The Tennessee softball team traveled to Gainesville, Fla. on Friday for a three-game, NCAA Super Regional tilt with the No. 5-seeded Florida Gators at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
On Sunday, the home-standing Gators clinched a spot in the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City next week with a 2-1, walk-off win in extra innings, effectively ending Tennessee’s season.
Florida claimed game one on Friday with a 3-0 win, but the Lady Vols came back on Saturday to force a decisive game three with a 3-2 win in 9 innings.
In that game two win, Tennessee pitcher Caylan Arnold pitched her second complete game of the season, allowing just two runs while striking out seven Florida batters. Arnold threw a career-high 177 pitches in the contest.
In the bottom of the first, the Lady Vols took an early 1-0 lead thanks to a Chelsea Seggern RBI single into right field.
The Gators found their answer in the top half of the fourth off of a Jaimie Hoover RBI single to tied the game up at 1-1.
Tennessee jumped back in front in the following frame, going ahead 2-1 when Madison Pacini brought in the go-ahead run with an RBI single to left field.
After Florida tied the game again in the fifth, 2-2, both teams put runners in position to break the stalemate, but came up empty over the final two innings, sending the game into extras.
Finally, in the bottom ninth, the Lady Vols were able to load up the bases, forcing a Gators pitching change after a Seggern single and back-to-back walks. Haley Bearden drew the third walk of the frame that brought the winning run across the plate to give Tennessee a 3-2 win.
Tennessee’s win on Saturday forced a winner-take-all game three that put the victor into the Women’s College World Series.
Much like the first two games, Sunday’s match up once again put defense on full display, with Florida pitcher Kellie Barnhill and Tennessee pitcher Ashley Rogers going at it in the circle.
Rogers went over seven innings, striking out eight and giving up two runs in the loss.
The Gators scored early, plating a run in the bottom of the first after a Sophia Reynoso RBI single to center field to go up 1-0.
The score remained 1-0 until Bearden came through with Tennessee on their last leg in the top of the seventh with a game-tying, solo home run to make it 1-1.
The Gators, however, punched their ticket to Oklahoma City in the bottom of the eighth with a Hoover walk-off, RBI single to center field to give Florida the 2-1 win.
The Lady Vols completed the 2019 campaign with a 43-17 mark and a second-place finish in the SEC, and will return 14 players for the 2020 season.