KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The No. 12-seeded Lady Vols continued their shutout streak against Longwood on Friday afternoon, downing the Lancers, 8-0, in Game 2 of the NCAA Knoxville Regional.
Throwing her 13th complete game of the season, freshman Ashley Rogers tied a career-high with 13 strikeouts through 6.0 innings. The righty allowed just two hits in the contest en route to her seventh-career shutout.
Tennessee was led offensively by Chelsea Seggern who dominated at the plate. The junior went 3-for-4 and drove in six of UT’s runs. Jenna Holcomb also went 2-for-2 and scored three times for the Lady Vols.
After two quiet innings, UT strung together a pair of hits to take a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Holcomb led off with a single to short before moving into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. Seggern then blasted a two-run bomb off the SEC tarp on the outfield bleachers to give the Lady Vols the advantage.
The Orange and White continued to pour it on in the fifth frame to take a six-run lead. Cailin Hannon opened the inning with a double up the middle before Holcomb laid down a bunt single to third base. Hannon then scored on a delayed double steal before an Aubrey Leach walk put runners on first and second. In the next at-bat, Seggern launched her second homer of the game to the bleachers again, making it a 6-0 game.
Looking to bring the run-rule into play, UT added two more runs to the board in the bottom of the sixth. Holcomb walked with one out before Leach laid a bunt down to third base. Seggern then hit an RBI single through the left side, plating one run. One at-bat later, Haley Bearden hit an RBI groundout that sealed UT’s 8-0 win over Longwood.
Tennessee will play Ohio State in Game 3 of the Knoxville Regional beginning at noon ET on Saturday. Per NCAA Tournament guidelines, the Lady Vols will be the visiting team and Ohio State will be the home team.
Broadcast information will be shared as it comes available following the conclusion of the remaining Regional games across the country on Friday night.
DON’T CALL IT A STREAK: In UT’s overall series vs. Longwood, the Big Orange have held the Lancers scoreless since the first meeting in 2005. Overall, the Lady Vols have out-scored the Lancers 35-0 through six games.
CAREER DAY: Junior third baseman Chelsea Seggern had a career game on Friday, hitting two home runs and six RBI in the contest against Longwood. Previously, she had driven in a career-high four RBI four times. This marked the first game she had two home runs in an outing.
SHE’LL CUT YOU DOWN: Freshman pitcher Ashley Rogers tied a career high in strikeouts with 13 on Friday. She previously fanned 13 batters against Boston University in February. The outing vs. the Lancers marked her fifth game of the season with 10+ strikeouts.
Tennessee Co-Head Coach Karen Weekly
“First, I’d just like to thank our university for the tremendous job they do hosting the NCAA Regional event. I know we have a lot of experience at this, but I never take it for granted what a professional job they do and how great the event runs. I’m really proud of our girls and the way they came out today. Our pitching performance was stellar and I’m really proud of the way we swung the bat and put some good innings together to get some runs on the board. That’s something that we’ve been struggling with lately. We worked really hard in our practices this week and that hard work paid off today. I have a lot of respect for Longwood. They’re a tough program. We’ve played them here before in the same event and had wins like this and then faced them in the championship and had really tough games. So, I know they’re going to bounce back and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them later on in this event.”
On why the floodgates open after one run comes in:
“I think sometimes we’re up there thinking too much and I think when the kids are in the dugout watching each other and kind of taking inventory of their at-bat, they can see that and it takes them a while to just get loose with their swings. I didn’t think our swings were really good at first. We had a couple good swings the first time through the order but after that we just kind of cut loose. That’s what we were doing all BP, getting the barrel out and driving the ball. We shouldn’t have the check swings and the jam jobs that we were getting and that’s what we were seeing and they saw each other.”
On what she knows about Ohio State:
“I’ve looked at them a lot. You don’t want to give your players too much information because you want them focused on Longwood. They’ve seen a little bit of every team and a lot of Longwood. But now it’s going to be a deep dive on Ohio State. They come from a very good conference. I think the Big 10 was as strong as they’ve been in many years this year. So to finish where they did in the Big 10, it was a very good season for them. We just saw their pitcher shut down North Carolina. We played North Carolina earlier this year, and we thought they were a pretty darn good team. So she’s one of the top pitchers in the Big 10 this year, and they played some really strong opponents outside of their conference and did very well. They’ve got a pretty powerful hitting team. It’s going to be a real challenge.”
On if she’s been able to appreciate the career game she had:
“Someone said to me that six RBIs is my career high. I didn’t even know I had that many to be honest. We’re just out here to win ballgames and compete for each other and compete for our pitchers because they compete for us. We’re just trying to make it to the end, that’s our main goal.”
On what she knows about Ohio State:
“We definitely have looked at all their pitchers and their hitters and we just know they’re going to be a competitive team. They’re coming from a great conference and we definitely can’t overlook them. We’re going to be looking at them more tonight. Kudos to them for winning, but it’s going to be a matchup tomorrow. We’re excited.”
On pitching in her first NCAA Regional:
“At the very beginning, I was really fired up and ready to go. I feel like I haven’t pitched in forever. I was really fired up and the first batter I got behind and then she got a hit, so I had to calm myself down a little bit and just take a few breaths and get locked in from then on. I felt like I did a pretty good job staying locked in and attacking batters from the very beginning.”
On staying mentally locked in throughout the season:
“Coming in as a freshman it’s definitely a challenge just because it’s so mentally exhausting. Every single game you have to be locked in and on your toes, which is pretty much the deciding factor every single game or somebody will beat you. It’s just something you have to practice and just build up over time. And I think that Karen’s really helped me and the team and the other pitchers have really helped me build that over the season.”
Longwood Head Coach Kathy Riley
“I just didn’t think we played well. So it was really difficult to see what we were truly capable of doing because we did not play good defense and didn’t have very good at-bats, so it was really tough to kind of get a feel for what we’re capable of doing.”
On how the pitching made it tough for the team to kind of find a groove today:
“Tennessee pitchers get to face a lot of really good batters during the season. So you guys know as well as I do play in the SEC means that you have to figure it out. Because you’re facing so many people and learning how to follow up certain sequences with pitches that are going to be to your advantage is something that they get to do really often and they’re good at. Even when it goes to play discipline on our part, we have less opportunities to really have to work at it at the level that’s necessary. When you get to a regional, it’s always like that for us a little bit simply because it’s a little bit out of the norm to face as good pitching as we see here. So even if you do your non-conference schedule, you’re doing all early, and then the last half is usually in your conference. So, it’s definitely more difficult.”
On Chelsea Seggern and the home runs or if there were pitches she could have back:
“That’s a good question. I didn’t call the pitch and it almost looked like she was really picking up the pitch early. I mean, both pitches look like they were off-speed pitches and it looked like she was really comfortable. So, I think she was really seeing the pitch early. In watching, it almost looked like if we could have thrown speed pitches just a little quicker; it might have been more effective. It looks like it would just slow enough for her to really pick it up and have a chance to sit back and still hit it well.”
On the crowd and atmosphere here compared to what she was used to seeing:
“I love the atmosphere, and I always love when people come out and want to support their own team and although you know, as a coach, you want to take up for your own players. To me, that’s what it’s all about is to, you know, you go to college, have that college atmosphere and have college athletics be a part of your community and them being able to get engaged with their hometown team. So, I’m all about that. I enjoy it, enjoy seeing them come out all the time and their school spirit.”