March 3, 2007
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Saturday at the Frost Classic in Chattanooga, Tenn., was a day for history and for winning as No. 1 Tennessee (19-0) followed up Monica Abbott's historic victory against Tennessee Tech by unleashing a 13-hit attack to drop Toledo, 9-1 (six inn.), behind a two-hit, 12-K effort from junior hurler Megan Rhodes (6-0).
Freshmen Tiffany Huff (3-of-4, 3-R HR, four RBI) and Nicole Kajitani (3-for-4, three RBI), junior first baseman Tonya Callahan (2-for-2, two RBI, two runs) and seniors Lindsay Schutzler (3-for-4, two runs) and India Chiles (2-for-2, three runs) led the 13-hit offensive assault against the Rockets.
"Today was a special day for Monica Abbott and our entire program," Lady Vol co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. "It was really special to play in front of a crowd approaching 1,000 fans at the first game. It was definitely a Big Orange atmosphere. Facing Tennessee Tech in game one, a team that had beaten Florida State and Nebraska in the past week, was a challenge, but Monica pitched extremely well in striking out 18. Lindsay Schutzler's lead-off home run into the wind to right was one of the longest shots hit this year. In game two our `Batbuster' duo combined for seven RBI as Tiffany Huff hit a three-run homer and knocked in four runs, while Nicole Kajitani had three hits and three RBI. It's great to see our freshmen continue to perform well."
Schutzler's solid day at the plate continued against Toledo as the Monterey, Calif., native got the Lady Vol offense off to a good start with a lead-off single up the middle. Chiles followed by beating out a base knock to short. On the play, the Louisville, Ky., senior moved to second with Schutzler racing on to third as Rocket first baseman Leslie Stong couldn't dig out the low throw from Lacey LeVier. Tennessee RBI leader Tiffany Huff stepped into the box and drove her team-best fifth home run over the left center field wall for a 3-0 advantage and up her RBI total to 29 for the campaign.
UT's Rhodes was in early control in the circle despite giving up a solo home run to designated player Mica Sanchez to start the bottom of the second to cut the gap to 3-1. The Nashville, Tenn., native struck out four Toledo hitters through the initial two innings.
The Big Orange added to their lead in the top of the third as Callahan was struck by the initial offering of the frame by Toledo hurler Sierra Pereira. She advanced into scoring position on a perfect sacrifice bunt by sophomore right fielder Danielle Pieroni, and came around to score on an RBI single by freshman second baseman Nicole Kajitani. Sophomore shortstop Liane Horiuchi drew a walk to give UT a pair of baserunners, but an infield fly out concluded the frame with no further scoring.
Schutzler made it a perfect 3-for-3 to start the fourth by blasting a triple into the gap in left center field. Chiles followed with an infield single, and Huff knocked in Schutzler, with a base knock through the hole between third and short, to improve the advantage to 5-0. The Lady Vols' sixth run crossed on a Callahan sacrifice fly to deep left to give the Holden, Mo., product 18 RBI for the campaign.
Rhodes continued her dominance by striking out the side in the bottom of the fourth as catcher Alison Hess, third baseman Megan McCauley and Sanchez went down on strikes to up the UT right hander's K total to eight for the contest.
After leaving a pair stranded in the fifth, Chiles got a Tennessee threat started in the top of the sixth by walking and promptly stealing second. A wild pitch from Rocket reliever Hannah Rockhold got away from Hess behind the dish allowing the runner to move up 60 feet to third. With one retired, Callahan blasted a lazer shot just over shortstop and into the gap in left center for a double to score Chiles with the Orange & White's seventh run. Pieroni just missed a two-run blast as her drive to deep center rattled off the wall for a double. Callahan, who was forced to hold briefly at second to see if the ball would be caught by Toledo center fielder Erica Singer, advanced only as far as third on the play. After a groundout by junior pinch hitter Caitlin Ryan, Kajitani ripped a hard grounder that raced by McCauley at the hot corner to plate two more and stretch the lead to 9-1. Horiuchi walked to place two runners on the basepaths for Hammond, but the slap-hitter was just beaten to first by the throw on a bunt attempt to close the frame.
UT's 19th victory was secured with a one-two-three inning as Rhodes struck out right fielder Andrea Wabol, Stong and left fielder Kate Ricchio in order to end the contest with 12 K's.
No. 1 Tennessee will conclude play at the Frost Classic on Sunday morning against Austin Peay at 9 a.m. on Hargraves Field near the Jim Frost Stadium on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Periodic updates will be provided to the Lady Vol Hotline at 865-974-8700 (box #6).