The plan today was simple: attack.
That’s exactly what happened as the Lady Vols notched their second straight win against Missouri, riding dominate pitching once again.
“The name of the game today was pitching. Totally different than yesterday. I don’t think they were expecting Gabby Sprang....we’re gonna need Gabby in order to be successful down the stretch. I’m really, really happy with how she performed today.” - Lady Vols co-head coach Karen Weekly
The Lady Vols started freshman Gabby Sprang, the newest addition to this year’s pitching staff and she did not disappoint. Sprang allowed just one hit and two walks in three innings pitched, while not allowing a single run scored.
It was an excellent performance for the freshman, who is looking to find her place amongst a talented pitching roster. The message was clear for her and the Lady Vols coming in today’s game and they executed it to near perfection.
“Attack the hitters and throw strikes is really what (co-head coach) Ralph (Weekly) talks about all the time. As long as I just went out there and threw strikes I knew I’d be fine” - UT freshman pitcher Gabby Sprang
Sprang was excellent in her time on the mound, but found herself in a bit of trouble in the top of the fourth inning. After hitting Amanda Sanchez on her first pitch of the inning, Kolby Romaine drilled one to centerfield for a single, allowing Sanchez to advance to second.
That’s when head coach Karen Weekly made a somewhat surprising move, bringing in junior Matty Moss to replace Sprang.
The Lady Vols had just come off of an electrifying bottom of the third, where they made hit after hit on their way to an early 3-0 lead. What made the move even more surprising was the fact that Moss struggled a bit the previous night against the Tigers.
But there is a reason why the Lady Vols are 23-1 - and coaching is huge part of it.
“(We wanted) to give them a different look at the right point in time and we felt like Matty would respond pretty well to yesterday. She wasn’t happy with her performance.” - Karen Weekly
Moss went on to dominate the rest of the game, showing that she is more than able to bounce back after a rough night. She did not allow a single hit nor run in four innings, while icing the game for Tennessee. She was just two walks away from a perfect night.
“Matty was a completely different pitcher than she was yesterday, really locating the ball well and mixing her speeds.” - Karen Weekly
Moss disposed of the scoring threat, allowing UT to escape a dangerous situation. That set up a great bottom of the fourth inning for the Lady Vols.
A 4-3 play on Amanda Ayala got the inning off to a rough start, but Scarlet McSwain made up for it immediately, crushing a ball out to left field for a one-run home run. I wish I had video, because it was about as close as you could get to a foul ball. Regardless, this set off another three-score inning for the Lady Vols and before the Tigers could blink, they were down 6-0.
Moss continued her dominating performance in the next inning, with the only flaw coming from a walk off a questionable call on the Tigers’ Trenity Edwards.
Missouri attempted to solve their pitching issues by brining in Eli Daniel, but that failed miserably as a sac-fly by CJ McClain allowed Tianna Batts to score the final run and make the score 7-0.
Moss would go on and strike out three of the next four batters in the following inning and then she perfectly set up a three-up/three-down scenario to seal the deal and give the Lady Vols their 23rd win of the season.
Their next game is tomorrow against the Tigers. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30PM ET.
Stats of the game:
- Chelsea Seggern came into the weekend with a nation-leading 33 RBIs. She drove in two more RBIs today - along with one yesterday - to put her at 36 on the season.
- The win today evens the all-time series at 6-6 between the two teams.
- The Lady Vols’ duo of Sprang and Moss recorded 11 KOs on 22 at-bats for the Tigers.
- Aubrey Leach came into the weekend with an SEC-leading 30 runs scored and now has 35 so far into this weekend’s matchups.