The Tennessee softball team extended its win streak to nine games, but Wednesday's doubleheader with Western Carolina wasn't without some drama.
The Lady Vols bounced the Catamounts 11-0 count in a five-inning opener at Lee Softball Stadium but fell behind in the nightcap before rallying for an 11-3, five-inning win.
Western Carolina (8-28) jumped out to a 3-0 first-inning lead on No. 11 UT (40-7) and freshman pitcher Ashton Ward (21-3) in the second game.
Ward uncorked three wild pitches in the first inning and was pulled after three innings.
The Lady Vols were down 3-2 heading into the bottom of the third when UT coach Ralph Weekly held an impromptu team meeting outside the dugout.
"I told them I was glad they were so full of themselves, and they'd be showing me more sweat in practice tomorrow if we didn't start showing some sweat right now," said Weekly, who along with his wife, Karen, serves as co-head coach. "I was upset with the way we came out, but that's what happens with young teams."
The Lady Vols responded to Weekly's talk like veterans, rallying to take the lead on Shannon Doepking's two-run double in the bottom of the third.
Megan Rhodes, who has won five of UT's last six games, was brought on to pitch the final two innings, allowing just one hit.
Sophomore Tiffany Huff was UT's offensive star in the opener, going 2-for-2 with three RBIs. Rhodes (19-4) pitched four innings of two-hit ball before Danielle Pieroni tossed a perfect fifth, striking out two of the three batters she faced.
RPI: The Lady Vols are No. 7 in the first RPI ratings released this season. Five of the top nine teams in the RPI are from the SEC, including No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Alabama.
Olympic Practice: The U.S. Olympic team, featuring former UT great and NCAA strikeout queen Monica Abbott, is next up for the Lady Vols at 3 p.m. Saturday at Lee Softball Stadium.
The Olympians will hold a 4 p.m. practice at Lee Softball Stadium Friday that is open to the public. Saturday's game is sold out.