March 24, 2005
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - On the strength of nine two-out runs, the Lady Vol softball team outscored Virginia, 10-0, on Thursday afternoon. The Big Orange also stole five bases, one off the school record, to reach 85 on the season. That mark set a new school standard as the previous record of 83 was set in 1998. The tying and tie-breaking steals were both recorded by centerfielder Sarah Fekete with one in the fourth and another in the sixth. The win improved UT's school-record start to 37-4 as Tennessee has won 21-of-22 contests, while Virginia fell to 10-16.
"I was pleased with the way we played, but I remain concerned that we leave too many runners in scoring position," Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said. "Shannon Doepking's home run (a three-run shot in the seventh) was a monster shot over the 220 (foot) fence and Ashley Cline had a huge two-out, two-run triple early in the game to give us a 4-0 lead. I was happy that we got production throughout the lineup.
"We are happy with the stolen base record. It was our goal this season to run more and put more pressure on the defense. Our kids have responded and it makes us a better all-around team.
Sophomore pitcher Monica Abbott (25-1) struck out 12 in recording her 16th shutout of the season. She has now struck out 10 or more in 48 career contests. Abbott also showed impeccable control and did not walk a single hitter in her seven innings of work.
Tennessee had a number of offensive stars as eight hitters contributed at
least one hit and three had two or more each. Freshman catcher Shannon
Doepking led the offense with a 3-for-4 outing with three runs scored, four
RBI and a three-run homer. Sophomore shortstop Lindsay Schutzler went 2-for-4
with a double, a triple and two RBI, while freshman first baseman Tonya
Callahan had a 2-for-5 performance with one run scored.
In the bottom half of the first, the Cavaliers nearly scored the first run of the game when second baseman Elea Crockett, who had reached on a bloop single to center, attempted to score on a double lined down the left field line from designated player Jenn Wynn, but was thrown out at the plate. Earning the assists were Lady Vol leftfielder India Chiles and Schutzler while Doepking attained a well-deserved putout on the close play at the plate.
The Lady Vols added two more tallies for a 4-0 advantage in their half of the third on the strength two-out triple to the center field wall by Cline, scoring Doepking and designated player Brittany Bessho.
Neither team was able to score the next two innings until Schutzler led off the Lady Vol sixth with a powering drive off the right field wall for a triple and Fekete followed with an infield hit on a grounder to short and a steal of second, the 84th of the season for Tennessee, setting a new school record. Schutzler held on Fekete's infield hit, but would score on third baseman Kristi Durant's single down the right field line; Fekete held at third on that hit.
Following a fly to right where Fekete was caught off third for a double play, Doepking lined a single to center to plate Durant and the Lady Vols had a 6-0 lead. Doepking crossed the plate on a three-base error by the Cavalier leftfielder for the seventh Big Orange run of the contest. All nine Orange and White hitters were able to take an at-bat in the frame before Virginia was able to retire the side.
Three more runs scored in the seventh on a Doepking three-run homer to center, scoring Fekete and Callahan.
The Lady Vols return home for six Southeastern Conference contests, playing Kentucky in a three-game set (4 p.m. doubleheader on Tuesday and a single contest at 4 p.m. on Wednesday) and Arkansas in three more match-ups from April 2-3. Both days' play begins at 1 p.m.