March 5, 2005
SUMMERVILLE, S.C. - In the opening round of bracket play at the Charleston Southern Tournament in Summerville, S.C., the fifth-ranked and Pool A top-seeded Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (20-3) erupted for a season-high in runs and freshman hurler Megan Rhodes (6-2) fired her second career no-hitter and fifth of the season for UT during a 19-0 rout of Pool B last-place team North Carolina A&T. The Orange & White now advance to the round of eight to face Longwood at 10:30 a.m. ET on Sun., Mar. 6, at the Gahagan Sports Complex.
"These kinds of games are really tough for both teams," said Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly. "We came out really hot at the plate, and were able to sub liberally in the first inning. A lot of our young players had a chance to see valuable action against North Carolina A&T.
After Rhodes registered a three-up and three-down inning in the top of the first, Tennessee sent 12 batters to the plate in the bottom half of the frame as seven runs crossed against N.C. A&T starting pitcher Lorraine Geiger. Sophomore shortstop Lindsay Schutzler began a 4-for-4, three-run effort with a leadoff single and immediately stole her 13th base of the campaign. Junior centerfielder Sarah Fekete delivered a bunt single to advance the lead runner to third and moved into scoring position herself by swiping second for her 12th theft of 2005. The efforts by the opening two UT batters set the stage for junior third baseman Kristi Durant who ripped a two-RBI double to left center for a 2-0 lead. Sophomore second baseman Ashley Cline walked to place runners at the corners with one down and utility player Katherine Card followed with an RBI double to left center to score the game's third run. Freshman first baseman Tonya Callahan roped a two-run base knock for a 5-0 advantage and later scored on a Geiger wild pitch. With two down and leading 6-0, the Orange & White utilized Schutzler's second hit of the inning, this time a double into the gap in left center, to score a seventh run.
Tennessee added to its advantage in the top of the second as Cline raced home from third in a bases-loaded situation on another Geiger wild pitch to put N.C. A&T in an 8-0 hole.
With Rhodes having retired nine of the first 11 batters of the contest (BB, error), the Big Orange officially turned up the scoring pressure in the top of the third as 15 Lady Vols strode to the dish while UT registered an incredible 11-run inning. Schutzler again started things with a single as the Monterey, Calif., native delivered a bunt back to the pitcher to successfully reach base safely as the leadoff hitter for the seventh time in seven opportunities at the CSU Tourney. Freshman LaDonna Oliver laid down a bunt single to third and both runners advanced a base due to a throwing error by third baseman Adia Dial. After allowing eight runs, N.C. A&T finally made a move to bring in a reliever as Dial was switched over from third base to the mound. However, she fared no better than Geiger.
Freshman Caitlin Ryan drew a walk and sophomore catcher Brittany Bessho singled to center for an RBI. Sophomore India Chiles plated a run with a base knock to short and Callahan roped a two-run single through the left side for a 12-0 lead. Ryan laced an RBI single in her second at-bat of the frame, but the biggest blow of the contest was yet to come as Cline took advantage of a fat pitch from Dial and drove the ball deep over the left field fence for a grand slam as UT took an outlandish 19-0 lead.
The No. 5 Lady Vols will continue bracket play at the Charleston Southern Tournament on Sun., Mar. 6, at 10:30 a.m. ET against Longwood in round of eight action. Check into utladyvols.com or call the Lady Vol Hotline at 865-974-8700 (#6) for updates and postgame stories.