Softball Preview: #2/4 Lady Vols Set to Battle #13/16 Crimson Tide

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The second-ranked Lady Vols softball team is set to battle No. 13 Alabama Friday through Sunday in front of a sold-out Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.
The home series opens Friday with a 6 p.m. ET first pitch, followed by a 5 p.m. start time on Saturday. The series finale is scheduled for Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
A limited number of general admission tickets will be available for walkups.
Friday and Sunday’s games will be available to stream on SEC Network+ with Michael Wottreng (play-by-play) and Michelle LeCourse (analyst) on the call. Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on SEC Network and features Eric Frede (play-by-play) referring the booth as he is joined by LVFL Madison Shipman (analyst) and Alabama grad Kayla Braud (analyst).
The great Mickey Dearstone will step out of retirement for the weekend as he hosts an audio broadcast of the SEC showdown. Links for all broadcast options can be found on the Tennessee softball schedule page and will be shared on @Vol_Softball social media accounts.
Tennessee’s pitching staff has been among the nation’s best this season. The staff ERA is tops in the country at 0.62 with only 13 extra bases hits allowed and just 15 runs given up in 25 games. The staff is headlined by Ashley RogersPayton Gottshall and Karlyn Pickens.
Rogers holds a 0.40 ERA, .61 WHIP with an 8-0 record on the year. She leads the team with 86 strikeouts over 52.1 innings. Her ERA is third-best in the nation and No. 1 in the SEC.
Gottshall – a senior from Massillon, Ohio – holds an ERA at 1.01 with a WHIP of .46. She has six wins on the year and has surrendered just 12 hits and five runs over 34.2 innings pitched this season – totaling 56 strikeouts.
Pickens – a true freshman – has made the most appearances in the circle this season at 12. She has tossed 44.2 innings and is 6-1 on the year. The Weaverville, North Carolina, native has been named SEC Freshman of the Week three times this season – becoming the first Lady Vol to ever win the award on three occasions. She also picked up SEC Pitcher of the Week accolades on Tuesday – the first pitcher of the week honor in her career.
After missing the entire first month of the season, sophomore second baseman Lair Beautae is back. She made her first appearance as the DP against Tennessee Tech, collecting a pair of hits and three RBIs. She made one start versus Ole Miss before entering the lineup full-time at LSU.
Beautae hit .417 (5-for-12) in the series down at Tiger Park, scoring twice and driving in a pair of runs. She was solid in the field, making four putouts and notching four assists.
Tennessee enters the weekend matchup against Alabama on a 19-game win streak. The streak is the longest since UT won 22 consecutive games between Feb. 17 and March 17 in 2018. During the win streak, the Lady Vols have outscored their opponents 147-7 and are averaging 7.7 runs per game.
UT also notched nine consecutive shutouts during the win streak from Feb. 24 – March 5 and also had a run of 71 straight innings without allowing an earned run.
Tennessee’s pitching has been dominant all season but its offense has been just as potent. The Lady Vols are outscoring opponents 206-15 this season.
The Crimson Tide has not traveled to play at Tennessee since 2017, with its scheduled 2020 trip canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic The Tide is coming off a dominant 12-0 five-inning win Wednesday over UAB, tallying a season-high 14 hits while pitcher Alex Salter was just one hit shy of a perfect game.
Head Coach (Record at Alabama): Patrick Murphy (1,213-340-4)
2023 Record: 23-8 (1-2 SEC)
Series Record: Alabama leads 40-26
Last Meeting: L, 5-6, on 5/14/21 in Tuscaloosa – SEC Tournament Semifinal
Key Stat: Alabama is 489-189 (.721) all-time in SEC play, including a 454-168 (.730) mark under head coach Patrick Murphy. Pitcher Montana Fouts holds 86 career wins and is fifth all-time at Alabama. She has also dominated the innings this season, throwing 99.0 in 21 appearances. Fouts is 11-4 on the year with a 1.56 ERA and 162 strikeouts.
Tennessee plays host to ETSU on Tuesday, March 28, as it welcomes the Buccaneers to SPL. The Lady Vols will then head out on the road as they visit Bryan-College Station for a three-game set against Texas A&M.

-UT Athletics

Ashley Rogers – Lady Vols P / Credit: UT Athletics


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