On a picturesque afternoon, the Tennessee Lady Vol softball team and

18th-ranked South Carolina split a doubleheader at Tyson Park on Saturday.

In a tightly contested first game, the Lady Gamecocks used a one-out,

two-run home run to pull out a 4-2 victory over UT. The Orange and White

would then earn a split of the day's action with a 16-4 romp in the teams'

second encounter. UT is now 16-17 overall and 4-7 in the SEC, while South

Carolina is 27-15 and 8-7 in conference play.

In the opener, it appeared as though extra innings might be needed to

decide the outcome of the contest, as the game was deadlocked at two apiece

entering the decisive seventh inning. Freshman pitcher Leslie Poole got

USC's freshman first baseman Danielle Quinones to fly out to junior center

fielder Holly Ellison for the first out of the inning before allowing a

walk to senior shortstop Kendra McCutcheon. Lady Gamecock right fielder

Joyce McMillin then turned on a 1-1 Poole offering and connected for a

two-run home run over the left-center field fence for a 4-2 USC advantage.

The Lady Vols were then retired in order in the bottom half of the inning

to end the game.

Poole, who went the distance, fell to 4-5, while South Carolina's sophomore

pitcher Megan Matthews improved to 16-10 with the triumph.

Tennessee was led at the dish from a 2-for-4 afternoon from junior catcher

Maura Mollet. The Lady Vols also garnered hits from Ellison, juniors

Janette Koshell and Melissa Radley, sophomore Maria Torres and senior

Amanda Venable. Tennessee scored its first run when Ellison singled in

Radley in the bottom of the fourth inning. Mollet followed that with a

double to right center to score Ellison all the way from first base for the

second run.

In Game 2, Venable was 3-for-4, and the quintet of Ellison, Koshell,

Mollet, Radley and Adrianna Wilson each contributed two hits. In all, the

Lady Vols out-hit the Lady Gamecocks, 14-7. For South Carolina, only

freshman Debralee Troesh finished with more than one hit in the contest as

she recorded two.

Tennessee would break a 2-1 game open in the third inning with an 11-run

effort. The Lady Vols would bat around in the inning as 14 UT batters would

take their cuts. South Carolina and McMillin would be hurt in the inning by

three errors. Freshman Nicole Murray led off the inning with a single

before Radley reached on an error. With two on, Koshell would then get on

base via an error by the USC third baseman before advancing to second on

the throw home attempting to nail Murray at the dish. Venable then laced a

double to left field, scoring Radley and Koshell. McMillin then plucked

Torres with the first pitch following the Venable double. Following singles

from Mollet, Ellison, Radley, and Koshell, the Lady Vols put the game away

when Venable crushed McMillin's 2-0 pitch over the left field fence for a

three-run bomb and a 12-2 UT lead. The home run was the fifth of the

campaign for Venable. Tennessee would tack on four more runs in the fourth

before the game was called by the mercy rule after the top of the fifth

inning. Despite pitching well, senior pitcher Jackie Beavers left the

contest before she could qualify for the decision. In 2.2 innings, Beavers

allowed four runs off seven USC hits. Pitching 1.2 innings of

relief, Poole evened her record at 5-5 while McMillin took the loss and

dropped to 10-5 on the year.

The Lady Vols finished their weekend action with a single game versus the

Lady Gamecocks on Sunday. The game began at 1 p.m. at Tyson Park. Results

of the game were not available at press time.