Feb. 26, 2005

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CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - The No. 5 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team improved its overall record to a program-best 15-0 with a 1-0 victory over No. 18 Oregon State at the Palm Springs Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. Sophomore hurler Monica Abbott struck out nine in a complete game one-hitter while junior leftfielder Katherine Card had the big blow offensively with a two-out RBI double in the top of the first inning. The Orange & White have now outscored its opponents 89-2 this season and the UT pitching staff has seven consecutive shutouts and 13 total during 2005.

"That was a classic fastpitch softball game," said Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly. "One pitcher was throwing 69 miles-per-hour and the other was at 68. Since it was night time the ball was even harder for the hitters to see. Monica Abbott was especially clutch when Oregon State got the leadoff hitter on third base due to an error. Katherine Card was our offensive hero in the first inning with a big double to score the eventual winning run. Karen (Co-Head Coach Weekly) and I are really appreciative of Assistant Coach Marty McDaniel and all the work he has done with our pitching staff. He has been a valuable component to improving that part of our game. This win over Oregon State is a very satisfying victory for our program.

Soon to be locked in a pitcher's duel, the Lady Vols registered all the offense they would need in the first frame as a result of some wildness by Oregon State hurler Brianne McGowan and a clutch two-out hit. Sophomore shortstop Lindsay Schutzler walked to open the frame and was sacrificed to second by junior third baseman Kristi Durant. After sophomore second baseman Ashley Cline drew a base-on-balls to place runners at first and second with two down, Card laced a long double to left over the outstretched hand of Oregon State's leftfielder to plate sophomore shortstop Lindsay Schutzler with the lone tally of the game.

UT had an opportunity to add to its lead in the top of the third with two outs as consecutive base hits by Card and freshman catcher Shannon Doepking put runners at first and second. However, a fielder's choice cut down Card at third to end the Tennessee scoring threat.

Abbott cruised through her 10th victory of the season (10-0, 70 IP, 1 ER, 15 H, 126 K), but there was an anxious moment to leadoff the seventh inning as Oregon State designated player Vanessa Iapala drove an offering from the Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-American deep to right field. With the ball drifting toward the wall, junior Stacey Jennings backpedaled to the base of the fence to make the grab and register the first out of the inning. Abbott's ninth K of the contest and a groundout back to the pitcher ended the game and gave UT its 15th victory of the season and fifth over a ranked opponent (5-0).

The fifth-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols will continue play at the Palm Springs Classic on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 3:30 p.m. ET against the No. 23 Long Beach State 49ers. The most anticipated contest awaits UT at 11:30 p.m. ET when the squad will face No. 1 California.





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