Maryville High School graduate Caylan Arnold pitched a complete game to earn the win as the Tennessee softball team staved off elimination with a 3-2 win over Florida in nine innings on Saturday night.
The Vols’ victory evens the best-of-three Super Regional. The decisive game will be played at 2 p.m. Sunday. The winner advances to the Women’s College World Series. The game will air live on ESPNU.
Arnold (11-8) threw a career-high 177 pitches and escaped several jams to keep the No. 12-seeded Vols (43-16) alive long enough to win it in the ninth.
Arnold gave up seven hits and walked five. She struck out seven. It was her second win this postseason with the Vols facing elimination.
In the ninth, Aubrey Leach and Amanda Ayala drew one-out walks, and after Florida removed starting pitcher Kelly Barnhill in favor of Katie Chronister, Chelsea Seggern singled to load the bases.
The No. 5-seeded Gators (48-16) changed pitchers again, and Natalie Lugo walked Haley Bearden to allow the winning run.
The Vols scored in the first inning on Seggern’s RBI single and never trailed, though the Gators tied it twice with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
Pinch hitter Madison Pacini gave Tennessee a 2-1 lead in the home half of the fourth inning with an RBI single.
Tennessee’s Cailin Hannon tried to win the game in daring fashion in the eighth inning. After receiving a pitch, Florida catcher Jordan Roberts threw the ball back to Barnhill in the circle.
With her foot touching third base, Hannon took off to steal home plate, but Barnhill recognized the play in time and threw back to Roberts in time for the third out.