Lady Vols see its season end in the semi-finals of Women’s College World Series

Tennessee struggled offensively in the Final Four of the WCWS
No. 4 Lady Vols return to the WCWS semi-finals
No. 4 Lady Vols return to the WCWS semi-finals(wvlt)
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 8:33 PM CDT
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Lady Vols Come Home

LIVE: Lady Vols softball team comes home after College World Series run

Posted by WVLT on Tuesday, June 6, 2023

OKLAHOMA CITY. (WVLT) - Four-seed Tennessee met sixth-seed Florida State in the national semi-finals of the Women’s College World Series Monday night. Since the Lady Vols dropped a game against Oklahoma, they had to win two straight games over the Seminoles to advance to the title series.

Tennessee appeared outmatched offensively, as Florida State’s pitching staff stifled any success the Lady Vols found at the plate. The Seminoles capitalized on a few hits to win 5-1 and advance to the title series.

To start the game, Zaida Puni got a perfect crack on the bat and sent it deep into the right field bleachers for a solo home run, giving Tennessee the early 1-0 lead. That home run was the junior’s sixth of the postseason and 14 of the year.

However, just as fast Michaela Edenfield took Payton Gottshall deep to centerfield for a Noles home run to tie up the game at 1 apiece to start the second inning. That was Edenfield’s second homer of the WCWS.

Then in the following top frame, Bethaney Keen lined out to right centerfield for FSU’s second homer in as many innings to gain their first lead of the game, 2-1 FSU.

After giving up two home runs and a double, Coach Karen Weekly pulls Gottshall from the circle in the third inning and freshman Karlyn Pickens takes over.

To start her outing, she strikes out the first batter faced. The next batter sent it right to Puni who gets it to McKenna Gibson for the tag out at first and strands the runner at third.

Tennessee does their best to compliment the defense, Gibson gets walked then Rylie West sent a grounder up the right side past the second baseman’s glove. The base hit got Gibson to third with two outs on the board. But the Lady Vols don’t capitalize as Mackenzie Donihoo struck out swinging.

In the top of the fifth, Karen Weekly sent Ashley Rogers back out to the circle after she tossed 136 pitches the night before in a win against Oklahoma State.

Rogers entered the game with two runners on and one out. Pickens tossed two innings, struck out two and gave up one walk.

The first batter Rogers faced would send a high-flying ball into the right field gap, it’d drop for a base hit and Autumn Belviy came in from third for an FSU score and the Seminoles added to their lead, 3-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth.

With nine outs to work with, Tennessee faced the ACC Pitcher of the Year in Kathryn Sandercock. Sandercock went through the heart of Tennessee’s lineup with a ground out and a pair of swinging strikeouts.

In the next frame, top of the sixth, Hallie Wacaser blasted a shot out to left field for a two-run home run to all but close the door on the Lady Vols as the Seminoles led 5-1.

In the bottom of the sixth, Rylie West lined out, Donihoo got on a base after an error by Kalei Harding, then Katie Taylor recorded a base hit off a fielder’s choice to get Donihoo out at second. Lair Beautae sent a grounder up centerfield to get two on with two outs for Giulia Koutsoyanopulos. But Sandercock got Koutsoyanopulos out swinging to leave to stranded.

Tennessee closed the sixth inning by leaving two stranded, the second time this game. Tennessee has left a man on in every inning but the fifth.

In the top of the seventh, Koutsoyanopulos had another nice pick at home plate to end the bleeding and close the frame.

The SEC Champions close their season with a loss in the national semi-finals of the Women’s College World Series. They close it 51-10.