Feb. 13, 2005
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Junior second baseman Katherine Card hammered a pitch from Washington senior Ashley Boek to right center for a two-run home run in the top of the sixth and sophomore hurler Monica Abbott struck out 18 Husky batters, including the first 10 of the contest as No. 9 Tennessee defeated No. 8 Washington, 2-1, at the Louisville Slugger/UNLV Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. The Lady Vols improved on their program-best opening to a campaign at 8-0 overall while Abbott moved her record to a perfect 5-0, but saw and end to her consecutive scoreless inning streak to start the season at 35 innings.
"Karen and I could not be more proud of our team," said Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly. "We faced three Top 20 teams in 24 hours and played really well in every game. Monica Abbott was sensational today. Anytime you strike out 18 Washington batters your stuff is really working. Katherine Card had to be the key to our offense with a home run in each game, all in critical situations. Washington was a very good team, and it's always good for your program to compete with their tradition."
While Abbott was mowing down the Huskies through the first three frames, Tennessee managed to get a runner on in both the first and second innings, but failed to capitalize on either opportunity. In the first inning junior centerfielder Sarah Fekete singled to first but was caught attempting to steal second base. In the second frame, Brittany Bessho walked with two out but freshman leftfielder Kortney Bell struck out to end the inning.
In the fourth the Orange & White started a rally with another Fekete single before junior third baseman Kristi Durant hit into a fielder's choice to force Fekete at second. Junior rightfielder Stacey Jennings delivered a base knock to left to place runners at first and second with one down. Freshman LaDonna Oliver was brought in to pinch-run for Durant and moved to third on a single to the catcher by Card. However, a Bessho strikeout and a Bell foul out to right ended the threat.
Washington scratched out a run in the bottom of the fourth on an Abbott wild pitch after the Huskies loaded the bases with a single, walk and a hit batter. The run by UW was the first allowed by Abbott in 2005 after a streak of 35 straight scoreless innings.
The score remained 1-0 until the top of the sixth when Durant walked and was cashed in by another home run by Card, this time to right center field, for a 2-1 Lady Vol advantage. For Card, the round-tripper was her third of the weekend after blasting a single homer in each of Saturday's wins over #15 Baylor and #22 Nebraska.
Abbott struck out four of the last six Washington hitters she faced in the sixth and seventh innings on her way to 18 K's for the contest. The all-time Lady Vol strikeout record in a single game is 20 set by the Salinas, Calif., native last season against Liberty.