UT notebook: Softball Lady Vols ready for another home regional

Softball in a softball field in California mountains, Baseball field softball tile / Getty Images

KNOXVILLE - The Tennessee softball program was awarded the No. 12 overall national seed in the NCAA tournament and will host a regional that will begin Friday at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.

It will be the 16th consecutive season that Tennessee has hosted an NCAA regional, which will be double elimination. The winner will move on to a super regional May 23-26.

The Lady Volunteers (39-14) will face Big South champion Longwood on Friday at 1:30. The Lancers rallied from two runs down with a three-run sixth inning to slide past Winthrop 3-2 and claim their fifth conference championship in the past seven seasons.

Ohio State and North Carolina face off in the first game Friday in Knoxville at 11 a.m. Winners will meet Saturday at noon, with losers playing at 2:30. The loser of Saturday's first game will play the winner of the second game that day at 5.

Sunday action begins at noon with the winners of the third and fifth game competing for the title, with an "if necessary" game to be played at 2:30.

The Southeastern Conference accounted for six of the 16 national seeds, and all 13 SEC teams were selected for the 64-school field.

SEC baseball berth

The 24th-ranked baseball Vols used a three-run home run by shortstop Ricky Martinez - the first of his career - to erase a 4-1 deficit in the seventh inning of a 5-4 win over Florida, taking the rubber game of the series to improve to 35-17 overall and 12-15 in the SEC.

The two weekend wins clinched the Vols' first trip to the league tournament since 2016, with an 11-7 record against SEC East competition. Andre Lipcius became the first Tennessee nonpitcher to receive conference player of the week honors since current Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Senzel on May 23, 2016.

Lipcius batted .533 over four games last week, going 8-for-15. He had two doubles, a home run, three runs batted in and a pair of runs scored in Tennessee's 8-7 win over Florida on Saturday.

Tennessee hosts Tennessee Tech tonight before ending the regular season with a three-game set at home against 15th-ranked Ole Miss.

Juco CB picks Vols

The Tennessee football team picked up a commitment for the 2020 signing class Monday from Art Green, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound cornerback entering his sophomore season at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas.

He becomes the Vols' seventh commitment for 2020.

Green played in eight games as a freshman, compiling 19 tackles, a team-leading six interceptions and six passes broken up. He chose the Vols over 21 other offers, including SEC programs Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Texas A&M.

Lady Vols get McCoy

The Tennessee women's basketball program also got a pledge Monday from Jaiden McCoy, a Knoxville native at Northwest Florida State Junior College in Niceville.

The 6-foot-3 center will fill an area of need as the Lady Vols are lacking for depth in the interior with the losses of Cheridene Green (graduation) and freshman Mimi Collins (transfer).

McCoy, who prepped at both Webb and Farragut, chose Louisiana Tech out of high school over offers from Middle Tennessee State, San Diego State and Virginia Tech but was granted a release after Bulldogs coach Tyler Summitt admitted to an inappropriate relationship and resigned from his position.

She chose to attend Virginia Tech but quit the week before the first official practice and opted to return to Knoxville, where she worked at an Old Navy store while attending Pellissippi State. In her return to basketball she played four games for Northwest Florida State before breaking her hip, but she returned stronger as a sophomore, averaging 10.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game as the Raiders went 26-6 before falling in the quarterfinals of the NJCAA tournament.

She shot 57 percent from the field and had four double-doubles along with an 18-point, eight-rebound, seven-block performance against Gadsden State on Dec. 8 of last season.

The Lady Vols are undergoing a roster overhaul after the firing of Holly Warlick and hiring of Kellie Harper as head coach. McCoy will be the fifth new player on the 2019-20 roster, joining guards Jordan Horston and Jessie Rennie and forwards Tamari Key and Emily Saunders. In addition, forward Lou Brown - a graduate transfer from Washington State - joined the program prior to last season but suffered a lower body injury and sat out the year. She recently was granted a sixth season by the NCAA.

Contact Gene Henley at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3 or at Facebook.com/VolsUpdate.