Feb. 26, 2005
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - Junior rightfielder Stacey Jennings blasted her third home run and second grand slam of the season in the top of the seventh, sophomore shortstop Lindsay Schutzler went 3-of-4 with an RBI, freshman catcher Shannon Doepking added a RBI double and sophomore hurler Monica Abbott improved her 2005 record to 11-0 with a 12-strikeout, complete game triumph as No. 5 UT downed No. 23 Long Beach State, 8-0. The Orange & White have won all six games against ranked teams this season and have outscored their 16 opponents by a count of 97-2.
"We got clutch hitting when we needed it today," said Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly. "Stacey Jennings had a super game both at-bat and in the field, and Monica (Abbott) continued her string of shutout victories. Long Beach State is a solid team, and they put pressure on us the entire game. Both Karen (Co-Head Coach Weekly) and I thought the kids played well in clutch situations.
Tennessee had an opportunity to get on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning as UT got two on base with two down, but a groundout ended the scoring threat. In the bottom half of the frame second baseman Ashley Cline came up with a highlight-reel catch to end the inning as the sophomore raced behind first and made a diving grab of a foul ball to retire Long Beach.
The Big Orange made the best of another offensive chance in the second inning by breaking on top with a three-spot. After Doepking popped up to second to open the frame, Jennings delivered a base knock to center and freshman first baseman Tonya Callahan laced a shot to left to place runners at first and second. Rookie pinch hitter Kortney Bell walked to load the sacks for Schutzler who delivered a single to left center for a 1-0 Lady Vol advantage. Co-Head Coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly rolled the dice and pinch hit Brittany Bessho for junior centerfielder Sarah Fekete and the move paid off as the sophomore drove in UT's second run with a liner to center. Junior third baseman Kristi Durant followed with a sacrifice fly to right to give the Lady Vols a 3-0 lead.
Tennessee struck again in the top of the fifth inning as Doepking drove a double deep to left field to plate sophomore Ashley Cline from second. Long Beach State mounted their most prolific scoring threat in the bottom half of the fifth against the All-American Abbott as the 49ers got runners on first and second with two down. However, the Salinas, Calif., native induced a harmless pop fly to right field to end the inning.
The biggest blow of the game was struck by Jennings in the top of the seventh with a grand slam to left center that gave UT an 8-0 lead. Cline had singled to shortstop, junior leftfielder Katherine Card had reached by a walk and Doepking was hit by a pitch to load the bases and set the stage for the Aurora, Colo., native's power display.
The fifth-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols (16-0) will continue play at the Palm Springs Classic on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 11:30 p.m. ET against the No. 1 California Golden Bears.