Softball Preview: No. RV/23/24 Tennessee vs Illinois State and Tennessee Invitational

Lady Vols softball / Credit: UT Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. RV/23/24 Tennessee softball continues an action-packed week with outings against Illinois State on Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET, and a solo matchup with UT-Martin on Thursday at 5 p.m., to kickstart UT’s slate at the four-day Tennessee Invitational at Sherri Parker Lee.

The Lady Vols are coming off a pair of decisive wins against Ohio where they outhit the Bobcats 20-7 including combining for six homers. UT

Tennessee Invitational Schedule
Game     Date                           Time (ET)     Match Up

Game 1*  Wednesday, 2/24       5:00pm         Tennessee vs Illinois State

Game 2  Thursday, 2/25            2:30pm          UT-Martin  vs Illinois State

Game 3  Thursday, 2/25            5:00pm          Tennessee  vs UT-Martin

Game 4  Friday, 2/26                 10:00am        N. Kentucky vs Central Michigan

Game 5  Friday, 2/26                 12:30pm        Illinois State  vs UT-Martin

Game 6  Friday, 2/26                  3:00pm         Illinois State  vs N. Kentucky

Game 7  Saturday, 2/27             10:00am        N. Kentucky  vs UT-Martin

Game 8  Saturday, 2/27             12:30pm        Tennessee   vs N. Kentucky

Game 9  Saturday, 2/27             3:00pm          Tennessee  vs C. Michigan

Game 10  Saturday, 2/27           5:30pm          Illinois St.  vs N. Kentucky

Game 11Sunday, 2/28               9:30am           C. Michigan  vs N. Kentucky

Game 12Sunday, 2/28               12:00pm        Tennessee  vs C. Michigan

*- Not a part of the Tennessee Invitational

Broadcast Information
All contests that include Tennessee will be broadcast on the SECN+, except for Wednesday’s solo matchup with Illinois State. Thursday’s outing will be called by Michael Wottreng (PxP). Saturday’s games will be covered by Madison Shipman (Analysis) and Will Boling (PxP) and Sunday’s contest will pair up Shipman and Wottreng.

Fans can also listen to the action, for Lady Vols games only, online at UTsports.com by clicking the listen link on the schedule page or by downloading the Tennessee Gameday App, with Brian Rice calling all of the action.

Live stats will be available for all games.

Quick Hits
BOMB-tastic Offense
Through eight games the Lady Vols’ power at the plate has proven to be potent. UT ranks 10th in the nation in home runs per game (2.12); fourth in the SEC. The Tennessee offense has combined for four homers in two games so far this season (Game 1 vs EKU, Feb. 14 & Game 1 vs Ohio, Feb. 22), which ties for seventh in program history for combined homers in a game. That mark has only been reached 17 times in UT annals, including the two this season. Graduate senior Cailin Hannon and sophomore Kiki Milloy co-lead the Lady Vols with four homers each, which ties for 16th in the country. For Hannon, it is a noteworthy accomplishment as the outfielder combined for five home runs through her first four seasons (2017-2020) on Rocky Top.

Hit Makers
UT’s bats have been the loudest in the conversation including during its most recent doubleheader against Ohio (Feb. 22). The Lady Vols outhit the Bobcats 20-7 during the twin bill that resulted in a 7-1 victory and an 11-2, five-inning W. The Orange and White is slugging a .646 mark, which ranks third in the SEC and 15th in the nation. The Lady Vol are more than doubling their opponents in total hits, 60-29 with a season-high 14-hit showing against Ohio in game 2.

Poison Ivy
Transfer senior Ivy Davis has undoubtedly engendered some tension in the circle, batting a team-high .471 clip. The Huntington Beach, Calif., native had recorded eight hits, seven of which have been for extra bases. In addition to her three yard balls, Davis has added four doubles to the ledger which is the 12th most in the nation. She also holds a 1.235 slugging percentage, which ranks sixth in the league. The dynamic shortstop has also been perfect in fielding (1.000) in arguably the most difficult defensive spot on the field.

Fielding Finesse
The Lady Vols defense paces the SEC and ranks 14th nationally in fielding percentage (.990). Twelve members of the UT squad remain perfect in fielding through the opening eight games with just two errors committed so far. Tennessee opened the season as one of the best defenses in the nation after turning 17 doubles (0.74 dpg) which topped the SEC and was No. 2 nationally. UT has turned a trio of double plays so far this season. Redshirt senior Chelsea Seggern opted to return for her extra year granted by the NCAA, benefiting both sides of the ball for UT. Seggern helped turn 14 of the 17 doubles.

SCOUTING REPORT
Illinois State
2021 record: 1-1, 0-0 MVC
Series record: Tennessee leads 7-0
Last outing: No. 9 Tennessee downed the Redbirds seven-inning shutout, 6-0 in Knoxville on March 10, 2015.
Key player/stat: The Redbirds started the 2021 season with a shutout win over North Florida, led by senior pitcher Morgan Day who finished the day with 12 strikeouts. Day’s shutout win of the Ospreys marks the 12th of her career, as the right-hander gave up just one hit while allowing a trio of walks. Traveling to Jacksonville, Fla. for the River City Leadoff, the Redbirds fell to Clemson in a Tigers shutout win, 11-0.

UT-Martin
2021 record: 4-0, 0-0 OVC
Series record: Tennessee leads 1-0
Last outing: No. 20 Tennessee defeated the Skyhawks with a walk-off run, 3-2 in Knoxville on Feb. 25, 2020.
Key player/stat: The Skyhawks started their season with doubleheader sweeps against Evansville and Alabama A&M at the Black and Gold Tournament. Freshman Kaci Fuller led the Skyhawks’ offensive momentum, going 7-for-8 with a double, two RBI’s and three stolen bases. The UT-Martin squad had a team batting average of .448 on the day, with six extra base hits and 14 RBIs. Pitchers Alexis Groet, Seeley Layne and Erin Gallagher combined for 19 strikeouts.

Central Michigan
2020 record: 6-13, 0-0 MAC
Series record: Never played each other before
Key player/stat: The Chippewas return lead hitters in sophomore Gisele Acuña (.304) and senior Tala Dean (.302) who combined for 30 hits. CMU in total boasts 12 returners, but lost a big-time pinch hitter in Bella Robles who recorded eight hits in nine appearances and held a .421 hitting average.

Northern Kentucky
2020 record: 9-10, 0-0 HL
Series record: Tennessee leads 1-0
Last outing: A 15th ranked Tennessee notched a win over Northern Kentucky at the KSU Classic, 15-2 on Feb. 8, 2015.
Key player/stat: Last season, Northern Kentucky recorded 124 hits for 57 RBIs, 11 doubles, two triples and 12 home runs, collectively hitting only .239. They led the Horizon League in combined ERA (2.78), but lost ace Taylor Ginther who led the conference with a 1.67 average.

-UT Athletics

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