VOLS,star sadly announced her resignation due to poor salary HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED

Tennessee softball completed its three-game sweep of South Carolina on Monday night, defeating the Gamecocks, 8-0, in six innings.

The No. 7 Lady Vols (26-4, 6-0 SEC) slugged their way to best the No. 23 Gamecocks (22-10, 0-6) as Karlyn Pickens struck out 10 and Zaida Puni hit a home run.

“Confidence is the byproduct of preparation,” Tennessee head coach Karen Weekly said on postgame radio. “They prepared hard and, you know, they’ve gone in and they’ve put in the game plan and they’ve executed.”

The Lady Vols extended their winning streak to 18 games, continuing to lead the nation. They have now recorded back-to-back SEC sweeps.

It was a slow start for the Lady Vols in the batter’s box as they were held off of the bases and retired in order in each of the first two innings.

The Gamecocks threatened in the second inning as they recorded two infield hits and had two runners in scoring position. Pickens was able to escape the jam with a clutch strikeout and a groundout.

Tennessee had a threat of its own in the third inning After starting the top half off with a Sophia Nugent double for the Lady Vols’ first hit of the night, Laura Mealer followed with a single and Puni walked to load the bases with two outs. The bases were stranded after McKenna Gibson struck out looking.

Pickens showed some control issues and uncharacteristically walked two batters in the bottom half of the inning, but was able to recover and get out of the funk.

The Lady Vols broke through in the fourth inning, scoring three runs. Destiny Rodriguez started off the scoring with a shot to the warning that plated Katie Taylor. Nugent followed with a flyout, driving in Amanda Ahlin. The rally concluded with Mealer doubling off of the center field wall, bringing in Taylor Pannell and chasing South Carolina’s freshman starter Sage Mardjetko from the game.

Pickens held strong in the bottom half of the fourth, striking out two and holding the lead for Tennessee.

Alana Vawter came into the game in relief for the Gamecocks and proceeded to strike out the side in the top of the fifth.

“When she came in, we were just a little slow to make the adjustment,” Weekly said on postgame radio. “We made it yesterday, and we were pretty good and knocked her out”.

Pickens seemed to fully settle into the game during her second and third time through the Gamecocks batting order. She utilized her strong changeup and held South Carolina to one player on base in the fifth.

The Lady Vols blew the game open in the top of the sixth, scoring five runs off of Vawter, echoing the adjustment Weekly talked about. The dagger came when Puni hit a three-run home run over the left-field wall. Mealer recorded her third hit of the game for an RBI double. Nugent also tallied an RBI double in the inning, pinning South Carolina into mercy-rule territory.

Pickens came on in the bottom half to slam the door on the Gamecocks and secure the win. She recorded 10 strikeouts in her 14th win of the year.

“I thought she was lights-out tonight,” Weekly said on postgame radio. “What I love about her performance is, she got better. You know, early in the game getting behind in counts but still getting those tough outs for us, not letting them mount any kind of a rout. It’s just really cool to see an athlete make that kind of a switch, that kind of adjustment in-game.”

The Lady Vols will get a few days rest before they head to Auburn on Friday to take on the Tigers in a three-game series. They will look to capitalize on another road trip and extend their streak.

“Confidence isn’t this elusive thing that you have or you don’t have,” Weekly said on postgame radio. “When you put the work in, you have a right to be confident and they’re putting the work in and we’re gonna continue to put the work in.”

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