#19 Tennessee Softball 2015 Preview

Tennessee Volunteers

Overall Rank: #19
Conference Rank: #7 SEC
#19 Tennessee Softball 2015 Preview
Tennessee Team Page


After a hot streak of three Women’s College World Series appearances in four years, the Tennessee softball program took a small step backward in 2014… that is, if you can call winning 46 games a small step backward. It was still a very successful season for the Volunteers, and the return of some solid pitching and strong position talent has Tennessee positioned well for success in 2015. The program first came into existence in 1996, and the Volunteers will pass a major milestone in the first month of the season as they are three victories shy of the 900 mark. Co-coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly have done wonders with the program with its recent World Series appearances, and another trip to the World Series is not out of the question.

2014: 46-12, 17-7
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Co-coaches: Ralph and Karen Weekly

Field Players:
This is a young roster loaded with plenty of talent, and sophomore Annie Aldrete (.361-19-65, .813 slugging percentage) leads the way. Junior catcher Lexi Overstreet (.303-8-31) had nine doubles in addition to her power stroke, and sophomore outfielder Megan Geer (.297-6-33) will also add some strength to the lineup. The team will benefit from the return of redshirt senior Tory Lewis (.299, nine RBI), who was out for the entire 2014 season. Outfielder Shaliyah Geathers only had eight RBI, but she hit .313, and infielder Taylor Koenig had a .305 average, two homers and 29 RBI. There is plenty of power and average back for the Volunteers as they regroup for another run at the World Series.

Three pitchers return to the active roster, including juniors Erin Gabriel (5-0, 3.24 ERA, 60 strikeouts) and Rainey Gaffin (7-3, 1.15, 55 K’s). Senior Cheyenne Tarango is a versatile utility threat with a 4-1 record, 4.85 ERA and 22 strikeouts. Tarango also slugged six homers, and it is more likely the team will use Tarango in the infield instead of in the pitcher’s circle. Gabriel and Gaffin are the top two options for Tennessee as the Volunteers head into the spring season.

Who to Watch:
Keep an eye on Aldrete and her impressive bat. Voted a co-winner of the NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year, Aldrete wowed the Southeastern Conference with 19 home runs and an incredible display of power during the 2014 campaign. Aldrete slugged two home runs in a game four times last season. She played 32 games as a catcher and 23 as a designated player, meaning her knees won’t be taxed all the time when it comes to playing in the field. If Aldrete can get one more double-digit homer threat alongside her, it could be a very interesting season.

Final Projection:
Aldrete’s presence should help galvanize a team that came within one win of going back to the World Series for the third year in a row. There is enough in the tank so that four World Series appearances in six years is not out of the question. Aldrete will help the lineup stay powerful, and the return of three pitchers will be joined by incoming freshmen to form a potent staff. Look for Tennessee to challenge for the SEC title one more time, followed by a trip deep into the NCAA postseason.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Megan Geer, OF/IF, 182
Hits: Annie Aldrete, IF, 60
Home Runs: Annie Aldrete, IF, 19
RBIs: Annie Aldrete, IF, 65
Runs: Megan Geer, OF/IF, 51
Stolen Bases: Megan Geer, OF/IF, 19

Wins: Rainey Gaffin, P, 7
Innings Pitched: Erin Gabriel, P, 58.1
Strikeouts: Erin Gabriel, P, 60
Complete Games: Erin Gabriel, P, 2

Madness 2015 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#5 Meghan Gregg
#9 C.J. McClain
#42 Jessica Adell
#43 Scarlet McSwain


See All Softball Top 44 Previews