The No. 7 Lady Vols pushed their win streak to 10 games on Tuesday, sweeping in-state foe Memphis in a midweek double-header.
While on paper the 5-0 and 3-2 wins seem impressive, co-head coach Ralph Weekly was far from impressed with the two victories.
“Pitching was OK but that’s about it,” Weekly said. “All phases of the game were not on par tonight.”
Tennessee (37-9) drew only four walks between the two contests, often swinging at pitches well out of the strike zone.
“Plate discipline was not good,” Weekly said. “No question, no question, none at all, we swung at a ton of balls over our head. Just, I’m not very happy with the way we played.”
Fresh off a much anticipated weekend sweep of No. 21 LSU, which brought out record-breaking attendance numbers and national television coverage, Weekly added it is hard to rebound strong after such a strenuous series.
But that does not mean the 11-year co-head coach is making any excuses.
 “Sure, I mean, the only thing I need to say is that it’s very tough to play a double header after playing in front of a national TV audience,” he added. “Sold-out crowds and battling a top 20 team, never easy. That doesn’t excuse our play, though. We didn’t play the way we’re capable of playing tonight. I’m happy we could get it done — but all phases of the game were not on par tonight.”
Memphis (18-31) nabbed an early 2-0 advantage in game two of the double-header, putting pressure on the Lady Vols, who have won 73 consecutive games against the Lady Tigers.
Behind junior first baseman Melissa Brown, Tennessee wasted little time to respond offensively.
Bases loaded in the Vols’ half of the third, Brown drove a 2-2 off-speed pitch to right field, tying the game at 2-2.
“I was just focused on battling,” Brown said. “I was trying to lay off the high pitch and trying to get my pitch. Once I had two strikes, just trying to get the bat on the ball and keep things alive.”
Game still knotted at two, senior Shelby Burchell powered a solo-shot just over the right field wall in the bottom of the fifth.
“I really just went with the mentality that I needed to come up with the hit we needed and do my job for our team,” Burchell said. “Honestly, I was just trying to set someone else up after me. I really wasn’t focused on winning it with one swing. I was just looking for my pitch and trying to put us in position to win.”
And that’s exactly what she did.
The one-run homer was all the Lady Vols needed. Sophomore pitcher Ellen Renfroe threw a scoreless sixth and seventh frame, capping both a game two win and a series sweep of Memphis.
“We’re all working on having good at bats,” said the Vols’ sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman following the win. “Ivy and Ellen (Renfroe) have been pitching amazing and our defense, just good; it’s really starting to come along.”
The Lady Vols next see action at 7 p.m. on Friday, traveling to Columbia, S.C., to open a three-game road stand with the Gamecocks.