Lady Vols stay hot, beat ETSU 11-3

No. 7 ranked Tennessee (38-8, 8-7 SEC) picked up a huge non-conference win over ETSU Tuesday night in Knoxville. The Lady Vols’ 11-3 win marks their fifth straight and improves their home record to 14-2 on the season. Tennessee needed just six innings to put away the Buccaneers, as hot bats propelled the Vols to a win.

The Lady Vols kicked off scoring early in the second inning. Junior catcher Abby Lockman belted a solo homerun to left field. Tennessee put on more steam with a pair of singles from junior Aubrey Leach and freshman Amanda Ayala. The Lady Vols went up 4-0.

Another single from sophomore infielder Chelsea Seggern and two more unearned runs crossed the plate to give the Vols a 7-0 lead after just two innings of play. Not much time passed before Tennessee reached the scoreboard again. Leach hit an RBI-triple and then scored on an error to give the Lady Vols a 9-0 lead in the third inning.

The ladies from ETSU finally showed some life in the middle innings, as they scored three unearned runs in the fourth and fifth innings to cut the Tennessee lead down to six runs.

However, the clutch Lady Vols ended any hopes of the Bucs coming back in the sixth inning. Freshman Ashley Morgan ripped a double to score Seggern. Sophomore Cailin Hannon rounded out the scoring for Tennessee on the day as she reached on a fielding error to score Morgan.

Overall, the two teams combined for five errors and eight unearned runs in the sloppy midweek game. The Lady Vols bullpen also had a nice day, as senior Caylan Arnold came away with the win. Arnold, Matty Moss and Gabby Sprang combined to give up just three hits and recorded four strikeouts in the win.

Arnold improved to 18-4 on the season as eight different Tennessee players registered a hit against ETSU.

“It’s always good to get an in-state win,” Volunteers co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. “The problem with those kinds of games is you get up early and you don’t play as well… We try to get everybody in the game when we have a lead like that.”

The next three weekend series for Tennessee prove extremely important with the SEC Tournament coming up in just over three weeks. The Lady Vols look to improve their weak conference record against Alabama, Kentucky and Mississippi State in the coming weeks.

Up next, Tennessee will hit the road to face off against the Crimson Tide starting Saturday. First pitch will come at 5:30 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on SEC Network+.

Written by Seth Raborn 

Edited by Lexie Little

Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

Lady Vols lose to Auburn, drop third straight series

The Lady Vols’ (33-7) struggles continued, as they lost their weekend series with No. 11 Auburn on the road by a combined score of 9-2. Tennessee scored two runs in its first contest with the Tigers on Friday but went scoreless in the final two games of the series. The No. 8 ranked Vols now have an abysmal 5-7 record in SEC play this season.

Play seemed to be going Tennessee’s way to start the series on Friday. The Lady Vols put away Auburn by a score of 2-1 in eight innings. Sophomore Chelsea Seggern ripped an RBI single that finished as the game-winner for the Lady Vols in the top of the eighth inning.

The contest remained scoreless until Tennessee broke the silence in the sixth inning as senior shortstop Meghan Gregg drove in a runner off a ground out. Vols pitcher Matty Moss gave up a solo homerun from the Tigers in the seventh inning. She struck out three straight batters to get Tennessee out of the jam and send it to extra innings.

“It was a great game between two teams that are fighting for positioning in the SEC,” Vols co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. “Our kids played really hard in tough conditions and a hostile arena.”

The next matchup did not prove glamorous for Tennessee, as the Lady Vols fell victim to their own poor hitting. The Volunteers fell 2-0 and notched just one hit in the game. Moss didn’t get much help from her offense, as her two runs given up in the fourth inning defeated Tennessee.

Makayla Martin dominated for Auburn with six strikeouts and one hit given up in the complete-game. The Tigers’ only two runs came from a two-run homerun from the bat of Casey McCrackin.

The troubles in the batter’s box continued for the Lady Vols in the final game. Auburn once again held Tennessee scoreless. The Lady Vols only tabbed three hits in a 6-0 loss to Auburn. The duo of Moss and Caylan Arnold could not get the job done on the mound for the Vols, as they gave up a combined five earned runs on just four strikeouts.

A huge five-run fifth inning from the Tigers propelled them to their 37th win of the season. Auburn got sacrifice-fly to start in the scoring in the inning, as Alyssa Rivera drove a three-run homerun out of the park to finish their scoring for the evening.

Tennessee gets back to business on Tuesday with a road test in Columbia, Tennessee against in-state rival Memphis. The Lady Vols look to end their troublesome batting issues against a Tigers team that lost to East Carolina on Sunday.

Written by Seth Raborn

Edited by Lexie Little

Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

Lady Vols bounce back against Tennessee State

Eighth-ranked Tennessee (32-6) tallied a non-conference victory over the Tennessee State Tigers (3-32) Tuesday afternoon by a score of 3-0. The much-needed win came after a devastating Easter weekend series to No. 6 Georgia.

After facing the run-rule in back-to-back games against the Bulldogs for the first time ever, Tennessee regained momentum.

