Moving on: The Lady Vols take down Indiana to take Knoxville Regional

Tennessee defeats Indiana to advance to the Super Regionals.
No. 4 Lady Vols and Indiana in final game of the Knoxville Regional
No. 4 Lady Vols and Indiana in final game of the Knoxville Regional(wvlt)
Published: May. 21, 2023 at 7:33 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Tennessee Lady Vols are moving on to the Super Regionals after a 7-3, win over Indiana. Tennessee hasn’t advanced to the supers since 2019.

Sunday featured a rematch between the Hoosiers and Lady Vols where Tennessee run-ruled Indiana 12-0, in Saturday’s match.

The final day was sparked by the offense in the top of the first by the Lady Vols when Kiki Milloy squared up a base hit then stole second. Next, Zaida Puni was the dish and launched the pitch deep into the right-field bleachers for a two-run homer and UT took the 2-0 lead.

In the bottom frame, Payton Gottshall was in the circle with the start. The Hoosiers got the bases loaded with one out off a walk and a pair of base hits. Karen Weekly met Gottshall in the circle for a quick reset. Gottshall answered by striking out pitcher Brianna Copeland for the second out of the inning. Puni would snag the foul ball to close the frame.

The following bottom frame in the second inning, Indiana loaded the bases again doing so off a base hit, error, and a walk with just one out on the board. A brief mound meeting followed and Gottshall would answer again by striking out the next batter she faced to get two outs on the board. Puni caught the pop-up to close the frame, forcing the Hoosiers to strand the bases loaded in back-to-back innings.

In the middle of the frame, Kiki Milloy got the team in a huddle and appeared to give a motivating speech and set the team right heading into the bottom of the third.

Gottshall returned for the bottom of the fourth and struck out three of the four batters she faced, keeping the Hoosiers off the board for another inning.

The next frame, the Lady Vols got to work. The senior lined one out to right field for a triple then on a wild pitch Milloy steals home for UT’s first score since the first inning. Zaida Puni was at the dish next and she roped the pitch deep to left field out by the scoreboard for her second home run of the outing and it’s 4-0 Lady Vols.

For Puni this is her second time during the Knoxville Regional where she recorded multiple home runs, the first time was against Northern Kentucky in their first game of the regional.

Keep it same inning, Lair Beautae with the sac fly to bring in McKenna Gibson bringing up the score to 5-0 with two outs. Then Giulia Koutsoyanopulos came to the plate with two on and two outs and sends a grounder to left field and it was enough to bring in both runners. Tennessee plated five runs in the fifth after three scoreless innings to lead 7-0 over Indiana.

The SEC Freshman of the Year in Karlyn Pickens took the circle in the bottom of the sixth.

In the bottom of the seventh, Indiana loaded the bases for a third time this game. The Hoosiers would bring home each runner to make it a 7-3 ballgame with two outs. One of those runs came from a wild pitch by Pickens.

The Lady Vols will host No. 13 Texas in the Super Regionals which starts next Friday, May 26.