With a history of close games against the UNC Tar Heels (10-13, 3-3 ACC), it’s no surprise tonight’s matchup was a nail-biter, as the Lady Vols (14-9) fell to North Carolina 3-2.
Callie Turner (8-7) stayed at the mound Tuesday. She managed to fan eight batters and also gave up five hits and three walks within the 6.0 innings played.
Tennessee wasted no time as Chelsea Seggern knocked a home run towards center at the bottom of the first inning to put the Lady Vols up early.
“I think we’ve got to refocus and go back to the fundamentals that we’ve been doing every day,” explained Seggern. “We know it’s just a process, so we’ve got to keep working every day. We've got a big opening weekend of SEC coming up, so we just need to start focusing on that and learn from what we had tonight.”
Strong defensive efforts from Cailin Hannon couldn’t keep North Carolina down, as UNC kept Tennessee off the board for the next three innings.
“I think our outfield has been one of our strengths all season,” stated head coach Karen Weekly. “We’ve got a lot of experience out there and a lot of depth out there. I really feel like we can put any of our outfielders there and expect them to make great plays.”
Everything went wrong for Tennessee in the fourth inning, as UNC rallied three runs to set the score at 3-1, recording five hits in the half.
Thanks to a wild pitch, Kaitlin Parsons found her way home, bringing the game within one run in the bottom of the fifth. Tennessee was unable to execute, and the Tar Heels prevented any further scoring for the Lady Vols, retiring Tennessee in order in the sixth and securing the win.
“Things are never as high as they seem, and things are never as low as they seem,” stated Karen Weekly. “We can’t dwell on this too long, we’ve got a big weekend with our opening SEC weekend down at Texas A&M. We've just got to have a good day of practice tomorrow, get some really good hitting in, sure up some things in our infield.”
Tennessee will head to College Station, Texas next to take on the Texas A&M Aggies (16-9, 1-2 SEC) on March 13 through 15. Last season, Tennessee won the series 2-1, giving up game 3, 6-4.
The Lady Vols lead the overall series 15-5.