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 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 Memphis

After dropping a third straight series and back-to-back games, Tennessee (34-8, 5-7 SEC) rebounded with an 8-0 throttling of Memphis on Tuesday. The No. 10 ranked Lady Vols rolled to an 8-0 victory in five innings in the Mid-State Classic matchup in Columbia, Tennessee.

Star Tennessee shortstop Meghan Gregg registered her 51st career homerun in orange-and-white to tie the Tennessee all-time record. With the win, Tennessee advances to an impressive 123-3 record against in-state teams and remains undefeated against such teams under head coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly.

“It was terrific to see us hit the ball like we did today,” K. Weekly said. “It was great breakout in Columbia in front of a great crowd.”

Ridley Sports Complex packed in a sold out crowd, as they saw Gregg and the Volunteers get their bats going early in the game. Gregg hit the first RBI of the day, as senior Scarlet McSwain rounded out the first inning with a sac-fly to give Tennessee a 2-0 lead.

Tennessee didn’t infiltrate the score column again until the fourth inning, but the Vols did not mind. Gregg recommenced the festivities with a three-run homerun to right field. The fifth inning inevitably stopped the game short for the Tigers, as the Lady Vols tallied three more runs in the inning.

After three back-to-back singles for Tennessee to start the fifth inning, junior catcher Abby Lockman brought in a run off a walk. Shortly after, sophomore outfielder Jenna Holcomb hit an RBI single, as the eighth and Memphis gave up the final run of the game on a fielding error.

Lady Vols pitcher Caylan Arnold got back into motion after a rough weekend series against Auburn last week. Arnold earned the win after pitching four innings and striking out four batters. Matty Moss stepped in to relieve Arnold for the final two batters of the game. The Tigers pitchers gave up five walks and had just one strikeout in the loss.

Tennessee cruised to victory with Gregg’s dominant performance.

“We’ve been really struggling the past few weeks, and this just gave us a momentum boost going forward,” Gregg said. “We’ve been working on some things this week, more mentally than physically.”

Tennessee got back on track with its win over Memphis after scoring just seven runs in their last seven games prior to Tuesday. The Vols will need their play to carry over to this weekend as they take on yet another ranked SEC opponent.

With three-quarters of the season in the books, Tennessee ranks ninth in the SEC standings and has just five wins over in-conference opponents on the year. The Lady Vols will need to be on their A-game as they take on No. 14 LSU in Knoxville this weekend.

The orange-and-white will hit the field on Friday at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium at 7 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

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

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