March 12, 2005
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Sophomore pitcher Monica Abbott (W, 19-1, 7 IP, 3 H, 8 K) retired 11 straight batters at one point and earned a putout at home plate in the sixth inning to help No. 4 Tennessee top eighth-ranked Alabama, 3-1, in the first game of a Southeastern Conference softball doubleheader on Saturday afternoon. Tennessee's streak of 75-2/3 consecutive scoreless innings and 11 straight shutouts came to an end with two outs in the seventh inning on a Crimson Tide homer. Tennessee improves to 28-3, 1-0 in Southeastern Conference play, while Alabama is 24-5, 0-1 in SEC contests.
"This is the kind of game you would expect between two top-eight teams," Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said. "Both teams played well and we happened to come out on top at the end of this one. Our only concern was the number of runners we left stranded (Tennessee left eight on base). We can't play a team like Alabama and not capitalize on our scoring opportunities."
Alabama immediately threatened as centerfielder Jackie Wilkins drove the second pitch of the game to the right-center gap for a single. She then stole second but was stranded there by Abbott.
The Lady Vols then took a 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the first on freshman catcher Shannon Doepking's RBI single, scoring junior centerfielder Sarah Fekete. The Big Orange would load the bases with two outs before Alabama was able to get out of the inning.
Tennessee threatened in the fifth as sophomore shortstop Lindsay Schutzler, junior third baseman Kristi Durant and sophomore second baseman Ashley Cline each reached on singles, the latter two of the infield variety, but Alabama was able to get out of the one-out jam to stay within one.
Alabama nearly tied the score in its half of the sixth. With two outs and second baseman Leah White on second, third baseman Ramsey hit a slow grounder between first and second which Cline took and rushed her throw as it sailed over freshman first baseman Tonya Callahan's head. But the tide turned for Tennessee as Doepking was there for the errant throw and tossed it to Abbott covering home who tagged White out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Tennessee took a 3-0 lead with two down when Schutzler hit her third home run of the season, scoring junior rightfielder Stacey Jennings.
"In a timeout before her homer (a two-run shot in game one), I told her that she can go deep, the wind's blowing her way," Weekly said. "She laughed and then hit it out."
Abbott then allowed a solo home run to shortstop Dominique Accetturo with two outs before striking out pinch hitter Mandy Burford for the final out.
The No. 4 Tennessee Lady Vols will continue the doubleheader with a second game today. A single game will be played at 1 p.m. on Sunday. 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.