Lady Vols to Visit Mexico For Prestigious Tourney in Spring

KNOXVILLE,Tenn. (WVLT)— During the second weekend of the 2020 season, Tennessee softball will join 12 other programs for the lone Division I softball event held outside of the U.S. at the fifth running of the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge in Mexico, announced by Triple Crown Events on Wednesday.
In the two-session tournament that spans two weekends in February, the Lady Vols will participate in session 2 from Feb. 13-16. UT’s field includes three teams that appeared in the postseason in 2019 (Texas, Colorado State, Ole Miss), Pac-12 notable Utah and Cal Baptist.
Session 1 runs from Feb. 6-9 and will include Oklahoma, BYU, Long Beach State, Oregon, Utah Valley State, George Washington and Nevada.
While the Rebels and Lady Vols will not face off until conference play, among the remaining potential opponents UT holds a 6-6 all-time record, having never played Colorado State or Cal Baptist.
“We choose to play one of the toughest schedules in the nation year in and year out,” said co-head coach Ralph Weekly. “That challenge is multiplied by the fact that we are on the road four of five weekends in February and March. We feel it prepares us for post season, as evidenced by the fact we have appeared in 11 Super Regionals, resulting in seven College World Series appearances since 2005. We have finished in the top-four five times at the WCWS, including two national runner-up titles.
“Last season we played a very good Florida team six times in Gainesville, going 3-3 and losing the World Series berth in the 8th inning of the final game. This season’s schedule is no different. We play Texas, Utah, Hofstra, Liberty, Southern Florida, Arizona State, Lipscomb (fall ball), North Carolina and Michigan – all NCAA Regional teams in addition to an SEC schedule that includes 24 games against NCAA teams.”
The Vols are coming off of the program’s 16th consecutive and 17th overall postseason appearance, finishing with a 43-17 record in 2019. UT advanced to the Gainesville Super Regional and fell 2-1 in a dramatic eight-inning bout to No. 5 Florida after downing the Gators in game 2 in a theatrical 3-2, nine-inning walk-off walk.