Feb. 18, 2007
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Lady Vol senior pitcher Monica Abbott fired her 19th career no-hitter and third of the 2007 season to help guide No. 1 Tennessee (8-0) to a commanding 9-0 victory over Cal State Northridge on Sunday morning at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. The three-time All-American struck out 19 in the complete game shutout allowing three walks and facing just two batters over the seven-inning minimum.
The victory marked Abbott's 146th in a UT uniform to place her just six victories from breaking former Southern Miss hurler Courtney Blades' NCAA Division I record of 151.
Freshman catcher Tiffany Huff posted a 2-for-3, three-RBI effort to guide the offensive attack. Senior center fielder Lindsay Schutzler was 2-for-4 with a two-run home run, and junior first baseman Tonya Callahan delivered a bases-loaded walk and a solo homer as part of a 1-for-3, two-RBI day at the dish. Freshman right fielder Erinn Webb picked up her first collegiate hit with a double in the seventh and run-batted-in with a first inning sacrifice fly in the triumph.
The Big Orange offense wasted no time getting started in Sunday morning's opening contest as senior left fielder India Chiles dropped a bunt in front of the plate and beat out the throw to first to grant UT a one out baserunner in the top of the first. Freshman catcher Tiffany Huff followed with a hard single into right field allowing the speedy Chiles the opportunity to race home all the way from second for a 1-0 lead. Rookie designated player Alexia Clay continued the impressive start to her collegiate career by ripping a double off the wall in deep left to grant the Lady Vols runners at second and third. Griffin walked to load the bags for Callahan, who also drew a free pass to force in Tennessee's second run of the match-up. Freshman right fielder Erinn Webb delivered a sacrifice fly to left for her first collegiate RBI to score Clay from third and improve the count to 3-0. Sophomore shortstop Liane Horiuchi popped out to the catcher in foul territory to close out the attack, but not before the Big Orange had struck for three runs on three hits and two walks in the opening frame.
Abbott permitted a one out walk to right fielder Alex Alvarado in the bottom of the first, but struck out the side for the 21st time in 2007 by punching out CSUN third baseman Kelly Zakosek, designated player Christina Saenz and catcher Amanda Peek.
Chiles improved to 2-for-2 by beating out her second bunt single of the contest with two retired in the top of the second. The Louisville, Ky., native swiped second to gain scoring position, but was stranded right there as Huff grounded out to Matador second baseman Amanda Pitzenberger.
Cal State Northridge shortstop Micah Putnam received Abbott's second permitted walk of the game to lead-off the bottom of the second inning, but the free pass didn't amount to anything as the 6-3 lefthander rebounded to K first baseman Jaclyn Rymer, center fielder Jackie Duree and Pitzenberger to strikeout the side for the 22nd time this year.
Clay drove a lead-off shot to deep center that bounced off the wall, but she was gunned down at second base trying to stretch the play into a double. Griffin followed with a one out liner into left for a base knock. Callahan ripped a hard grounder up the middle, but Putnam made an outstanding grab while moving to her left and dove onto second base to retire Griffin. Webb flied out to center to complete the inning and maintain UT's 3-0 lead.
The strikeout parade continued in the bottom of the third as Abbott mowed down left fielder Lauren Olivas, Zakosek and Alvarado to up her K total to nine through three frames.
Horiuchi reached on a walk to open the fourth and advanced to second on a base knock to center by junior second baseman Kenora Posey. Senior center fielder Lindsay Schutzler sacrificed the duo up 60 feet on a perfectly executed bunt to the first baseman. The move paid immediate dividends as Huff drove a pitch through the right side for a two-RBI single and a 5-0 lead.
Abbott roared through the Matador line-up in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings to make it 15 K's through five and improve her "striking out the side" count to 25 in 37 innings of work, to that point, in the circle this season.
Posey christened the top of the sixth by drawing a walk, but she was thrown out trying to swipe second for the first retirement of the inning. Schutzler followed with a long double into the gap in left center, and Chiles picked up the fifth walk of the contest allowed by CSUN pitchers to grant the Big Orange runners at first and second with one down. The duo advanced 60 feet into scoring position on a deep flyout to the base of the wall in left by Huff. Both were stranded, however, as Clay was jammed by an inside pitch and popped up harmlessly to second base.
Olivas was issued the third walk of the contest permitted by Abbott to christen the bottom of the sixth. After Zakosek struck out for the third time in the match-up, Olivas was nailed attempting to steal second by Huff for out number two marking the first retirement of the contest that wasn't a strikeout. Alvarado then became Abbott's 17th K victim to complete the sixth.
The score improved to 6-0 in favor of the Lady Vols in the top of the seventh as the power-hitting Callahan blasted a long solo home run over the center field wall for her second big fly in UTs last two contests. Webb followed with a one out double down the right field line to record her first collegiate hit as a member of the Orange & White. After a flyout to left by redshirt freshman pinch hitter Allison Fulmer, sophomore pinch hitter Danielle Pieroni reached on a throwing error to extend the inning. Schutzler made Northridge pay for the crucial miscue by launching a two-run blast well over the wall in right to up the tally to 9-0 UT.
The pitching gem was concluded in the bottom of the seventh as Abbott retired the side one-two-three with two more strikeouts to complete her 19th career no-hitter and third of the early season.
No. 1 Tennessee will close out its participation in the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev., on Sunday, Feb. 18, at 1:30 p.m. against UC Davis. Periodic updates will be provided on the Lady Vol Hotline at 865-974-8700 (box #6).