Lady Vols drop contest versus Alabama

After sweeping No. 17 Alabama over weekend on the road, seventh-ranked Tennessee (40-9, 10-8 SEC) fell by a score of 4-0 on Monday. Crimson Tide pitcher Alexis Osorio again  pitched well against the Lady Vols with seven strikeouts in the seven-inning shutout.

Tennessee sophomore Cailan Hannon’s got one hit to avoid an Osorio no-hitter. After seemingly solving their offensive issues, the Lady Vols faced a shutout for the first time since their weekend series with Auburn earlier in April.

Alabama took no time getting on the board at Rhoads Stadium, as Caroline Hardy drove in a run off a single to center field. The third inning ultimately finished Tennessee, as the Crimson Tide tallied two runs on tosses from Vols pitcher Matty Moss. Merris Booker and Sydney Booker both drove in runs for Alabama with a pair of hits.

Tennessee took Moss out of the contest after the inning following three earned runs and no strikeouts in her two innings pitched. Caylan Arnold finished out the game for the Lady Vols, but she faced adversity as well.

Poor fielding once again bit Tennessee, as an error in the sixth inning brought around Booker to give the Crimson Tide a 4-0 lead. Arnold finished the game with three walks, four strikeouts and one earned run allowed.

The shutout marked Alabama’s 12th this year, as the heart of the Crimson Tide’s lineup gave them all four of their runs on Monday. All six of Alabama’s hits came from different players in the win.

After the loss, the Lady Vols tied Texas A&M for fourth place in the SEC standings. Tennessee needs wins in two important series before the SEC Tournament in Columbia, Missouri in just over two weeks.

Up next, the orange-and-white face Kentucky for a weekend series in Knoxville at Sherri Lee Parker Stadium. The Volunteers finish up their season on the road in Starkville against Mississippi State before the SEC Tournament. First pitch of Tennessee’s series with the Wildcats is set for 6 p.m. ET on SEC Network+.

Written by Seth Raborn

Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics 

Lady Vols take road series in Alabama

The No. 7 Lady Vols softball team (40-8, 10-7 SEC) completed a sweep over Alabama this weekend after winning by a combined score of 14-3 in the two-game series. Tennessee’s 13-3 victory on Saturday gave the Vols their first ever sweep on the road against the Crimson Tide. The orange-and-white clinched seven straight wins following their last loss April 8.

“Whenever you sweep a doubleheader in Tuscaloosa you’re doing a good job,” Tennessee co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. “I’m proud of the girls and I’m proud of the way there fought.”

In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, Tennessee star shortstop Meghan Gregg recorded the only run in the game. Gregg’s RBI double in the third inning drove in junior infielder Aubrey Leach to give the Vols the 1-0 win. The Volunteers’ ace, Matty Moss, shut down No. 17 Alabama with six strikeouts in her seven innings.

Leach reached first base on a walk and proceeded to steal second base, setting up Gregg to drive in the game winning run. The two teams combined for just three hits in the entire game, as the Crimson Tide had a solid outing from the mound as well.

Alabama pitcher Alexis Osorio dealt for a full seven innings and earned 14 total punchouts in the loss. Osorio still took a loss despite her dominant performance on the bump. She allowed just two hits.

Right fielder Scarlet McSwain earned the only other hit for Tennessee, as Chelsea Seggern walked twice.

Saturday’s series finale manifested as an action-packed outing for Tennessee. The Lady Vols poured on 13 runs to finish off the Crimson Tide. Caylan Arnold led Tennessee on the mound, as she registered six strikeouts in a full game to propel the orange-and-white to a 13-3 victory.

The Tide did not roll in the second game, as the pitching duo of Madison Preston and Courtney Gettins combined to give up eight earned runs and 12 hits in the loss.

Gregg one again led the Volunteers with a 2-of-3 night at the plate and two RBIs in the game. Junior infielder Chelsea Seggern also boosted Tennessee with four RBIs on 2-of-4 hitting on the night. Seggern blasted a three-run homerun in the seventh inning to top off the Lady Vols’ already convincing lead.

Tennessee tallied seven unanswered runs starting in the fourth inning to put away the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa for the first time ever. The Lady Vols face Alabama once again on Monday. Another win over the Tide would mark the first ever three-game sweep over Alabama for Tennessee.

