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

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 

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

Arnold dominates in relief, Vols sweep N.C. State

Photo by Brad Blackwelder.

Tennessee’s offense came through once again to lead the Vols to a 6-1 win on Sunday and a series sweep of the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Sherri Lee Parker Stadium. The Vols’ offense was slow out of the gate, but steadily increased its potency throughout the game.

Tennessee (31-5, 6-3 SEC) started Kelsey Morrison at the mound for the second time this week, but the sophomore wasn’t as successful as she was on Tuesday. Morrison issued a walk and allowed two hits and a run in just one inning of work.

At the top of the second inning, freshman Caylan Arnold took command in the circle and the Vols never looked back. Arnold came through for the Vols, commanding the plate with quality pitch placement and mixing in her off-speed pitches.

The freshman recorded five strikeouts and only allowed three hits in her six innings of work. Tennessee’s defense was strong behind her, keeping things clean and avoiding errors.

Tennessee’s offense picked in the fourth inning after CJ McCLain singled and advanced to second on an error, scoring Chelsea Seggern to put the Vols up 2-1. McClain then stole third base, setting up an RBI single from Aubrey Leach to bump the lead to 3-1.

The fifth inning proved to be just as productive for the Vols. Megan Geer opened the scoring with a two-run home run, her fifth of the season. Katie Weimer was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a walk and then advanced to third on a groundout. That set up McClain, whose infield single scored Weimer to push the lead to the final advantage of 6-1.

Tennessee’s next game will be against Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday in Knoxville. Game time is 6 p.m.

Edited by Nathan Odom

Featured image by Brad Blackwelder

Vols bounce back in dominant win over South Carolina

Tennessee’s pitching staff might lack experience, but it doesn’t lack desire.

After her first taste of SEC action proved to be a bitter one on Friday evening, freshman pitcher Caylan Arnold’s confidence could’ve taken a turn for the worse.

She erased those doubts on Saturday.

After sophomore Matty Moss pitched admirably over the first five innings, Arnold redeemed herself in the relief role. The Maryville native helped Tennessee (20-3, 1-1 SEC) close its 10-4 victory over South Carolina (18-6, 1-1 SEC) on Saturday afternoon.

“(There was) no concern at all putting Caylan back out there,” co-head coach Karen Weekly said. “… she wants the ball. She would’ve wanted the ball last night if we put her back in the game… I thought she had a really good tempo about her and was much sharp with her pitches. (She) attacked the hitters and that’s really what we need.”

Moss (11-0) wasn’t in her usual form, but neither was her defense in the opening inning, which allowed South Carolina to jump out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to a pair of blunders.

The first came after second baseman Aubrey Leach’s errant throw to third base allowed Kaylea Snaer to score. Later in the inning, CJ McClain took an ill-advised trip from the depths of the outfield all the way into the infield in an attempt to catch a popup. The misjudged play resulted in the junior muffing the ball like a punt, which resulted in the Gamecocks’ second run of the inning.

Luckily for Tennessee, the Gamecocks immediately returned the favor. South Carolina’s two errors paved the way for Tennessee’s three-run first inning. It was the first of a trio of three-run innings for the Vols and two of South Carolina’s four errors.

“When you have errors… I try to stay positive and not really worry about it,” Moss said. “Because when you worry about it, you get jumbled up and things start going wrong.”

Star shortstop Meghan Gregg continued her season-long tear and put a few finishing touches on Tennessee’s comeback bid. The junior went 2-for-4 from the dish on Saturday, including a two-run blast in the bottom of the fourth, giving the orange and white a 7-3 cushion. On the season, Gregg is batting a jaw-dropping .493 with eight home runs and 44 RBIs. In total, five different Tennessee players drove in a run on Saturday.

But Tennessee’s question marks aren’t resting in the batter’s box. They’re on the mound, and although the Moss-Arnold combo still have questions to answer, Saturday’s display showcased the potential of the Vols’ pitching staff.

“It’s always awesome if you’re not doing so great and someone can come in for you,” Moss said. “… I think we have a great pitching staff like that.”

Arnold replaced Moss after the sophomore allowed a solo shot to open the sixth inning. The freshman responded valiantly to the challenge, surrendering only one hit and striking out two in two innings of relief work.

The Vols square off against the Gamecocks one more time on Sunday. First pitch of the rubber match is slated for 1 p.m. ET.

Edited by Robert Hughes

Featured image by Donald Page, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics