By: Dallas Bowlin
Senior Staff Writer/
The All Vol Call In Show
Tennessee may have one of the best college softball teams in recent history, and they deserve more attention. When it comes to college softball, two teams historically have stood above the rest: 1996 Arizona, and 2021 Oklahoma.
The 1996 Arizona team went 64-3 overall, once road a 31-game winning streak, and outscored its opponents 38-2 while going 7-0 in the postseason on its way to a national title. Five first-team All-Americans led the Wildcats, including Leah O'Brien, who was named to ESPN's All-Time College Softball Team.
The 2021 Oklahoma team also had an impressive overall record, going 56-4. Oklahoma homered in 58 of its sixty games, setting NCAA single-season records for batting average, runs per game, and home runs per game. At the College World Series, the Sooners proved to be the best team in the country, winning a national championship, and breaking all kinds of offensive records with 15 home runs, 49 runs, and 67 hits.
In 2023, the Tennessee Volunteers could be on the verge of adding their names to the annals of college softball history. At the time of writing, the Lady Vols had an overall record of 34-5 and a conference record of 13-2. Tennessee leads the SEC in the following categories: earned run average, opposing batting average, batters struck out looking, hits allowed, and runs allowed. The Lady Vols pitching staff, as demonstrated, is akin to running a gauntlet.
Ashley Rogers, Karlyn Pickens, and Payton Gottshall are the top three opposing "batting average" leaders in the SEC. Ryleigh White leads the SEC in batters struck out looking, while Ashley Rogers leads the league in runs allowed and walks. They aren't just the best in the SEC; three of the nation's top six pitchers in terms of hits allowed per seven innings are Vols (Rogers, Pickens, and Gottshall).
While pitching is Tennessee's strong suit, the offense is not to be overlooked. Tennessee ranks 32nd in batting average, 20th in home runs per game, and fourth in scoring.
Time will tell how this Tennessee Softball team finishes the season, but they should have as good a chance as any other team to win the College World Series and possibly go down in history as one of the best in the sport.
Photo Above | Tennessee Athletics