FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The fourth-ranked Lady Vols defeated South Carolina, 3-1, Saturday at Bogle Park to clinch their third SEC Tournament crown – the program’s first since 2011 – completing the regular-season and tournament title sweep.
It is the first time in Tennessee (44-8) softball history that it has won both the regular-season and tournament championship in the same season. The Lady Vols are the 13th regular-season champion to win the SEC Softball Tournament.
South Carolina (37-20) got on the board first using a one-out triple followed by a sacrifice fly off the bat of Riley Blampied to push one run across in the first inning.
The Lady Vols did not wait long to respond as they worked their two-out magic in the home half of the inning. With two away and runners in scoring position, junior Rylie West pulled a single through the left side of the diamond to plate Zaida Puni and tie the game at 1-1.
The bottom of the lineup picked up Tennessee in the third as freshman Jamison Brockenbrough dropped a single down the left-field line to bring home a pair of runs. The single came with two out in the inning as the Lady Vols again used a two-out rally to take the lead at 3-1.
Tennessee gave the ball to Payton Gottshall to start the game and went five innings before giving way to Ashley Rogers out of the bullpen. The right-hander held the Gamecocks to one run on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
She picked up the win – her 12th of the year – and second of the tournament.
Rogers then shut the Gamecocks down over the final two innings as she picked up her first save of the season. The Athens, Tennessee, native entered the game in the sixth and struck out the side. In the seventh, Aaliyah White doubled to lead off the final frame but Rogers slammed the door and sealed the win.
The righty who battled through injuries during her career and returned to Rocky Top for a fifth and final season caught a comebacker for the game’s final out.
Kiki Milloy was named tournament MVP after going 3-for-8 with two home runs, three RBIs and three runs scored. Lair Beautae, Payton Gottshall and Ashley Rogers were also named to the SEC All-Tournament Team alongside Milloy.
The Lady Vols had the magic working on the weekend as they scored all 14 of their runs with two outs.
Tennessee learns its postseason fate Sunday night when the NCAA reveals its 2023 tournament bracket. The selection show will air at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.