Strong Pitching Leads #5 Tennessee to Two Wins on Saturday
Courtesy / UT AAthletics

Strong Pitching Leads #5 Tennessee to Two Wins on Saturday

Game Recap: Softball | February 25, 2024

CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – A pair of sterling pitching performances from graduate Payton Gottshall and sophomore Karlyn Pickens led fifth-ranked Tennessee to two victories Saturday night at the 2024 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.

UT defeated Oregon State 6-1 in game one before taking down UCF 3-0 in the nightcap.

Gottshall got the start for Tennessee versus OSU and carried a perfect game into the fifth inning before the Beavers broke through with a hit. The Massillon, Ohio, native went the distance for the Lady Vols, tossing her second complete game of the season and earning her third victory in 2024.

The right-hander struck out nine of 24 batters, walked none and allowed just one run on four hits.

In Saturday’s finale, Pickens lit up the Knights as she struck out a career-high 14 batters. The flamethrower tossed a complete game shutout, scattered six hits and walked two. With the win, she is now 4-1 on the year.

GAME ONE – #5 Tennessee 6, Oregon State 1
Tennessee struck first versus Oregon State as graduate Kiki Milloy led off the game with a home run in the top of the first. The homer was her second home run of the weekend and third of the season.

Senior Rylie West jumped on the leadoff homer trend as she knocked her third home run of the year in the top half of the third. The long ball extended Tennessee’s lead 2-0.

Gottshall’s perfect game was broken up in the fifth as OSU pushed across its lone run of the game on two hits. The Beavers finished the night with just four baserunners.

Up by just a run, Tennessee answered the bell in the sixth as it scored three times to take a 5-1 lead. The Lady Vols used small ball to extend their lead with Camryn Sarvis and Laura Mealer roping singles to score Katie Taylor and Alannah Leach.

Kiki Milloy hit a grounder to first to plate Bella Faw before Oregon State was able to get out of the inning.

Sophia Nugent added the game’s final run in the seventh with a solo home run to left center – her second long ball of the year.

GAME TWO – #5 Tennessee 3, UCF 0
Pitching dominated the story of game two against UCF as Pickens shut out the Knights en route to her third complete game of 2024 and second shutout.

For UCF, Kaitlyn Felton earned the start and went just 2.1 innings, allowing a pair of runs on five hits. Sarah Willis came on in relief and finished the night, throwing 4.2 frames. She held the Lady Vols to one run on three hits.

Felton suffered the loss and is 3-2 on the year.

Sophomore Taylor Pannell provided Tennessee with its first runs in the second, knocking a two-out two-RBI double to left field that scored Sarvis and Amanda Ahlin.

In the fifth, junior McKenna Gibson reached on an error that slipped past UCF’s second baseman. The error allowed Rylie West – who led off the inning with a double – to come around and score from second.

That was all the offense Pickens needed as she continued to mow down UCF batters – striking out seven over the game’s final three innings.

UP NEXT
Tennessee closes its stay in California with games against Hawai’i and No. 19 UCLA on Sunday. First pitch versus the Rainbow Wahine is set for 2:30 p.m. ET, with game two coming at 5 p.m. against the Bruins.

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