(WJHL) – Both Tennessee and Virginia Tech softball began Sunday with a chance to clinch an NCAA Regional championship at home.
The Lady Vols needed just one win over Oregon State to seal the deal, but the Beavers swept the home team on Sunday afternoon, ending their season.
Oregon State took Game 1, 8-3, as Mariah Mazon allowed Tennessee just four hits and three runs. The Beavers built an early 5-0 lead, thanks in part to a two-run home run from Frankie Hammoude.
The Lady Vols managed three in the fifth inning, as Rylie West’s two-RBI double and Kiki Molloy’s RBI single gave the Big Orange some life. However, a Mazon homer in the sixth inning sealed the game.
The decisive Game 2 between the teams started quietly, as neither team scored a run through the first five innings.
Mazon broke the ice, again, with a two-run home run in the sixth inning. Madison Simon’s RBI single stretched the lead to 3-0.
Ashley Morgan extended the Lady Vols’ season with a solo home run in the seventh, but it’s all the home team would get in a 3-1 loss.
Tennessee finishes the year with a record of 41-18.
Meanwhile, the Hokies hosted Kentucky in Blacksburg needing two wins to keep their season alive.
Virginia Tech wasted no time, as a sac fly from Meredith Slaw provided a 1-0 advantage. UK responded in the second inning with a pair of RBIs to take the lead, 2-1.
But, the remainder of the game belonged to the home squad, as the Hokies touched up the visitors for eight more runs. Cameron Fagan’s three-run long ball in the seventh inning was the cherry on top of a 9-2 victory.
The start of the decisive elimination game was delayed more than an hour due to lightning in the area, but the electricity flowed through Kentucky’s bats when the sun shone again.
Kayla Kowalik led off the game with a solo home run, followed two batters later by Erin Coffel, for a 2-0 lead.
Jayme Bailey tied things up, 2-2, with one swing for the Hokies in the bottom of the first.
The Wildcats would pounce back in front in the third inning with a Coffel RBI double. But, the Hokies grabbed the lead for good in the fifth inning off a Mackenzie Lawter three-run homer that just cleared the left field fence.
Virginia Tech would hold on to win, 5-4, advancing to the Super Regionals for the first time in school history. The Hokies will host Florida, with Game 1 of the series scheduled to start on Friday.