March 19, 2005

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Lady Vols rode the powerful pitching of sophomore Monica Abbott to a 1-0 victory over Mississippi State in the first game of a softball doubleheader on Saturday. The win was the 400th in program history and moved UT's all-time record to 400-233-1. The Salinas, Calif., native tossed a one-hitter, striking out the first four and 11 overall, while retiring the initial 11 Bulldog batters before hitting a batter with two outs in the fourth. The lone hit came on a well-placed grounder to the right of the second baseman to lead off the sixth.

"All of the credit in this game goes to Monica Abbott," Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said. "She threw a great game.

After Abbott struck out the side in the top of the first, Tennessee got on the scoreboard with a single tally in its half. Junior centerfielder Sarah Fekete started off her 3-for-3 day with a single down the left field line. After she stole second, junior third baseman Kristi Durant drove her in with a single to center.

Tennessee then rallied again in the second. After freshman first baseman Tonya Callahan walked, sophomore second baseman Ashley Cline reached on a fielder's choice and advanced to second when the Bulldog second baseman overthrew first on an attempt for a double play. Junior rightfielder Stacey Jennings then walked. MSU got out of the inning when sophomore designated player India Chiles hit a short popup which was caught on a dive and Cline was doubled off of second on the play.



In the third, sophomore shortstop Lindsay Schutzler led off with a single to left, stole second and advanced to third when Fekete layed down a bunt which went two feet down the third base line, rolled and, as the Bulldogs waited for it to roll foul, the ball settled right on the line. MSU once again escaped unscathed with the help of a ground-out double play and a popup.

The Lady Vols would get four base runners combined in the final four frames, but could not add to its lead. Mississippi State's biggest chance to tie the game came in the sixth as MSU batters advanced a runner to second with two out, but Abbott struck out the final batter to end the threat.

With the win, Tennessee improved its school-record start to 32-4 while moving its Southeastern Conference record to 5-1. The Bulldogs fall to 18-13, 0-4 in SEC play with the setback.

Check for live stats or call the Lady Vol Hotline at 865-974-8700 (#6) for voicemail updates during live game action during the second game of today's doubleheader.



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