KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee softball sophomore pitcher Caylan Arnold said earlier this week that she’s more comfortable under pressure, and on Thursday night, she proved it.
Arnold (24-4) shutdown and shutout LSU in a pivotal SEC Softball Tournament game in Columbia, Mo., the Lady Vols prevailing 1-0.
“I have taken on the mindset of, just throw,” Arnold told the SEC Network after her sterling performance. “Last year around this time, my nerves were crazy as a freshman.
“This year I’m realizing there’s nothing to be nervous about. I’ve been playing this game forever.”
Tennessee star Meghan Gregg, last season’s SEC Player of the Year, drove home the only run in the game, doubling to score leadoff hitter Aubrey Leach in the bottom of the first inning.
Tennessee (45-11) entered the postseason No. 8 in the RPI rankings, and the Tigers (41-14) were No. 9.
The win was important for the Lady Vols because the top eight teams earn the right to host one of the eight Super Regionals that determine the Women’s College World Series field.
Tennessee, however, insisted it was focused solely on the SEC Tournament.
The Lady Vols swept LSU in a three-game series in Knoxville and then gained a measure of revenge on Thursday.
The Tigers eliminated Tennessee from the SEC Tournament last season in Knoxville
Tennessee softball up next
The Lady Vols advance to play at 5:30 p.m. on Friday (TV: ESPNU) against the winner of Thursday night’s game between No. 1 seed Florida and No. 8 seed Alabama in the semifinals.