Feb. 12, 2005
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Sophomore pitcher Monica Abbott stretched her scoreless streak to begin the 2005 season to 32 consecutive innings and No. 9 Tennessee slammed four home runs, including back-to-back-to-back round trippers in the top of the second by Abbott, freshman catcher Shannon Doepking and sophomore shortstop Lindsay Schutzler as the Lady Vols downed No. 22 Nebraska, 5-0. With the victory, UT improves its overall record to 7-0 and extends the program's best-ever start to a campaign.
"This is a very good win for our program," said Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly. "Nebraska's been a perennial Top 25 team for many years now. The back-to-back-to-back home runs were the first since Karen (Co-Head Coach Weekly) and I have been at Tennessee. Monica Abbott, Shannon Doepking and Lindsay Schutzler all deserve credit for doing a tremendous job. Our team has continued to play exceptional defense, and I believe we are getting better each game.
Tennessee threatened to get on the scoreboard first in the opening inning as a leadoff single down the right field line by Schutzler and a Fekete base knock back to Nebraska pitcher Ashley DeBuhr put runners at first and second with no one out. Unfortunately for the Lady Vols, NU's hurler settled down and neutralized the threat by retiring junior third baseman Kristi Durant on an infield popout and both junior rightfielder Stacey Jennings and freshman leftfielder Kortney Bell on strikes.
After Abbott mowed down the initial three Cornhuskers she faced in the bottom of the first inning, the Orange & White opened the offensive floodgates in the second with four runs on four hits. With one down freshman first baseman Tonya Callahan walked to bring up the Tennessee pitcher in the eighth slot. Abbott promptly drove a shot to center to plate UT's first two runs of the contest. The onslaught continued as Doepking stepped to the dish and delivered a solo shot to center before Schutzler took a pitch deep to right center for a 4-0 Lady Vol advantage. Junior centerfielder Sarah Fekete made it five extra-base hits in a row for UT with a double down the left field line, but she was stranded in scoring position.
After another three-up and three-down inning by Abbott in the second, Tennessee added a final run to its tally when junior Katherine Card contributed her second home run of the day (three-run shot against No. 15 Baylor) with a drive to left center off DeBuhr for a 5-0 lead.
For the game, the No. 22 Cornhuskers tallied just three hits off the UT hurler and had but one runner get past second base.
No. 9 Tennessee will close out play at the Louisville Slugger/UNLV Desert Classic on Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. PT (11:30 a.m. ET) when it faces No. 8 Washington.