Tennessee softball NCAA Regional: Lady Vols chop Longwood, USC-Upstate on deck
Tennessee pitcher Matty Moss dominated in the Lady Vols NCAA Softball Tournament Regional opener on Friday night, tossing a one-hitter in a 5-0 win over Big South tourney champ Longwood on Friday night at Lee Stadium.
Moss tied her career-high with 10 strikeouts and walked just one against the overmatched Lancers to give co-head coach Ralph Weekly his 1,300th career victory.
The No. 8-seeded Lady Vols (45-10) next play at noon on Saturday against No. 25-ranked USC-Upstate, which knocked off Big Ten heavy Ohio State by a 7-3 count in the first game of the NCAA Softball Regional in Knoxville earlier on Friday.
The Buckeyes (36-17) allowed the Spartans four unearned runs in the final inning, choking away a 3-2 lead as USC-Upstate sent 11 batters to the plate thanks to two Ohio State errors and five hits.
The Spartans (45-11) are the three-time defending Atlantic Sun Conference champs and enter Saturday’s game against Tennessee on a 9-game win streak.
It’s the first time the Lady Vols have played the Spartanburg, S.C., school in softball.
Tennessee built a 4-0 lead on Longwood through three innings as SEC Player of the Year Meghan Gregg had an RBI single in the first inning and a home run in the third. It was Gregg’s 12th home run of the season.
Jenna Holcomb, batting one spot ahead of Gregg in the order at No. 2, had RBI singles in the same frames
Brooke Vines provided an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning with a solo home run, her fourth of the season.
Moss (24-2), meanwhile, was cruising, bouncing back from her shaky appearance against LSU in last Thursday’s 6-2 loss in the SEC Softball Tournament in Knoxville.
UT co-head coach Karen Weekly explained why she started Moss over SEC All-Freshman pitcher Caylan Arnold against Longwood.
“Matty has experience and she throws hard, does a good job keeping the ball down,” Weekly said between innings during the ESPN2 telecast. “I thought she was a good matchup.”
Moss’ fastball was consistently clocked in the high 60s against the overmatched Lancers.
Ohio State plays Longwood at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday in an elimination game.
The loser of the Tennessee-USC-Upstate game will meet the winner of Ohio State-Longwood in an elimination game at 5 p.m.
The winner of the Tennessee-USC Upstate game will advance to a noon game on Sunday.
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