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Weekly Sports update

AJ Russell Named to NCBWA Freshman All-America Team

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Tennessee pitcher AJ Russell was named a first-team Freshman All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) on Monday, becoming the 24th player in program history to earn
Freshman All-America honors. Russell is the fifth Vol to be named a Freshman All-American in the last three seasons and the sixth overall under head coach Tony Vitello. The right-handed relief pitcher has put up eye-popping numbers in his true freshman campaign for the Big Orange, leading all pitchers on the team who have thrown a minimum of 25 innings with a 0.94 ERA, a 0.56 WHIP and a .100 opponent batting average. Russell is 2-0 on the year with 46 strikeouts and just seven walks in 28.2 innings pitched. The Franklin, Tennessee, native has recorded multiple strikeouts in 15 of his 22 appearances and allowed just one run on five hits in 10 innings during SEC play. Russell is the fifth pitcher to garner Freshman All-America recognition under Vitello and pitching coach Frank Anderson, joining the likes of Chase Burns (2022), Drew Beam (2022), Blade Tidwell (2021) and Sean Hunley (2018).

Milloy, Puni Named to 2023 WCWS All-Tournament Team

OKLAHOMA CITY – Senior Kiki Milloy and junior Zaida Puni capped their excellent 2023 campaigns by being named to the Women’s College World Series All-Tournament Team Thursday night. The Lady Vols claimed two of 11 spots on the tournament team which was named after the WCWS Championship Series concluded. Milloy shined for Tennessee in Oklahoma City as she scored three runs with a double and a stolen base. She also drew a pair of walks and made a pair of spectacular plays in center field. Against Oklahoma, she climbed the ladder to rob a home run and followed it with a diving catch versus Oklahoma State the following game. Puni tore through the postseason and continued her hot streak into OKC. The Carson, California, native hit a solo home run versus Florida State and led UT with a pair of doubles. She finished the WCWS with four RBIs – tied for the team lead. For the NCAA Tournament, Puni went 11-for-28 at the plate with eight runs scored, three doubles, six home runs and 15 RBIs. Milloy was 8-for- 25 with 12 runs, two doubles, a triple,
two home runs and four RBIs. She also added six stolen bases to her tournament stat line.

Top-10 Lady Vols Round Out NCAA Championships With Three Podium Finishes

AUSTIN, Texas — Tennessee track & field standouts Jacious Sears and Charisma Taylor combined for three top-four finishes on Saturday to wrap up women’s competition at the 2023 NCAA Outdoor Championships at Mike A. Myers Stadium, helping UT finish in a tie for 10th place in the team standings. Sears doubled up in the 100-meter and 200-meter dash national finals and finished third and fourth in those events, respectively. Running with a slight tailwind in both races, she turned in lightning quick times of 10.94 and 22.04 seconds to tally 11 points for the Lady Vols. Taylor closed out her collegiate career in the triple jump on Saturday, posting a first-round hop, step and leap of 13.93 meters (45-8.5) to finish fourth in the NCAA final. Combined with her sixth-place outing in the long jump on Thursday, Taylor tallied eight points as the Lady Vol duo combined for 19 points. Sears’ 10.94 clocking was the first sub-11 mark by a Lady Vol in an NCAA final, and her third place finish was the best by a Tennessee woman since Cleo Tyson took second at the 2005 national meet. With a wind reading of +2.3 m/s, the Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, native turned in the No. 16 all-conditions time on the 2023 world list and secured the 21st All-America honor in the 100-meter dash in Lady Vol history.
Coming back 45 minutes later for the 200-meter dash, Sears impressed again with a time of 22.04 for the fastest clocking by a Lady Vol in an NCAA final. Her time stands No. 4 on the all-conditions 2023 world list, and Sears’ fourth-place finish represented the highest placement by a Lady Vol in the event since Tyson was third in 2005. Wrapping up her first career NCAA Outdoor Championships, the Lady Vol sprint star claimed UT’s 19th all-time All-America accolade in the 200-meter dash. Taylor’s illustrious career came to a close Saturday night on the triple jump runway, posting the highest
finish in the outdoor triple jump in Lady Vol history with her fourth-place outing in Austin. The Nassau, Bahamas, native topped Vickie Hudson’s fifth-place showing in 1992 and was six centimeters shy of her school record 13.99m (45-10.75) leap set four weeks prior at the SEC Championships. She rounds out her college tenure as a 12-time All-American, earning seven such honors during the 2022-23 season. This marks the end of the collegiate track & field season and the debut campaign under first-year head coach Duane Ross. Under the guidance of Ross and his staff, Tennessee totaled 15 school records, 32 All-America honors, 22 SEC medals and a pair of top-10 finishes for the Lady Vols at both national
meets for the first time since 2009.

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