After losing their second game of the season Friday at No. 15 South Carolina, the No. 2 ranked Lady Vols were expected to show their resilience and steal game two of the series in Columbia.
Despite leading for most of Saturday’s game, the Lady Vols ended up losing in walk-off fashion for the second straight game.
South Carolina (27-4) opened the game with a strong first inning. Tennessee’s starting pitcher, Matty Moss, struggled with her control to open the game, hitting three Gamecock batters with pitches in the first two innings.
The Gamecocks took advantage, scoring twice in the first inning off of an RBI groundout and a wild pitch.
Tennessee (30-3) responded in the third inning with a sight welcomed by all Lady Vols fans: a three-run home run by Brooke Vines, her first of the year.
Vines was sidelined by a shoulder injury that forced her to miss the first 25 games of the season, so it was a welcome sight to see her return to her power-hitting form from last season.
The next batter, Meghan Gregg, then advanced to second base off of a South Carolina fielding error, and Chelsea Seggern drilled an RBI double to bring the score to 4-2 in favor of UT.
The score would remain at 4-2 until the seventh inning, as both teams showed their defensive and pitching toughness, each getting out of a jam to keep the score from budging.
After Tennessee went scoreless in the top half of the seventh, South Carolina quickly loaded the bases with one out against pitcher Caylan Arnold, who replaced Moss in the fifth inning and pitched for the second straight day.
A sac fly by pitcher Cayla Drotar reduced Tennessee’s lead to 4-3. Arnold then intentionally walked Jana Johns, once again loading the bases.
The Lady Vols were one out away from victory before disaster struck.
South Carolina batter Kennedy Clark made solid contact against Arnold, hitting a ball deep into left-center field. The ball dropped behind Tennessee’s outfield and two runs scored to give the Gamecocks a 5-4 win.
The loss marks the Lady Vols’ first losing streak and series loss of the season and the third game of the weekend will be tomorrow at 1 p.m.
Written by: Jacob Boughter
Edited by: Sam Forman