BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Catcher Giulia Koutsoyanopulos drove in four of the third-ranked Lady Vols’ nine runs Sunday at Davis Diamond, leading UT to a 9-2 victory over Texas A&M and a fourth consecutive SEC series win.
Her four RBIs ties a career-high as she went 1-for-2 at the plate with two runs scored.
In the circle, senior Payton Gottshall got the start for the Lady Vols but threw just a third of an inning – allowing two runs on three hits – before freshman Karlyn Pickens came on in relief. Pickens went the rest of the way, tossing 6.2 innings with 10 strikeouts, four walks and no runs or hits allowed. The rookie is now 7-3 this season.
Tennessee (29-3, 10-2 SEC) struck for a pair of runs in the game’s first inning as Aggie pitcher Emiley Kennedy struggled with her command, hitting three batters and walking another. With one out, junior Rylie West singled down the right field line before advancing to second as McKenna Gibson was hit by a pitch.
A wild pitch to Zaida Puni then skipped to the backstop and allowed West to go from second to home for the game’s first run. After Puni and sophomore Katie Taylor got plunked to load the bases, second baseman Lair Beautae drew a walk to plate Gibson – giving UT a 2-0 lead.
The Aggies (22-13, 5-7 SEC) responded in the home half of the inning with a pair of runs themselves. A leadoff walk followed by a one-out single put runners on the corners for Aiyana Coleman who singled through the left side of the diamond to drive in Texas A&M’s first run.
A third single in the inning loaded the bases for Koko Wooley who got hit by Tennessee starter Payton Gottshall to bring in the game-tying run.
In the fourth, Koutsoyanopulos got hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a ground out, setting the table for senior Kiki Milloy to bring her home on a single through the left side of the infield to break the tie and give Tennessee a 3-2 lead.
With the bases loaded in the top half of the fifth, Koutsoyanopulos broke the game open with a bases-clearing three-RBI double – putting the Big Orange up 6-2. The Lady Vols tacked on two more in the frame as a single by Jamison Brockenbrough followed by an error scored Koutsoyanopulos as Brockenbrough advanced around to third.
Milloy then singled to bring home Brockenbrough and add to Tennessee’s lead.
Tennessee padded its lead in the sixth as Koutsoyanopulos draw a bases-loaded walk to earn her fourth RBI, putting UT up 9-2.
Emiley Kennedy took the ball for A&M and pitched four innings, allowing three runs on two hits with four strikeouts and a pair of walks. Kennedy suffered the loss and is now 5-3 in 2023. Madison Preston tossed a third of an inning – surrendering three runs – before giving way to Emily Leavitt who went two- thirds of an inning and also gave up three runs.
Shaylee Ackerman pitched the final two innings for the Aggies, holding the Lady Vols off the board.
Tennessee plays host to Baylor and Mercer Thursday and Friday, April 6-7 at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium for the Tennessee Invitational.