A historic performance on the baseball field masked what was actually a disappointing weekend for Tennessee Vols athletics. Three sports had events throughout the past few days, and the only one that saw a victorious ending was in a meaningless regular season outing.
Our morning update on Rocky Top involves two sports that were eliminated from their respective postseason events over the weekend. We’ll have to cover both of those along with the regular season sweep by one team that had already clinched everything regular season related.
There is also a preview of events this week to come, as that one sport in the regular season did just see it end and is set to begin postseason play. Meanwhile, men’s and women’s tennis have other events set to begin, so let’s dive in, starting with the softball program.
Softball falls in NCAA Regionals – Maria M. Cornelius, GoVols247
Despite beating the Campbell Lady Camels Friday and the Oregon State Beavers Saturday, the Tennessee Lady Vols softball team lost both games to Oregon State Sunday when it only needed one win, costing itself a chance at reaching the Super Regionals. It’s the second year in a row UT lost a regional that it was hosting.
Tennessee, 41-17, joined a Sunday of upsets as Stanford took out Alabama in its regional in Tuscaloosa, and Mississippi State traveled to Tallahassee to eliminate Florida State and will now host a Super Regional in Starkville. The Seminoles were runners-up to Oklahoma at the 2021 Women’s College World Series and, at second in the country, were a favorite to return to the national championship stage.
Tony Vitello, players recap sweep of Mississippi State – Ben McKee, VolQuest
After Thursday’s historic 27-2 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs, the Tennessee Vols baseball team won on Friday and Saturday as well to finish the season with a sweep on the road. Here’s a bit of what Tony Vitello said about the weekend.
“I think without sounding cliche, the preparation before the game is kind of what bled into the game. I don’t think there was any special strategy or anything, but the way the guys showed up with attitude, and then the way they approached pregame, you felt like it carried over into each inning.”
Kirby Connell came in during the fourth inning of the third game with one out and the bases loaded and got the Vols out of the inning. He then pitched the next two and didn’t allow a run, walk or hit as UT won 10-5. Here’s a bit of what he said about his play.
“I think all the pitches were working good. I was able to use my defense today. They played defense behind me so it really helped.”
Evan Russell went long on Saturday to tie Todd Helton’s career record for home runs. Here’s a bit of what he said about that.
“You know, rounding the bases, it was almost just a wild feeling because I never would have thought that it would have happened whenever I first started on campus, so to be able to do something that took a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication, it means a lot to me.”
SEC baseball tournament bracket set – SECSports
With the No. 1 seed clinched the weekend before, Tennessee baseball will play its first SEC Tournament game at 5:30 p.m. ET Wednesday. UT will face the winner between the No. 8 seed Ole Miss Rebels and No. 9 seed Vanderbilt Commodores.
The two division champions shall be automatically seeded number one and number two based on winning percentage in conference competition. The rest shall be seeded numbers 3 through 12 based on winning percentage without regard to division.
Saturday saw the Tennessee Vols men’s tennis team lose 5-0 to the Virginia Cavaliers in the semifinals of the NCAA Championships. They now begin singles championships with Adam Walton and Johannus Monday. Walton and Pat Harper will be in doubles championships along with Shunsuke Mitsui and Emile Hudd.
The NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Subcommittee has selected the 64 singles players and 32 doubles teams that will compete in the 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championships.
The singles and doubles competition will be conducted May 23-28 at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex in Champaign, Illinois, after the conclusion of the team championship, which runs from May 19-22. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will serve as host.
Three Tennessee Lady Vols tennis players will take part in this year’s singles and doubles championships. The event will take place at the same spot as the men’s championships in Illinois.
Action for the singles draw kicks off Monday, May 23, while the doubles bracket begins play Tuesday, May 24. Tennessee is represented in the singles draw by Rebeka Mertena while Tenika McGiffin/Daria Kuczer partner up for doubles action.