First pitch for Monday’s contest in Tuscaloosa is slated for 7 p.m. ET and will be shown on the SEC Network.

Written by Seth Raborn

Edited by Lexie Little

Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

Lady Vols sweep LSU in Knoxville

In a weekend series, the No. 10 ranked Tennessee Lady Vols won all three games against the LSU Tigers. Tennessee moves to 37-8 on the season. The Lady Vols are now on a four-game winning streak after their big weekend in Knoxville.

Friday welcomed the first game of the series, with Caylan Arnold taking the stripe for Tennessee. Arnold pitched 6.1 innings while striking out six batters and allowing two runs on eight hits. With the win, Arnold moved to 16-4 on the season.

Hot bats led the Lady Vols to victory, starting with a Meghan Gregg solo homerun in the first inning. Gregg became the all-time homerun leader in Tennessee softball history with 52 longballs.

“I thought we did a good job sticking to our game plan,” Co-head coach Karen Weekly said. “The kids were excited about Meghan Gregg breaking that record. That’s a record that’s stood for a long time, and I think as coaches we weren’t sure it would ever be broken.”

Saturday featured a double header, with game two of the weekend starting at 1 p.m. at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium. In game two, Matty Moss got the start for the Lady Vols. Moss pitched 6.2 innings while striking out four batters and allowing two runs on four hits. Moss moved to 16-3 on the season with the win.

Tennessee’s first two runs of the game came on two errors committed by the Tigers. Junior infielder Aubrey Leach got on base in the first inning after a walk and advanced by stealing second. She then headed to third base due to a wild pitch. Leach eventually scored on a passed ball. Leach also scored the second run for the Lady Vols after another error in the third inning. Tennessee went on to win the game 3-2.

In the final game of the weekend, Arnold got the start for the Volunteers. Arnold pitched five innings and only allowed two runs on five hits. She improved her record to 17-4 on the season. Tennessee fell behind early. LSU scored two runs in the first three innings. With a Scarlet McSwain bases-clearing double in the third, Tennessee tied the game at 2-2.

After being knotted up at 4-4 in the seventh inning, the final game of the series went into extra innings. In the bottom of the eighth inning, junior Haley Bearden hit a walk-off home run to give the Lady Vols the 6-4 win over the Tigers. The home run marked the first walk-off winner in Bearden’s Tennessee career.

Bearden tried to focus to get the win.

“I was trying to be calm and not make it any bigger than it is,” Bearden said. “We didn’t have any outs and I got up there and saw the ball well and I swung.”

The series win over the Tigers marked the first for the Lady Vols since sweeping Missouri in March.

The next game for Tennessee will be against ETSU on Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET in Knoxville. The next series for the Vols will come against Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama starting April 20. Game one against the Tide is set for 5:30 p.m. ET Friday night.

 

Written by Cole McCormick

Edited by Seth Raborn/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

Lady Vols fall to Georgia in weekend series

After South Carolina swept them last weekend, the eighth-ranked Lady Vols (31-5) dropped yet another weekend series to No. 6 Georgia. Tennessee now sits at a dismal 4-5 in conference play to start the season. The Bulldogs outscored Tennessee by a combined score of 17-2 in the three-game series in Knoxville.

“Softball is a game of momentum and a game of one-on-one matchups, and right now we’re not winning those,” Lady Vols co-head coach Karen Weekly said. “We just can’t get that clutch hit when we need it or get that clutch pitch when we need to shut them down.”

The orange-and-white kicked off the weekend series on a high note Saturday, shutting out the Lady Bulldogs by a score of 1-0. While hitting fell short for Tennessee, pitching shined. The dominant veteran pitching duo of Caylan Arnold and Matty Moss combined for eight strikeouts in seven innings for the win.

The only run of the game came in the seventh inning. Senior infielder Meghan Gregg showed patience at the plate and drew a walk with the bases loaded to give the Lady Vols a 1-0 lead.

Georgia walked three straight batters with no outs to give up the winning run. Gregg also passed former USA Softball National Player of the Year candidate Tonya Callahan for the most RBI’s in school history with 242.

“I wasn’t really thinking about that at all (the record) but getting our first series win over Georgia was big,” Gregg said after the game. “I think we kept pounding and finally broke it up in the seventh inning.”

