Tennessee softball has both been hurt and helped by the transfer portal, and this season is no different – though it may be more helpful for the 2023 roster.
Two of Tennessee's best defensive players and home run hitters transferred to UT out of the portal: Zaida Puni and Ivy Davis, who both earned second team All-SEC honors in 2022 this spring. Not to mention starting pitcher Erin Edmoundson and catcher Kelcy Leach, who joined them on All-SEC second team.. The Lady Vols have already announced three incoming transfers after their season ended in the NCAA Regional at home for the second year in a row.
But players are already in the portal, too, and UT has five starting positions to fill. Here's a look at who's coming and going from Tennessee softball this season.
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Who is transferring out from Tennessee softball?
Samantha Bender, P – Bender entered the portal as a graduate transfer at the end of May after the season ended in regionals. Bender transferred to Tennessee after spending her first two seasons at Iona and made 26 appearances and nine starts in the 2020 and 2021 season. Bender made only five appearances in 2022 and threw six innings.
Anna Fox, INF – Fox entered the portal in November, but stayed with the team for the 2022 season. She planned to transfer after the 2022 season after finishing her undergraduate degree and leave for a school with her graduate program. Fox started in three of her 47 appearances in 2022, hitting a career high .294 and 17 runs scored. She mainly appeared as a pinch runner and second base when starting.
Bailey McCachren, P – McCachren got the most time in the circle behind Tennessee's main starters, pitching 45 ⅔ innings. She had 24 strikeouts and a 4.14 ERA, but saw her playing time decrease in the second half of the season. McCachren threw fewer than seven innings in April and May, while Ryleigh White threw over 23 innings in that time.
Where she landed: North Carolina
Madison Webber, OF – The former King's Academy standout appeared in 23 games for Tennessee last season, starting in 11. Webber had a batting average of .167 in her 42 at-bats. Her playing time diminished from her sophomore season in 2021 when she started 40 games for the Lady Vols and hit .273 with 18 RBIs.
Where she landed: Johnson University
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Who is transferring to Tennessee?
Payton Gottshall, P – Gottshall comes to Knoxville from Bowling Green, where she earned 2022 MAC Pitcher of the Year honors. From 2020-22, Gottshall recorded 784 career strikeouts, which is No. 1 in school history. She also racked up three perfect games and three no-hitters and will make an instant impact for Tennessee.
Mackenzie Donihoo, UT – Donihoo is a seasoned utility player from Oklahoma who played a key part in the 2021 WCWS title when she hit .476 with 10 RBIs and three home runs. Donihoo can play both outfield and infield and Tennessee needs to fill starting positions in both.
Giulia Koutsoyanopulos, UT – Koutsoyanopulos in joining the Lady Vols from Arizona, where she spent the last two seasons. She mainly appeared as a defensive replacement or pinch runner, but earned a starting role in 2022 to fill in for injured players. She has a career batting average of .280 with 21 hits and 35 runs scored. Koutsoyanopulos was a member of Italy's national team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Tennessee softball transfer tracker: Who's leaving, joining Lady Vols