Tennessee Softball Looking to Prove Something: Keys for Vols in Road Series vs No. 15 Ranked Missouri Tigers


Tennessee softball is looking to prove it can beat ranked teams on the road against the No. 15 Missouri Tigers. Here are the series keys for the Volunteers.

Riding high off of a five-game winning streak that includes a sweep of the Mississippi State Bulldogs last weekend, Ralph and Karen Weekly’s Tennessee Vols appear to have finally hit their stride.

After all, the sweep vs Mississippi State was the first time all year the Vols proved they could beat good teams consistently, and they have clearly not looked back. Now comes another tough weekend.

The Vols are still winless on the road against ranked teams, and they have an opportunity to fix that in this series vs the No. 15 ranked Missouri Tigers in Columbia, Mo. this weekend.

If they are going to do that, they need to prepare for a few things. Here are the three keys for the Vols in this series.

1. Prepare for an offensive clinic.

This is going to be a big deal. The Vols and Tigers have two of the most high-powered offenses in all of college softball, so going up against each other, expect a lot of runs to be scored. Tennessee will need Meghan Gregg and Brook Vines to continue to step up, as they have during this five game winning streak, and they can’t afford to let up.

The Tigers are going to get their hits. But a big deal for the Tigers is where they depend on defense, which brings us to our next point.

2. Work the pitch count

The top Missouri pitchers are each a freshman and a sophomore, in Danielle Baumgartner and Paige Lowery respectively. Both are great players and know how to pitch strikeouts and go a long time. But Tennessee has to be the ones to not allow that.

The Vols have a veteran lineup with lots of great hitting. There’s no excuse for them not to take advantage of young pitchers throughout the weekend to force them into making mistakes. The pitching could give them a huge advantage.

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3. Erin Gabriel

Might as well just simply say her name. This senior pitcher is very good. Through 22 games and 20 starts, she has two shutouts, six complete games, a 2.38 ERA, and multiple perfect games, including one earlier this week.

Against a high-powered Missouri offense, she is going to be needed now more than ever. If Gabriel can do her part, the Vols should be able to get two out of three in this series. At the very least, they need her best to just get one game in this series.