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 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 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

South Carolina sweeps No. 2 Lady Vols

Tennessee went into its weekend series with No. 15 South Carolina on a 22-game win streak. However, after falling in the first game Friday, the Lady Vols never fully recovered from their lost momentum. The Gamecocks swept the series. The last time Tennessee faced a sweep, the Vols dropped a 2016 series against first-ranked Florida.

In the first game between the Volunteers and South Carolina, Tennessee fell by a score of 8-7 to drop its second game of the season. After jumping out to a 7-3 lead in the top of the fifth inning, the Lady Vols quickly gave away their lead by allowing five unanswered runs over the final three innings.

A homerun by outfielder Tiara Duffy sparked the Gamecocks’ run, as they cut the Tennessee lead to 7-5. Infielders Mackenzie Boesel and Jana Johns both homered to right and center field respectively over the next two innings to tie the game up. The final score came from Kenzi Maguire off a wild pitch, giving South Carolina an 8-7 victory and snapping the Lady Vols’ winning streak.

Tennessee dropped its second game to the Gamecocks Saturday by a score of 4-5.
After going down by two runs early on, the Vols stormed back in the third inning and scored four unanswered runs to take a 4-2 lead in the top of the third inning. The Lady Vols couldn’t keep the lead, as they allowed three unanswered runs of their own in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Sophomore Caylan Arnold received her first loss of the season on the mound for Tennessee and dropped to 13-1 on the year. Arnold and junior Matty Moss gave up five earned runs and six hits in Saturday’s loss.

The Volunteers started out hot on Sunday, jumping out to a 5-2 lead, but the Gamecocks came out with a vengeance in the bottom of the third inning.

South Carolina left fielder Kennedy Clark doubled to right field to bring in two runs. The Gamecocks backpacked off Clark and finished with eight runs in the inning. South Carolina took a 10-5 lead. Arnold received her second loss of the season for Tennessee.

Freshman Gabby Sprang pitched two innings for the orange-and-white and allowed just two runs in three innings. Moss gave up six runs in 1.2 innings and allowed five hits from the Gamecocks.

The Lady Vols will be back in action on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET to kick off a home series against Georgia.

Written by Caleb Souders 

Edited by Seth Raborn/Lexie Little

Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics