Spring is back or at least the feel of it is, which means the Lady Vols softball team has been taking the diamond a lot lately.
It’s been much of the same for Tennessee and co-head coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly on the season’s hot start. The 4th-ranked Lady Vols host SEC foe Missouri this weekend for their first conference series.
Looking at the Tigers of Missouri
Missouri is coming off a 10-3 win over Drake University last Sunday, March 4th. They have won 10 out of their last 12 and will bring a 16-7 record to Knoxville, under first year head coach Gina Fouge.
The Tigers are led at the plate once again by Amanda Sanchez.
The junior third baseman is as hot of a hitter in the SEC as there is after one month of play.
In the Mizzou Tournament last weekend, she was one of many Missouri hitters that roughed up the pitching staffs of Creighton, Drake and Southeastern Louisiana.
Sanchez is in the top 10 nationally in just about every category. She has 35 hits which is third and has logged 64 bases off those hits, which is second. Another bright spot for the Tigers is a up-and-coming freshman, Brooke Wilmes.
After starting the 2018 campaign 0-for-14, Wilmes had her coming out party last weekend hitting .500, plating eight runs, four doubles, three triples and a home run.
With eight-multi hit games and five games with multi RBI’s along with the never-ending production from Sanchez, these will be two bats that the Weekly’s and this Tennessee pitching staff will be looking to keep quiet.
To the circle for the Tigers, things don’t seem to be as hot.
While the 16-7 record does speak for itself, the combined ERA does not.
This staff brings in an ERA of 3.19 and is facing a Lady Vols squad that has five batters over .300 and six that have double digits in runs scored.
However, the staff Missouri is bringing to Knoxville does have bright spots.
This staff has struck out 108 batters through 23 games and is led in strikeouts by Lauren Rice, a freshman from Morrison, Illinois with 38. If Missouri can pitch smart, there is the possibility that Tennessee’s bats can be contained and we see a close series.
Moving to the Lady Vols
As stated earlier they are off to another hot start with a 21-1 record and are the 4th-ranked team in the country.
After starting the season off with three-straight tournaments, Tennessee came home last weekend and beat Toledo, South Alabama and Charleston Southern.
This might be the best hitting team Tennessee has had in the past few years.
As stated earlier, the squad has five batters hitting north of .300 and six that are already in double digits in plating runs. The leader at the plate though it’s none other than senior Meghan Gregg.