However, the orange-and-white got off to a slow start in the contest against a lackluster Tigers team. Tennessee State lost 15 straight games coming into the matchup at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.

Recent batting struggles continued for the Lady Vols, as they only recorded three hits in the entire game. Tennessee failed to score until the bottom of the fourth inning, when junior infielder Abby Leach tagged up on a sac-fly from sophomore infielder Chelsea Seggern to give the squad a 1-0 lead.

Caylan Arnold held her own in this contest for the Volunteers and improved to 14-3 on the mound this season. After losing three of her last four games, Arnold recorded seven strikeouts in the win. She chalked up 300 punch-outs in her young career at Tennessee.

Each of the Lady Vols’ final two runs came in the fifth inning, as they scored off a throwing error and an RBI single from senior outfielder CJ McClain. However, the batting problem for Tennessee remains a mystery, as they only recorded three hits on 21 at bats against the Tigers.

Vols co-head coach Ralph Weekly made sure to reach into his bullpen to insure a win. He brought in freshman pitcher Ashley Morgan to throw 21 pitches in two innings and Matty Moss to close out the contest. Morgan and Moss combined to allow just two hits and log three strikeouts.

Despite good pitching for Tennessee, Weekly still aired his grievances about the Lady Vols’ batting issues.

“That’s what I’m going to try to figure out,” Weekly said. “I’ve been able to spark the (hitting slump) lately with the slappers coming off the bench … I personally spent three hours this morning looking at hitting”

The Weeklys need to get the Lady Vols offense in order very soon. The Lady Vols hit the road to face No. 11 Auburn this weekend. Auburn is 33-7 and only lost one game at home this season. Tennessee begins the three-game series Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Written by Caleb Souders

Edited by Seth Raborn/Lexie Little

Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

No. 4 Lady Vols softball sweeps first SEC series

Fourth-ranked Tennessee (24-1) completed its first SEC sweep of the season Sunday against Missouri (16-9) at Sherri Lee Parker Stadium in Knoxville. The Lady Vols beat the Tigers by a combined series score of 25-7 and tallied their 16th straight win. Tennessee notched 35 hits in the sweep and dodged rain delays despite rough weather.

Things started slow for the Lady Vols in their first SEC game Friday. They recorded just three runs after six innings of play. However, former SEC Player of the Year Meghan Gregg broke through with a grand slam in the sixth inning to power Tennessee to a 7-4 win.

“The feeling of the ball coming off the bat was amazing,” Gregg said about the two-out grand slam. “You just know when it comes off the bat, you barely can even feel it.”

Sophomore pitcher Caylan Arnold contributed as well. She struck out eight batters in six innings pitched to get the win. Both Gregg and junior infielder Aubrey Leach batted 2-for-3 at the plate in the win.

The Lady Volunteers looked better Saturday. They shutout Missouri 7-0. Ace pitcher Matty Moss led Tennessee with seven strikeouts and no earned runs in four innings pitched. Freshman phenom Gabby Sprang finished out the contest with four strikeouts in three innings.

All Lady Vols scoring came in innings three through five, six combined runs coming in the third and fourth inning. Leach and senior outfielder CJ McClain both went a perfect 2-of-2 from the batter’s box on the day. Infielder Chelsea Seggern led Tennessee with two RBI.

Tennessee progressively improved over the weekend, finishing the weekend sweep by a score of 11-3 against the Tigers in just six innings. The Vols tallied 15 hits and got four RBI from both senior Scarlet McSwain and freshman Amanda Ayala.

“I think she is going to be an All-American. I don’t think there is a question,” Tennessee co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said about Ayala. “It is going to take a while, but I think she has got all the tools. She can run, throw, hit and think.”

Tennessee played a huge third inning. They registered seven of their 11 runs in that inning. Missouri responded with a pair of runs the next inning, but the Lady Vols put more pressure on by scoring four runs to complete the run rule.

“We worked with those kids early this morning. We just got up and said we are going to hit a little bit and change your stance a little bit and it worked out,” Weekly said. “If we can hit through the lineup then this team will be pretty awesome.”

The Weeklys and Tennessee hit the field again in Honolulu at the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine Classic Wednesday.

Edited by Ben McKee/Lexie Little

Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee softball drops first 2018 game in Michele Smith Tournament

The No. 10 ranked Lady Vols are off to a 10-1 start to the season after finishing 4-1 in the Michele Smith Tournament in Florida over the weekend. Tennessee beat its opponents by a combined 23-13 margin in the Sunshine State.

Tennessee started off the weekend with a game against No. 15 Oklahoma State on Friday. Catcher Abby Lockman and senior shortstop Meghan Gregg combined for four RBI’s to give Tennessee a 5-1 win over the Cowgirls. Oklahoma State’s only run of the game came from a solo homer to left-center field, as they had just four hits in the entire game.

Junior infielder Aubrey Leach started off the game with a leadoff walk that led to a triple and two RBI’s from Gregg to start the game. Lady Vols pitcher Matty Moss closed out the Cowgirls for good in her fourth win of the season. Tennessee racked up its third straight win over ranked opponents.

