KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/SUBMITTED) -- The Tennessee softball team makes its sixth appearance in the Women’s College World Series in nine years this week. The Lady Vols will open play in Oklahoma City against SEC foe Florida on Thursday in the second game of the day at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Thursday’s game will be televised on ESPN. Pam Ward and Michele Smith will be the broadcasters for all day games in the Women’s College World Series while Beth Mowins and Jessica Mendoza will cover the night games. Holly Rowe will be the field reporter for all games.
All games will feature free live stats (links will be posted on UTSports.com) and a live audio feed on WNML 990 with Brian Rice on the call.
Tennessee (49-10) and Florida (57-7) played three times in the regular season with the Gators taking two games. All three meetings this year went to eight innings. Florida took the series opener, 6-5, on March 15 when Stephanie Tofft drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth. UT responded the next day with a 3-1 (8) win that saw Cheyanne Tarango and Kat Dotson hit RBI doubles in the eighth. UF won the third game, 5-3, behind an incredible effort by Lauren Haeger, who hit a three-run homer to tie the game in the sixth and a walk-off blast in the eighth to win the game.
Dotson and Tarango have enjoyed the most success against Florida over the years. Dotson owns a .389 batting average (14-for-36) and Tarango owns a .421 (8-for-19) batting average against UF.
Tennessee is coming off a thrilling Knoxville Super Regional series against Alabama on May 24 and May 25. Lady Vol sophomores Cheyanne Tarango and Hannah Akamine combined for three RBIs in UT’s 3-2 win on Friday. Tennessee won the Super Regional on Saturday with a come-from-behind 5-3 win. Senior Melissa Brown went 3-for-4 in her final game at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.
Florida won its first two games over UAB in the Gainesville Super Regional. UF came from behind, rallying in the seventh, to beat the Blazers in Game 1, 4-3. The Gators edged UAB,1-0 on Sunday as Hannah Rogers tossed a shutout and Taylor Schwarz drove in the only run of the game.
The major national awards are slated to be announced during the Women’s College World Series. On Tuesday during the team banquet from 7-8 p.m. ET, the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year will be announced. Tennessee’s Raven Chavanne is a Top 3 Finalist with Oklahoma’s Keilani Ricketts and Lauren Chamberlain.
On Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET, the NFCA will announce its Division I All-Americans. Chavanne, Dotson, Lauren Gibson and Madison Shipman were all named to the NFCA All-Southeast Region first team. Ellen Renfroe was name an All-Region second team pick.
Chavanne is also a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award. The winner will be announced sometime during the World Series this week.