March 9, 2005

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ­ - The fourth-ranked Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (26-3) made it 10 shutout wins in a row with a 7-0 triumph over in-state foe East Tennessee State (6-11) in the opening game of a doubleheader at Tennessee Field at Tyson Park. Freshman catcher Shannon Doepking registered two RBI singles and a sacrifice fly and junior rightfielder Stacey Jennings delivered a 2-for-3, two-RBI effort to lead the UT offense. Sophomore Monica Abbott picked up her 17th win of the season and struck out 13 ETSU hitters for her 46th career double-digit K performance.

"We were a little lethargic to start today's first game," said Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly. "It was probably a result of playing a doubleheader yesterday afternoon. ETSU really started strong, and we struggled some to begin the contest. Our kids came through in the clutch, and Shannon Doepking did a great job both behind and at the plate.

After a pair of strikeouts to open the contest by 6'3" UT lefthander Monica Abbott, East Tennessee State showed they weren't going to go down without a fight by ripping a pair of two-out base hits to place runners at first and second. However, Abbott struck out ETSU second baseman Mary Beth Hazelwood looking to end the threat.

Sophomore shortstop Lindsay Schutzler christened the bottom of the first inning by reaching on a throwing error and advancing to second base after Buc shortstop Stephanie Gaynord launched a throw wide of first base. A two-out walk by sophomore second baseman Ashley Cline placed UT runners at first and second but a high foul ball down the third base line was squeezed for the final out by ETSU's Gaynord.

Tennessee registered another scoring threat in the bottom of the second inning as freshman Tonya Callahan slammed a one out two-bagger down the left field line to advance into scoring position. However, for the second consecutive inning the Lady Vols failed to take advantage of the scoring opportunity as junior rightfielder Stacey Jennings flew out to right field and freshman designated player Kortney Bell struck out to end the inning.

In the bottom of the third frame the Orange & White finally manufactured a run off ETSU pitcher Courtney Jenkins as Fekete reached first on a fielding error by Gaynord with one down. After a popout to short by Durant, Cline ripped a hard shot that deflected off third baseman Lindsay Lane's glove for a base knock to advance Fekete to third. Rookie catcher Shannon Doepking followed with a two-out hit under a diving Lane at third to score Fekete unearned and grant UT a 1-0 lead.

The advantage grew to two runs in the bottom of the fourth as a two-out triple to right center by Schutzler scored Jennings from second. The Aurora, Colo., native had previously reached on a double to the gap in left center field.

With Abbott cruising along with nine strikeouts through five innings of work, Tennessee finally got to ETSU's Jenkins and forced a pitching change in the fifth with four runs as the Bucs brought in Brittney Lehrschall to relieve. Durant started things off with a double deep off the centerfield wall. Freshman LaDonna Oliver was brought on to pinch run for the Placentia, Calif., native and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Doepking came through again with an RBI single to left to give the Lady Vols a 3-0 lead. After a base knock by Card placed runners at first and second, Jennings delivered a two-run single through the left side of the infield to score two and put ETSU in a five-run hole. Bell laced a hit to put UT baserunners at the corners with two down. The Lady Vols cashed in the opportunity with a double steal as Bell drew the attention of Buc catcher Jessica Lonsinger who bobbled the pitch and allowed Jennings to slide into home under her tag for a 6-0 Tennessee advantage.

UT improved their lead to 7-0 with a run in the bottom of the sixth as Doepking delivered her third RBI of the contest with a long sacrifice fly to the base of the wall in centerfield to plate Fekete from third.

Abbott closed out the 10th-consecutive Lady Vol shutout victory with a groundout to second and two of her 13 strikeouts as UT downed ETSU, 7-0 in six innings.

The Lady Vols will continue the home doubleheader against East Tennessee State at approximately 6 p.m. on Wed., Mar. 9, at Tennessee Field at Tyson Park. Check into for live stats or call the Lady Vol Hotline at 865-974-8700 (#6) for voicemail updates during live game action.





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