After coming off of a successful weekend against Missouri, the No. 5/7 Lady Vols softball team is gearing up to face the No. 13/14 Auburn Tigers this weekend at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.
In the thick of SEC play, Tennessee escaped last weekend with only one loss against Missouri and is hoping to improve in its conference going forward. The Lady Vols have won three consecutive conference series this season for the first time since 2014, and they have yet to drop a series in the SEC.
In three different series, they have only had three total losses.
“It really is just amazing to me, and I know everybody says this, but every week is just a battle,” stated co-head coach Ralph Weekly. “You know all thirteen of the teams are going to go to NCAA’s and any of them can beat you. On paper, we should have been better than Arkansas, but it was as matchup.”
The Auburn Tigers are 30-7 overall and 6-3 in SEC play. Along with Tennessee, Auburn will be working towards three more wins in its conference this weekend, and after the Tigers’ tough matchup against the Georgia Bulldogs last weekend, they’ll be looking for redemption on the road.
Tennessee will be leaning on its diverse pitching staff in preparation for this weekend’s matchup. Matty Moss, Caylan Arnold, and SEC Pitcher of the Week, Ashley Rogers, will all be ready to tag-team the Tigers on the mound.
Rogers had a strong showing against Missouri. Through 11.2 innings of work, she allowed just four runs on six hits, with a 2.40 ERA. She was named SEC Freshman of the Week, as well.
Tennessee’s pitching staff will face a nice challenge, however. Auburn has posted a .334 batting average as a team, with 50 home runs.
“It takes a lot of innings off all three of them, but it also gives them a little relief,” explained Seggern. “If they’re struggling, they don’t have to put it all on the other pitcher. It just gives them a lot of confidence knowing that they have a staff that they’re working with and that it’s not all on themselves.
“I definitely think they’re going to help us go a long way.”
With the Lady Vols currently being 28-6 overall and 6-3 in SEC play, just like the Tigers, this matchup is huge for both teams. After Auburn, Tennessee continues in conference play, facing Mississippi State and Georgia.
“It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen,” explained Ralph Weekly. “It’s more of a mental game right now because each team has some really good players, so you have to try to get your team up and get them playing hard, yet still rest them enough.”
The Lady Vols will begin play against Auburn this Saturday, April 6 at 2 p.m., and will continue on Sunday and Monday at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m, respectively.