In their second game Friday, the Lady Vols took on UMass. Lockman played a huge factor in Tennessee’s win once again, logging a team-high three RBI’s against the River Hawks. Despite trailing early to UMass, the Lady Vols recovered with a Lockman double that drove in three runners in the third inning.

Tennessee pitcher Caylan Arnold finished the game with eight strikeouts in five innings pitched. She recorded her second win of the year. The final run of the game came from Chelsea Seggern who hit an RBI single to score Leach in the fourth inning.

Disaster struck for the first time in the 2018 season, as the Lady Vols dropped to Florida Atlantic on Saturday by a score of 3-2. Despite the loss, Moss registered her 300th career strikeout in five innings. The Owls got off to a hot start with a pair of solo homeruns in the first and second inning.

Tennessee evened the score in the sixth inning, but Florida Atlantic closed out the game with a game-winning run on a fielder’s choice. Outfielder CJ McClain and Gregg led the Lady Vols with an RBI each on a combined 3-of-6 hitting.

Seggern and Tennessee got back on track Sunday with a 7-4 win over South Florida. Seggern hit a two-run double in the bottom of the sixth inning to give the Lady Vols a win over the Bulls. Arnold once again had a solid day for Tennessee with nine strikeouts in five innings. Moss finished out the remaining two innings and got the win.

Three Tennessee players finished with two hits in the win, including Seggern, who managed to drive in four runs by herself. Tennessee finished the tournament with a game against Marshall on Sunday.

The Lady Vols clinched a narrow 5-4 win over the Thundering Herd. Gregg led Tennessee with a two-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning. Arnold tallied seven strikeouts for her 41st strikeout of the season.

Tennessee gets back to action next weekend in the Mary Nutter Classic in Palm Springs, California. The Lady Vols will face six teams, including No. 3 ranked Oregon, in the tournament.

Edited by Ben McKee 

Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics 

No. 11 Lady Vols sweep Kajikawa Classic

The Kajikawa Classic was no match for the Lady Vols (6-0) as they beat their six opponents by a combined score of 40-18. Tennessee’s ace pitcher Matty Moss notched three wins in the tournament, as shortstop Meghan Gregg led the Vols with an impressive 8-of-17 hitting from the plate.

Tennessee got off to a solid start on Thursday, as it took care of Boise State in convincing 8-1 fashion. Gregg tallied a perfect batting average to start the season by going 3-for-3 and logging five RBI’s in the opening game. Moss served up the Broncos from the mound with three strikeouts and no earned runs in her 2018 debut.

With two outs in the bottom of the first inning, Gregg smashed a solo homerun shot to deep center. However, Boise State tied the score at one run apiece. Gregg sent a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall to make it a 4-1 Volunteers lead. Gregg recorded her fifth RBI of the day to give Tennessee the 8-1 win over the Broncos.

Tennessee registered its first win against a ranked opponent later in the day, as the team defeated No. 19 Arizona State by a 7-4 margin. This time, senior Scarlet McSwain led the Volunteers in the batting column by going 2-of-3 and notching three RBI’s in the win. Pitcher Caylan Arnold didn’t start hot giving up three earned runs to the Sun Devils in two innings.

However, freshman Gabby Sprang closed out the remaining five innings with just one earned run allowed and four strikeouts for Tennessee. Infielder Aubrey Leach put the cherry on top for the Vols in the seventh inning as she scored on an Arizona State pitching error.

The Lady Vols got back in action against Western Michigan. Moss led Tennessee to a 6-2 win following her second complete game of the season. Tennessee got out to a fast start as Leach hit a ball to center field for a leadoff home run, followed up by McSwain, who hit her second home run of the tournament.

The Broncos cut the Tennessee lead to just three runs in the fifth inning, but an RBI single from infielder Chelsea Seggern gave the Vols another convincing lead. Tennessee finished off Western Michigan behind Moss’ six strikeouts and just two earned runs.

Tennessee received a wakeup call later in the day against San Jose State, winning 7-6. The Lady Vols led 7-4 through four innings, but allowed the Spartans to storm back and cut the lead to just one run. Sprang tallied her second win as a freshman, as Moss closed out the game for the Vols. Gregg notched a perfect 2-for-2 hitting on the day with one RBI, followed by Seggern, who had two RBI’s in the game.

Arnold got back on her feet against UC Davis Saturday whenTennessee cruised to a 6-0 victory over the Aggies. Arnold and Moss combined for 11 strikeouts and no earned runs in the win. Seggern once again performed well with a three-run home run in the first inning. McSwain took a ball over the fence to give the Vols a 5-0 lead. Freshman Ashley Morgan put the nail in the coffin with a solo homer.

Tennessee’s final game electrified the tournament as the Vols marked a 6-5 win over No. 15 Utah with a walk off double from Abby Lockman, who finished with four RBI’s. Three of Tennessee’s pitchers made appearances in the win. Arnold gave up three earned runs in five innings pitched. Moss and Sprang meshed for just over one inning pitched, and Sprang gathered the win.

The Lady Vols travel to Clearwater, Florida next to play in the Michele Smith Tournament, which will feature games against Oklahoma State and South Florida. Tennessee will play Friday at 11 a.m. ET.

Edited by Ben McKee

Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics