March 9, 2005

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -­ Junior third baseman Kristi Durant and freshman first baseman Tonya Callahan each provided a solo home run and freshman Megan Rhodes (3.0 IP, 3 H, 5 K) and sophomore Monica Abbott (W, 18-1, 4 IP, 0 H, 9 K) combined on a three-hitter with 14 strikeouts as the fourth-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols improved their overall record to 27-3 by taking the second game of a doubleheader with East Tennessee State (6-12) by a 3-0 count. The Orange & White have won 11 consecutive contests by shutout and have outscored their opponents during the skein by an incredible 98-0.

For the second straight game the Buccaneers threatened to jump in front in the top of the first inning as ETSU led off the frame against starting UT pitcher Megan Rhodes with back-to-back singles from rightfielder Janine Sprague and centerfielder Danielle Spetar. After inducing a fly out to left by third baseman Lindsay Lane and a pop out by clean up hitter and catcher Jessica Lonsinger, the Tennessee rookie hurler ended the scoring threat with a swinging strikeout of ETSU second baseman Mary Beth Hazelwood.

The Orange & White took advantage of the Buccaneers failure to gain an early advantage by registering one of their own in the bottom of the first as Durant powered a pitch from Belinda Barrera deep over the center field wall to grant UT a 1-0 lead. The big fly was the Placentia, Calif., native's fourth of the campaign, and the RBI her team-best 36th.

After Rhodes took care of business by allowing just one ETSU baserunner combined over the next two innings, Abbott was brought on in relief to begin the fourth and registered five strikeouts in her first two frames of work.

The Lady Vols took advantage of a passed ball by Lonsinger in the bottom of the fifth to pick up an important insurance run. Junior centerfielder Sarah Fekete led off the inning by singling back to the pitcher and promptly swiped second for her 16th steal of the season. After a Durant groundout to second advanced the runner up a base, Fekete raced home when a pitch from Barrera crossed up Lonsinger to allow UT's second run to cross the plate.

A day after hitting a ball onto the Alcoa Highway overpass in a 13-0 (5) win over Austin Peay, Tennessee's Callahan once again displayed her tremendous power with a long drive over the wall in left center to close the scoring with UT up 3-0.

Abbott slammed the door on East Tennessee State by striking out the side in the seventh to pick up her 18th victory of the campaign. The Salinas, Calif., native has allowed just two runs in 122 innings of work in 2005 with 225 strikeouts. Her earned-run-average is a miniscule 0.11, and the All-America has 16 complete games with 14 solo shutouts.

The No. 4 Tennessee Lady Vols will continue their homestand this weekend by opening the Southeastern Conference portion of the schedule with a visit from archrival and eight-rated Alabama. A doubleheader is scheduled for Sat., Mar. 12, at 1 p.m. with a single contest following on Sun., Mar. 13, at 1 p.m. Check into utladyvols.com 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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