March 6, 2007
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - It wasn't particularly easy, but No. 1 Tennessee (21-0) got the job done in its home opener at Tyson Park in Knoxville, Tenn., as UT downed Appalachian State (3-12), 1-0, behind a one-hit, 15-K shutout from senior pitcher Monica Abbott and a fourth inning RBI-single off the bat of sophomore right fielder Danielle Pieroni.
With the blanking, Abbott tied former California hurler Michele Granger for the NCAA Division I career shutout record at 94 and stretched her consecutive scoreless inning skein to 80.1 frames.
Tennessee managed just three hits in the contest as Pieroni contributed a single and her second RBI of the year, while junior first baseman Tonya Callahan and freshman designated player Alexia Clay each registered a 1-for-3 contest.
Neither team managed much offense through the first two innings as Abbott and Appalachian State starter Yancy Moose controlled the action from the circle. Tennessee's 6-3 lefthander struck out three through the opening two frames, while Moose permitted a second inning single to Callahan, but the Lady Vols couldn't string together a sustained offensive threat.
Sophomore shortstop Liane Horiuchi granted the Big Orange its second base runner of the contest by drawing a lead-off walk against Moose to christen the bottom of the third. The Wahiawa, Hawaii, native advanced 60 feet into scoring position by swiping second for her sixth stolen base of the campaign. Junior second baseman Kenora Posey sacrificed the runner to third by dropping a perfect bunt out in front of the dish. Following a sharp groundout back to the circle by senior center fielder Lindsay Schutzler to register the second out of the frame, senior left fielder India Chiles went down swinging to end the frame.
Abbott's streak of 11 consecutive perfect innings, dating back to the seventh inning against Tennessee Tech on March 3rd, came to an end in the top of the fourth as Mountaineer third baseman Lindsay Glover received a one-out free pass. Despite the runner's swipe of second, the Salinas, Calif., native responded to strikeout designated player Meagan Squartino and second baseman Kasey Motsinger to maintain the scoreless deadlock.
The Lady Vols got its first sustained assault going in the bottom of the fourth as freshman first baseman Tiffany Huff drew a lead-off walk, Callahan was struck by a Moose offering and Clay singled sharply off the glove of a diving Glover at third to load the bags. With an opportunity to grant UT the lead, Pieroni came through with a clutch single through the left side to plate pinch runner Lillian Hammond for a 1-0 advantage. Consecutive fielder's choice grounders to third and shortstop cut down a pair at the dish for two outs. Redshirt freshman pinch hitter Allison Fulmer hit a bouncer down to third that Glover handled herself at the bag to conclude the attack.
Abbott continued to roll from the circle in the top of the fifth by punching out ASU first baseman Diana Cook, center fielder Ashley Gaston and catcher Kristyn Hurt to strikeout the side for the 50th time in 2007.
Moose walked Callahan to begin the bottom of the sixth and co-head coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly brought on speedy freshman pinch runner Nicole Kajitani to run. Unfortunately for the Orange & White, Clay grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to kill any rally. A Pieroni liner to third ended the frame and maintained Tennessee's 1-0 advantage.
A potential Abbott no-hitter was broken up to lead-off the top of the seventh as Glover bounced a single over the head of new Lady Vol third baseman Anita Manuma. With the tying run standing on first, Abbott struck out pinch hitter Brittany Gaston, Motsinger and Cook consecutively to total 15 K's for the game and conclude the one-hit blanking to tie the NCAA Division I career shutout record.
No. 1 Tennessee will continue its home doubleheader at Tyson Park on Tuesday evening, March 6, at 7 p.m. with the second contest versus Appalachian State. Live stats will be available through Gametracker, and periodic updates will be provided to the Lady Vol Hotline at 865-974-8700 (box #6). The match-up will be broadcast live on The Sports Animal (99.1, 99.3 FM, 990 AM) with the "Voice of the Lady Vols" Mickey Dearstone.