By: Gabriel Daniel
KNOXVILLE, Tenn – No.2 Tennessee lost their first game in over a month in a 4-2 loss to No.13 Alabama Saturday night at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.
Tennessee (25-2, 7-1 SEC) started the game off strong scoring two runs in the first inning, a complete reversal of the previous game where the Lady Vols didn’t score until the third inning.
However, the bats soon went cold, and Tennessee did not score the rest of the game. During the next six innings they were only able to manage two hits and left three runners on base.
Meanwhile Alabama (24-9, 2-3 SEC) combined solid hitting and efficient pitching throughout the game to defeat the Lady Vols.
Crimson Tide pitcher Alex Salter only allowed five hits in the game, three of which came in the first inning.
Coach Karen Weekly said that she thought the Lady Vols weren’t as focused as they could have been.
“I think we’ve gotten a little bit comfortable with our pitchers just dealing remarkable games and keeping a zero on the scoreboard, and it was good we got into that position because I think we learned what not to do,” said Weekly.
Coach Weekly went on to say that the team may have relaxed too much after the solid first inning.
“I just don’t think we really executed well, because she [Salter] didn’t really change what she was doing. I think we just again took for granted that some of our swings were going to be better than they were and get better results than they did,” said Weekly.
The usually dominant pitching for Tennessee started off slow but returned to form as the game progressed.
Karlyn Pickens had a home run hit off of her second pitch of the game by Alabama’s Kali Heivilin. Pickens also struggled in the third inning where she walked two batters and allowed two hits, resulting in another two runs for the Tide.
But Pickens recovered striking out four batters in the next two innings and not letting anyone reach base until a run was scored in the sixth.
The Lady Vols will close out the series Sunday at 1:30 P.M. EST at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium, needing a win to take the series.