Vol softball rallies late to upend North Florida

After trailing for the majority of the contest, the Vols scored six runs in the seventh inning in a 9-4 road victory over North Florida.

KNOXVILLE,TN - MARCH 06, 2016 - Outfielder Shaliyah Geathers #8 during the game between the St. John's Red Storm and the Tennessee Volunteers at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Craig Bisacre/Tennessee Athletics

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All of the problems that plagued the Tennessee Volunteers’ softball team earlier in the season began to resurface, but after trailing for the majority of Wednesday evening’s contest against the North Florida Ospreys, Tennessee (21-5, 3-0 SEC) scored six seven-inning runs to breeze past North Florida (11-16) 9-4.

Second basemen Aubrey Leach’s throwing error in the first inning allowed the Ospreys to score two early runs. On offense, Tennessee’s hitters struggled to connect with Janet Snipe’s pitches, reaching base only once after three innings.

The Vols finally got on the board in the fourth inning when Meghan Gregg drove in Megan Geer from third. North Florida responded in the bottom half of the inning with a run of their own after another error by the Volunteer defense. Freshman Brooke Vines’ sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth brought Tennessee within one, and Geer followed with a double to tie the game at three runs apiece.

The Vols have grown accustom to run-ruling opponents, with seven of their last nine games ending in five innings. But for six innings, the Osprey’s excellent pitching extended the game until Tennessee’s bats finally caught fire in the final inning.

Rainey Gaffin opened the seventh inning with a double before being driven in by Vines, who scored on a North Florida fielding error, giving the Vols their first lead of the game. Lexi Overstreet continued her scorching start to the season later in the inning with a two-run blast. Scarlet McSwain’s solo shot provided the final blow delivered by Tennessee’s offense. Overstreet’s two RBIs give her 32 on the season, tying her career high.

The No. 16-ranked Vols needed three pitchers to notch their 11th-consecutive victory. Ace Erin Gabriel started, but was pulled after the first inning. Freshman Matty Moss pitched 3.1 innings, allowing three hits and an unearned run. Gaffin earned her fourth victory of the season by pitching over the final 2.2 innings.

Tennessee begins a difficult three-game series against the No. 1 Florida Gators in Gainesville on Friday. The first pitch is slated for 7 p.m. ET.

Featured image by Craig Bisacre, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

Edited by Nathan Odom

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