Softball vs Tennessee Tech

The Lady Vols hype each other up before a matchup against Tennessee Tech.

After a perfect weekend in Clearwater, Florida, the Lady Vols will head to Mexico to participate in the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge. No. 9 Tennessee achieved wins over Howard, Illinois and No. 13 Northwestern in the tournament.

McKenna Gibson was named to the NFCA Leadoff Classic All-Tournament team after her four hits, two home runs and seven RBIs. Pitcher Ashley Rogers performed well in the circle, allowing two runs in twelve innings of work.

The Tennessee offense combined for six home runs on the weekend, with Gibson and Zaida Puni each hitting two. Tennessee also was able to get on base 51 percent of the time. In the circle, the Lady Vols combined for a 1.11 earned run average with a WHIP of 0.74. Tennessee pitchers held their opponents to a batting average of just .174.

Although the tournament does not feature ranked teams, the Lady Vols’ opponents are still quality teams that should not be taken lightly.

Both Cal State Fullerton and Liberty qualified for the NCAA tournament a year ago. The Lady Vols will face Sacramento State on Thursday evening to open their tournament play. After a Friday afternoon meeting with North Dakota State, Tennessee will play a split doubleheader on Saturday against Cal State Fullerton and Liberty. The tournament should be another strong test for the Lady Vols as they continue their non-conference play.

Sacramento State

The Hornets began their season by hosting the NorCal kickoff, finishing the tournament with a 2-3 record. Sacramento State was selected to finish in a tie for first in the Big Sky Conference preseason coaches poll. Returning 18 players from a year ago, Sacramento State finished with a 30-25 record last year and a 12-6 record in conference play.

North Dakota State

North Dakota State will remain in Jalisco after going 1-5 a week ago. After a win against California Baptist, the Bison held their own against tough opposition in Oregon, Maryland and Ole Miss. North Dakota State was picked to finish third in the Summit League by the conference’s coaches, the same position where they finished a year ago.

Cal State Fullerton

Cal State Fullerton began the season by competing in the Easton Classic, a tournament in which they split hosting duties with UCLA. The Titans recorded a 3-2 record with losses coming against No. 2 UCLA and California. Cal State Fullerton won the Big West Conference with a 20-7 record a year ago, earning a berth to the NCAA Tournament. There, the Titans recorded a 1-2 record, which included a win against LSU.


The Flames have been tested early this season, playing five teams currently ranked in the D1 Softball Top 25. Liberty was able to take No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 20 Duke to extra innings but did not prevail in either contest. Liberty enters the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge with a 1-5 record, but that record came against a rigorous set of opponents. A year ago, the Flames won the Atlantic Sun regular season and tournament championships. They participated in the Durham regional of the NCAA tournament where they finished with a 1-2 record. Liberty was voted first in the Atlantic Sun preseason poll for the fifth straight season. Catcher Caroline Hudson was named preseason Atlantic Sun player of the year.

The Puerto Vallarta College Challenge will be streamed live on FloSports this weekend. There will not be any radio coverage from Mexico.

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