A grand slam from Riley Valentine set the tone for Alabama leading the Crimson Tide to a 4-1 victory over Tennessee to send them to the Women’s College World Series for the second straight season. 

Payton Gottshall started on the mound for Tennessee and was on fire after striking out the first two batters swinging. But when Kenleigh Cahalan singled and Rylie West missed the diving catch in left field. Gottshall hit the next two batters, loading the bases for Alabama. Riley Valentine saw the opportunity and ripped the second pitch of the at-bat deep into left filed for a grand slam giving the Crimson Tide the immediate lead. 

The momentum was cut short quickly after a thunderstorm blew over Knoxville to send the game into a three-hour weather delay. But that wasn’t stopping Alabama and Jocelyn Briski, who didn’t allow a hit until the third inning. 

Laura Mealer broke through for the Vols in the third inning, sending a line drive to the right field wall for a double. Mealer advanced to third with two outs, but Kiki Milloy struck out swinging to end the inning leaving Mealer stranded. 

From there, both teams continued to go three up, three down, until madness began in the bottom of the seventh. McKenna Gibson got on first after getting hit by a pitch and Sophia Nugent immediately singled. Taylor Panell singled to bring Katie Taylor home with no outs. 

A pitching change was made by Alabama putting Kayla Beaver in the circle. She hit Jamison Brockenbrough to load the bases with one out. A pop up in foul territory secured out number two and a grounder to Cahalan at shortstop secured the final out. 

The Tide will face UCLA at the Women’s College World Series starting Thursday.