What you need to know about the Tennessee softball roster, 2025 transfer portal

Tennessee softball fell short of its second straight Women’s College World Series appearance this season and is losing several key veterans to graduation.

Things won’t get any easier next season for the reigning two-time SEC regular-season champions as the conference expands. Three of the four teams that reach the WCWS semifinals – Florida, Oklahoma and Texas – will play in the SEC next season.

Tennessee brings in a stacked freshman class, but coach Karen Weekly has added key veterans from the transfer portal in recent seasons. This is what you need to know about the UT softball schedule:

Who loves softball in Tennessee

Tennessee is losing half of its starting lineup to graduation, including midfielder Kiki Milloy, who has been a key part of the program for the past five seasons.

Milloy leaves UT as the record holder for career home runs (69), career runs scored (266), home runs in a season (25), runs scored in a season (86) and slugging percentage in a season (.929). She led the Lady Vols this season in batting average (.347), runs scored (64), doubles (12), home runs (13) and on base percentage (.469).

Tennessee also loses starting pitcher Payton Gottshall (20-5), who was an NFCA First Team All-American this season. Gottshall ranked 10th in the nation in ERA (1.37) this season, recorded 164 strikeouts and held opposing hitters to a .180 batting average.

Starting left fielder Rylie West (.343 batting average, 13 HR, 39 RBI), third baseman Zaida Puni (12 HR, 38 RBI), first baseman/catcher Giulia Koutsoyanopulos and pitcher Ryleigh White have also been ruled out.

Sophomore outfielder Jamison Brockenbrough, who started 44 games in 2023, is the only Lady Vol to enter the transfer portal so far. Brockenbrough was only used as a pinch hitter this season after being a starter as a freshman. She entered the portal ahead of Tennessee’s super regional series.

Who’s back for Tennessee softball?

Tennessee returns seven starters, including SEC Pitcher of the Year Karlyn Pickens, who was a consensus First Team All-American this season. Pickens (22-7) was one of the nation’s most dominant pitchers, throwing 12 shutouts and recording 225 strikeouts. Her 1.12 ERA ranked No. 4 in the country and she ranked No. 5 in hits allowed per seven innings (3.87).

The Lady Vols also return a strong core of rising seniors with infielder McKenna Gibson, catcher Sophia Nugent, infielder Laura Mealer and outfielder Katie Taylor. They also return sophomore infielder Destiny Rodriguez, redshirt freshman outfielder Taylor Pannell and freshman infielder Bella Faw, all of whom started this spring.

Freshman outfielders Alannah Leach and Gabby Leach were both used as pinch hitters this season and Alannah started 13 games. Both are ready for a bigger role next year.

What Tennessee softball needs in the transfer portal

Tennessee could use a little bit of everything with all the veterans it’s losing, but the biggest priority should be the outfield and pitching. The Lady Vols are loaded with returning infielders, but they lose two experienced starters in the outfield in Milloy and West.

Bringing in a veteran who can help run the outfield like Milloy did and who is a proven hitter would be ideal. Tennessee’s bats went cold in the super regional, and it could use some big-time hitters to boost its lineup.

Weekly brings in a few young star pitchers in the incoming freshman class, but teams always bring in an experienced pitcher from the portal. Pickens will undoubtedly be the ace again next season, but bringing in another experienced arm is crucial for Tennessee.

TRACKER: Tennessee softball transfer tracker: Who’s in, who’s out for Karen Weekly’s roster

Who brings in Tennessee softball

Tennessee lands the No. 4 class in the country. Weekly signed seven players, and five of them are ranked in the top 10 of the 2024 class – including two pitchers.

Pitcher Peyton Tanner is the highest-ranked recruit at No. 4 in Extra Inning Softball’s Extra Elite 100 player rankings. Pitcher Erin Nuwer is ranked seventh, giving Tennessee two young arms to back up Pickens next season.

Infielder Amayah Doyle of Carterville, Illinois is ranked No. 5 – she is also the No. 1 infielder. Infielder Emma Clarke is ranked No. 8 and outfielder Saviya Morgan is ranked No. 10. Utility player Ella Dodge, who enrolled early this spring, is ranked No. 65. Outfielder Zoie Shuler, a two-time North Carolina Softball Coaches Association Player of the Year , concludes the class.

Cora Hall covers University of Tennessee women’s athletics. Email her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @corahall. If you enjoy Cora’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that gives you access to everything.

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