After an impressive victory over Alabama on Thursday, Tennessee was rewarded with the daunting task of facing arguably the great college softball team ever assembled in the Oklahoma Sooners. To put it simply, it did not go well.
In a shocking decision to many, Tennessee appeared to punt this game from the start, opting to throw a stable of freshman instead of one of their two aces in Ashley Rogers or Payton Gottshall — a move that immediately came back to bite them and one that Karen Weekly took “full responsibility for.” SEC Freshman of the Year Karlyn Pickens got the start in the circle, and while she showed flashes, continued to struggle with her command, walking three (albeit one was from a horrific call from behind the plate) and allowing three runs in 1 and 2⁄3 innings of work.
The wheels truly fell off in the third inning though, as it took three Tennessee pitchers to record three outs, after already allowing six runs to come across the plate, including a 2-run home run by senior catcher Kinzie Hansen.
Even with struggles on the mound, the real issue for Tennessee came on the offensive end — hard to believe in a game where they gave up nine runs in four innings of work. The Lady Vols offense saw Kiki Milloy lead the game off with a two strike double down the left field line, and proceeded to not get a single hit for the rest of the game. Milloy also robbed a home run in the bottom of the 4th inning, which was pretty cool.
Final Score: Oklahoma 9, Tennessee 0.
Normally we’d include some highlights but to be honest, there really aren’t any to include. One positive outlook from this game? I had a really good ice cream cone during the first inning while watching from my couch.
So what’s next? Tennessee is headed to the loser’s bracket where they’ll face a second team from the state described simply as “OK,” the 6-seed Oklahoma St Cowboys. That game will take place tomorrow, Sunday June 4 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.