BATON ROUGE, La. -- For the third time this week, Tennessee earned a walk-off win against Kentucky. Freshman Meghan Gregg's 2-RBI hit in the bottom of the ninth lifted No. 5 seed Tennessee to a 5-4 victory over No. 12 seed Kentucky in the SEC Softball Tournament.
This was the fourth straight game between the two teams as they ended their regular season in Knoxville, Tenn., with a three-game series. Tennessee swept the weekend series, earning a walk-off win on both Saturday and Sunday.
Kentucky was looking to repeat last year's SEC Tournament result, when the Wildcats upended the higher-seeded Vols, but Tennessee held off the upset.
Kentucky scored first with a double from freshman Erin Rethlake in the top of the second inning. The Wildcats added to the lead in the top of the third when senior Griffin Joiner doubled to right field to score Christian Stokes.
In the bottom of the fourth, Tennessee got on the board when Tory Lewis drew an RBI bases-loaded walk to score Megan Geer.
Kentucky added to its lead in the top of the fifth when Sylver Samuel scored on a passed ball. Tennessee was not going away, as sophomore Megan Geer tied the game with a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth. It was the Lady Vols' first hit of the night with a runner on base.
In the top of the sixth, Kentucky's Kara Howard singled up the middle then advanced on a sac bunt and on a wild pitch. Howard reached home plate on an error to reclaim the lead for Kentucky.
Kentucky pitcher Kelsey Nunley left in the fifth at 128 pitches, striking out nine. Freshman Erin Rethlake was brought in as relief, until the Vols loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth with zero outs. Nunley returned to pitch, but Gregg's hit off the left field wall sealed the victory for Tennessee.
Both teams missed several opportunities throughout the game as sixteen runners were left on base.
The Lady Vols improved to 40-13 and the Wildcats fell to 29-24.
Tennessee plays tournament host and No. 4 seed LSU tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. CT/ 6:30 p.m. ET. The game will be live on SEC Network and online at Secnetwork.com.