Tennessee's Ralph Weekly talks about Ivy and Ellen Renfroe's pitching
To defend its Women’s College World Series title, Alabama has to beat a program with a perfect Super Regional record.
From Tennessee’s perspective, keeping that record perfect means eliminating the defending champion.
No matter how you slice it, a tough weekend lies ahead.
Two familiar softball rivals square off Friday and Saturday at UT’s Lee Stadium to claim a berth in Oklahoma City (May 29-June 5).
“I hate to be matched up with another SEC team,’’ UT co-head coach Ralph Weekly said, “but Alabama is a great team.
“They have the most valuable pitcher in the College World Series last year (Jackie Traina) and we’ve got some very good pitchers and good hitters.’’
Game 1 of the best-of-three series is Friday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
Game 2 is Saturday at 5 p.m. on ESPN. A third game, if necessary, would follow around 8 on ESPN.
All games can be heard on WNML, 990 AM.
The series is a sellout. Should any tickets be released, they will be all-session packets that would be available at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, via UTTix.com, at the ticket office at Thompson-Boling Arena, or by phone at 865-656-1200.
The No. 7 seed Lady Vols (47-10) and 10-seed Alabama (45-13) won regionals on their home fields Sunday. Tennessee beat N.C. State 7-0 while the Tide crushed Western Kentucky 13-1.
UT took two out of three from the Tide during the regular season here in March.
Alabama is making its ninth consecutive appearance in a Super Regional, a format that was introduced in 2005.
Tennessee is making its sixth appearance and won all five of its previous tries — three in Knoxville, one at Stanford and one at Michigan.
Seeded teams won 13 of the 16 regionals over the weekend — No. 15 Louisville, No. 9 LSU and No. 13 South Alabama did not advance.
UAB beat UCLA in 13 innings to win the Louisville regional for its first Super Regional berth — at No. 2 seed Florida. The winner of that series will face the winner of the Knoxville Super Regional.
Louisiana-Lafayette shut out host LSU twice in winning the Baton Rouge regional and travel to No. 8 Michigan.
Florida State rallied from a 6-1 deficit with two outs in the seventh inning to beat host South Alabama in Mobile. The Seminoles head to No. 4 Texas.
Tennessee and Alabama are the only conference members matched in a Super Regional.
Missouri, Kentucky and Texas A&M also advanced to make it six SEC teams in the final 16.
The Aggies visit No. 1 seed Oklahoma. Kentucky travels to 5-seed Arizona State. Missouri, the No. 6 seed, plays host to No. 11 Washington.
No. 14 Nebraska joins Michigan as a second Big Ten survivor and travels to No. 3 seed Oregon.
Tennessee’s seniors will be trying to get to the WCWS for the third time in their four years.
Knoxville Super Regional
At Lee Softball Stadium
Alabama vs. Tennessee, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Alabama vs. Tennessee, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
*Alabama vs. Tennessee, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
* If necessary