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 

Softball Vols win 4-of-5 in Michele Smith Invitational

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The Vols’ softball team spent the weekend in Clearwater, Florida playing in the Michele Smith Pediatric Cancer Invitational. Tennessee entered the tournament ranked in the top 15 with a record of 4-2.

Tennessee got things started by taking on No. 19 James Madison and ace Jailyn Ford. The Vols fell to the Dukes in the opening game of the tournament 9-0.

Tennessee fell behind early, giving up three runs in the top of the first inning, on two hits and one error. Ford struck out eight Vols and held Tennessee to just two hits. UT loaded the bases in the bottom of the first inning after Megan Geer drew a 2-out walk.

Ford then struck out Gretchen Aucoin, ending the best chance to score the Vols would get all game. The Dukes added two more runs in the second, one in the third and three in the fourth to seal the dominating win over the Vols.

Tennessee didn’t have long to think about the loss before meeting Oklahoma State in the second game of a Friday double-header.

Tennessee switched gears and exploded for a 14-4 victory. The Vols ended it early as they hit the run-rule in the fifth inning. Shaliyah Geathers lead the Vols offensively, recording a career best four hits and four RBIs and scoring two runs. She was one of seven Vols to drive in a run during the game. UT scored five runs in the third.

Oklahoma State added three runs in the bottom of the fourth. However, five Vols would post RBIs in an eight-run inning to put the game out of reach. Gabriel retired the side in order in the bottom of the fifth to give the Vols the win.

Tennessee got things going early on Saturday, beating Fordham 10-2.

Freshman pitcher Matty Moss recorded a solid day in the circle, pitching four innings and allowing six hits and one strikeout. While Moss gave up six hits she keep Fordham form scoring. Rainey Gaffin struck out three Rams in two innings of relief work, but gave up two runs on two hits. The Vols scored in every inning but the first.

Tennessee picked up its second win of the day with a hard fought 6-4 victory over South Florida.

Gaffin and Geer both hit solo home runs to lead the Vols offensively. Geer also hit a leadoff solo homerun in the top of the fourth. Gaffin had an answer for the Bulls late in the game with the Vols second lead-off homer of the day. She also picked up her second save of the season after reliving Gabriel.

Tennessee finished off the tournament with a dominant 16-4 run-rule win over DePaul Sunday.

The Vols recorded a season high three home runs in their third run-rule win of the weekend. Geathers topped the career high she set on Friday vs. Oklahoma State by bringing in five RBIs against the Blue Demons. Five Vols recorded multiple RBIs. UT blew things open with a seven-run inning. Gabriel moved to 5-1 after striking out seven batters in the game.

Tennessee (8-3) will host Dayton on Thursday in its first home game of the 2016 season. First pitch is at 3 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.

Featured image by Kevan Elkins

Edited by Cody McClure