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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The fourth-ranked Tennessee softball team advanced to the Super Regionals with a 7-3 victory over Indiana on Sunday at Sherry Parker Lee Stadium.
Tennessee (47-8) will play in its first super regional since 2019 and host a super bowler for the first time since 2017. The Big Orange will take on the no. 13-ranked Texas, which won its regional by knocking off Seton Hall before taking two games against Texas A&M.
Junior Zaida Puni led UT offensively all weekend and continued her hot streak by knocking a pair of home runs to help the Lady Vols edge Indiana. The Carson, California, native hit .556 with four home runs and seven RBIs during the regional.
In the frame, Peyton Gottschal picked up the win for UT as he threw five innings of shutout ball. The senior gave up five hits and a pair of walks to the Hoosiers, but struck out six and stifled their offense all game.
Gottschall picked up two wins over the weekend and didn’t allow a run in 10 innings of work. Righties struck out 15 and held opponents to a .143 average.
Pooney opened the scoring Sunday with a two-run shot to right, his third long ball of the Knoxville Regional, in the top of the first.
Playing as the home team, Indiana (44-18) loaded the bases in the first and second innings, but Gottschall avoided jams to keep Indiana off the board. The Hoosiers loaded the bases with just one out in two innings before Gottschall made a key hit to second and induced an inning-ending popout to Pooney at third base.
Tennessee added to its lead in the fifth, scoring five runs to take a 7-0 lead. Senior Kiki Milloy hit a one-out triple into the right-field corner and came home on a wild pitch. On the very next pitch, Pooney launched his second home run of the day and fourth in the region, bringing his season total to 12.
The Lady Vols then loaded the bases with a pair of singles and a walk until Lair Beautae hit a sacrifice fly to drive in UT’s third run in the frame. through the left side.
Freshman Carlin Pickens came on in relief for Gottschall in the sixth and threw the final two innings. The Hoosiers got to him in the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits and a walk.
Heather Johnson started in the circle for Indiana and went two innings, allowing two runs on four hits. Sophie Kleiman relieved him in the third and allowed five runs on four hits in 2.2 innings of work. Brianna Copeland pitched the final 2.1 frames for the Hoosiers.
Tennessee will host Texas next weekend at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium in a best-of-three series. The winner of the Knoxville Super Regional will advance to the Oklahoma City Women’s College World Series.