Sunday proved sour for the Lady Vols, as they lost by a score of 9-1 in six innings. The script flipped for Arnold on the mound, as she gave up eight runs in just four innings of play. Freshman pitcher Gabby Sprang finished out with no earned runs and four strikeouts, but the Lady Vols couldn’t get their bats going to keep the game competitive.

Tennessee’s only run of the game came in the second inning off an RBI single from junior infielder Aubrey Leach. Georgia registered three batters with at least two hits in the win. The Vols notched just five hits total.

“We got beat in every aspect. Offense, defense, pitching,” Tennessee co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. “I don’t think it was from a lack of effort, I think it was a lack of execution.”

The final series game ended with a tough loss for the Vols Monday. They lost 8-0 to log their first shutout loss of the season. The last time Tennessee faced a shutout came nearly one year ago against Florida. Pitching issues remained a problem for the Vols. Moss gave up an uncharacteristic seven earned runs in six innings of work.

Tennessee tallied just four hits on the afternoon and combined for just 11 hits through the series. Georgia scored at least one run in every inning but the fifth to dominate the Lady Vols Monday.

“I think we’re fighting and probably stressing because we’re not winning those battles,” K. Weekly said. “That’s probably some of the best ball they’ve (Georgia) played all year, too.”

Tennessee gets back in action on Tuesday at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium against its in-state rival Tennessee State. First pitch its slated for 6 p.m. ET and can be viewed on SEC Network+.

Written by Seth Raborn

Edited by Lexie Little

Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

No. 4 Lady Vols sweep Rainbow Wahine Classic

Fourth-ranked Tennessee (30-1) went 6-0 in its trip to the Bank of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine Classic this weekend. The Lady Vols ended two of the six contests in early innings in the Aloha State.

The orange-and-white kicked off the Rainbow Wahine Classic with a 12-0 victory over Cleveland State (8-12) Wednesday. The Lady Vols capped the game in five innings. Tennessee wasted no time getting to business in the tournament, as they scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Seniors Meghan Gregg and Scarlet McSwain tallied an RBI, while outfielder Jenna Holcomb scored off a throwing error.

After the hot start, the Volunteers followed up with a total of nine runs in the next two innings to end the game. Caylan Arnold kept her undefeated pitching streak for Tennessee. She bumped her record to 12-0 on the season after tossing for three innings and three strikeouts.

Next, the Lady Vols squared off against North Dakota (14-14) in back-to-back matchups on Wednesday and Thursday.

In the first contest against Fighting Hawks, Tennessee won by a score of 5-0 after notching a 12-0 win over the Vikings earlier in the day. Junior infielder Aubrey Leach led the Vols with three hits on the afternoon, as sophomore Chelsea Seggern recorded two RBIs in the win.

Tennessee turned up the heat once again in the second game on Thursday, as they capped the game off with a grand slam from junior catcher Abby Lockman in the top of the sixth inning to mark a 14-2 win in the column. Gregg hit yet another impressive outing with three RBIs in the game.

Friday, Tennessee went on to face the host team in the fourth game of the weekend, as they battled Hawaii (14-12). Freshman pitcher Gabby Sprang recorded her fourth win for the Lady Vols on the mound this season after allowing just two hits in four innings.

Leach launched a solo shot to deep right-center to get the Tennessee on the board in the bottom of the first, and the Vols never looked back. Tennessee downed the Warriors 10-5 after scoring five runs in the sixth inning to seal the game. Seggern, Leach and outfielder Brooke Vines meshed for four RBIs in the win.

In the final games of the series, Tennessee faced the Maryland Terrapins (7-19).

The Lady Vols scored all seven of their runs in the final three innings of the game to top the Terrapins 7-1 on Friday. Arnold pitched brilliantly with six strikeouts in seven innings to keep her winning streak alive. McSwain and Lockman tallied four RBIs in the fifth inning to pull away from Maryland.

The game progressed smoothly for Tennessee on Saturday finishing with six runs in the seventh inning to win 10-0. Vols ace pitcher Matty Moss (13-1) and Arnold combined for 11 strikeouts in the series-ending win. Vines drove Holcomb with a single to center field to notch the final run of the day for Tennessee.

Tennessee will get back in action on Friday against South Carolina in Columbia for a three-game series.

Edited by Seth Raborn/Lexie Little

Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics