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TENNESSEE TAKES DOWN SOUTH CAROLINA

Morristown, Tenn., captured the Softball Southern Regional title for the second straight season, defeating South Carolina 6-2 on Tuesday.

With the score tied at 2 in the fourth inning, a 1-1/2-hour rain delay forced both teams into the onsite dorms. When play resumed, Tennessee returned ready to finish strong.

"I was so ready to beat them," Tennessee pitcher Mallory Black said. "We were up there in the dorm getting pumped and staying focused."

Black struck out three of seven batters after the rain delay to earn the win. In the tournament, Black was 2-1 with 19 strikeouts and allowed only two earned runs.

"Mallory pitched well," coach Kenny King said. "That's all I ask of my pitchers, just throw strikes and let us play defense."

In the first inning, Tennessee scored on an RBI double by Black, plating Kirsten Honeycutt. South Carolina responded, scoring twice in the bottom half of the inning with Brooke Camerato and Alyssa Lou Davis reaching on bunt singles and scoring on RBI outs by Kati Smothers and Brianna Davis.

Tennessee tied in the second, but its big inning came after the rain delay when it scored four runs in the fifth. In the inning, Kenzie Mullins and Britney Turner picked up RBIs, with Honeycutt, Mullins, Tyler Barnard and Allie Surface scoring. For South Carolina, Carley Hoover struck out eight, giving her 19 strikeouts in 14 innings for the tournament.

Tennessee returned four players from last season's championship team, which made the semifinals of the World Series. Tennessee returns to the World Series in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 9.

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