in the third and three in the fourth to seal the dominating win over the Vols.
Tennessee didn’t have long to think about the loss before meeting Oklahoma State in the second game of a Friday double-header.
Tennessee switched gears and exploded for a 14-4 victory. The Vols ended it early as they hit the run-rule in the fifth inning. Shaliyah Geathers lead the Vols offensively, recording a career best four hits and four RBIs and scoring two runs. She was one of seven Vols to drive in a run during the game. UT scored five runs in the third.
Oklahoma State added three runs in the bottom of the fourth. However, five Vols would post RBIs in an eight-run inning to put the game out of reach. Gabriel retired the side in order in the bottom of the fifth to give the Vols the win.
Tennessee got things going early on Saturday, beating Fordham 10-2.
Freshman pitcher Matty Moss recorded a solid day in the circle, pitching four innings and allowing six hits and one strikeout. While Moss gave up six hits she keep Fordham form scoring. Rainey Gaffin struck out three Rams in two innings of relief work, but gave up two runs on two hits. The Vols scored in every inning but the first.
Tennessee picked up its second win of the day with a hard fought 6-4 victory over South Florida.
Gaffin and Geer both hit solo home runs to lead the Vols offensively. Geer also hit a leadoff solo homerun in the top of the fourth. Gaffin had an answer for the Bulls late in the game with the Vols second lead-off homer of the day. She also picked up her second save of the season after reliving Gabriel.
Tennessee finished off the tournament with a dominant 16-4 run-rule win over DePaul Sunday.
The Vols recorded a season high three home runs in their third run-rule win of the weekend. Geathers topped the career high she set on Friday vs. Oklahoma State by bringing in five RBIs against the Blue Demons. Five Vols recorded multiple RBIs. UT blew things open with a seven-run inning. Gabriel moved to 5-1 after striking out seven batters in the game.
Tennessee (8-3) will host Dayton on Thursday in its first home game of the 2016 season. First pitch is at 3 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.
Featured image by Kevan Elkins
Edited by Cody McClure