Softball Media Day

The Lady Vols softball team hosted a media day during their practice on Feb. 8, 2022 at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium. 

The No. 11 Tennessee softball team had a different look in its Saturday matchup against Mississippi State, replacing the classic orange and white uniforms for teal. 

The teal color seen on the Lady Vol’s uniform was to honor the legacy of Mississippi State's Alex Wilcox and to recognize her impact in the fight against ovarian cancer. While a different look, Tennessee's mission was the same as it tried to clinch the series at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium. 

While UT battled early on, they struggled at the plate and quickly fell behind having just five hits in total. This combined with Tennessee’s pitchers being unable to shut down the Bulldog’s red-hot offense resulted in the Lady Vols falling in seven, 8-3.  

“We got beat in every phase of the game,” head coach Karen Weekly said. “It wasn't Erin's (Edmoundson) best day and those things are going to happen. I would've liked our team to respond a little better offensively when we get down like that. And today we seemed to kind of go flat.” 

The Lady Vols (24-10, 6-4 SEC) quickly found themselves down in the first inning after Bulldog’s senior Chloe Malau'ulu hit a two-run blast into the left-center field. The Lady Vols battled to get out of the frame and responded with two runs of their own to tie the game back at 2-2. 

Unfortunately for the Big Orange, the bats went cold after the first inning as the 

Mississippi State’s Kenley Hawk dominated in the circle. From the third inning to the sixth the Lady Vols only had a single hit and left four runners stranded.  

While Tennessee had difficulty connecting with the ball, the Bulldogs were pouring it on scoring 4 runs in the third inning and tacking on two more in the fourth. Mississippi State excelled at getting the ball in motion and tore through four Tennessee pitchers. 

The Lady Vols went with Erin Edmoundson as their starting pitcher.  She only saw action in three innings and before getting pulled. Edmoundson, one of Tennessee’s strongest arms, struggled and surrendered eight hits in her short time in the circle.

“I think some of her pitches just were sharp,” Weekly said. “They're a good team and if you make mistakes they will make you pay. It just felt like she never really got into a groove.” 

The Lady Vols were forced to rotate pitchers Nicola Simpson, Samatha Bender and finally settled with Ryleigh White to try to stop the bleeding. Bender and White managed to keep the deficit to six leading up to the bottom of the seventh. 

Trailing in the final inning, UT desperately tried to get something going. However, Mississippi State was eager to pull off the upset and quickly struck out Webber and Milloy. With 1out remaining, Tennessee walked and got a base hit to make the score 8-3.  

“Just pass the bat and have a good at-bat and try to keep this going as long as you can,” Weekly said.  “You just want to have a ‘one-at-bat focus’. If you can keep the at-bats rolling you're going to see more pitches off of their staff.” 

The Lady Vols fought till the end but their last inning comeback effort fell short as Rylie West popped out to end the game. Tennessee never was able to rebound from its offensive struggles in the middle innings and drop the second game of the series.

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