Puni’s Two Home Runs Power #4 Lady Vols To Series Win Over #16 Mississippi State

  • Monday, April 15, 2024
Puni Leads Lady Vols To Series Victory (UT Athletics)
Puni Leads Lady Vols To Series Victory (UT Athletics)

With a stellar offensive performance from senior Zaida Puni, the fourth-ranked Lady Vols subdued the No. 16 Bulldogs on Sunday, taking down Mississippi State 7-3 at Nusz Park to clinch the series victory.

Leading Tennessee's (32-7, 12-3 SEC) offensive efforts, Puni went 3-for-4 at the plate, blasting two balls over the fence and finishing the game with three runs, three hits and three RBI's.

The Carson, California native now leads the Big Orange with 10 home runs and her performance at the plate marks the sixth time she's sent two out of the yard in a single game.

Sophomore Taylor Pannell jump-started the Tennessee offense with a longball to left field at the top of the second – her fourth homer of the season – and went 1-for-3 at the plate.

Finishing with a pair of RBIs, a double from senior McKenna Gibson brought Laura Mealer and Kiki Milloy home to put the Lady Vols up 3-0 early in the third.

Mississippi State (29-12, 9-9 SEC) finally cracked the scoresheet in the bottom of the fourth inning when right-fielder Paige Cook cranked a longball over center field – driving in three runs to make the game 5-3.

Junior Sophia Nugent went 1-for-4 on the day with one RBI, batting a single that sent Puni across the plate to finalize the score 7-3 and secure Tennessee's fifth SEC series win of the year.

Controlling the circle was graduate Payton Gottshall who came in on relief and ended the day with no hits, no runs and six strikeouts to earn her 15th win of the season.

Making the start for Tennessee was sophomore Karlyn Pickens, who scattered three hits, three strikeouts and allowed three runs in her 3.1 innings pitched.

For the Bulldogs, Aspen Wesley made the start and took the loss after giving up four hits and five runs. Wesley tossed two strikeouts and walked one before being relieved by Saturday's starter Josey Marron.

Marron finished the game yielding two runs and four hits with five strikeouts.

STAT(S) OF THE DAY
Tennessee has now won 13 of its last 14 conference series following its victory over Mississippi State on Sunday to clinch the three-game set.

When leading after four innings, the Lady Vols are 28-0 this season.

UP NEXT
Tennessee is set to host LSU at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium in a three-game series beginning on Friday, April 19 at 6 p.m. ET.

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