March 29, 2005
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - It was a dose of perfection for the Kentucky Wildcats (14-26, 1-12 SEC) in the opener of a scheduled doubleheader against No. 4 Tennessee (38-4, 8-1 SEC) at Tyson Park as sophomore hurler Monica Abbott recorded her second career perfect game with a seven-inning, 12-strikeout performance in a 5-0 Lady Vol victory. For the Salinas, Calif., native, the victory was her 26th of the season, and the no-no was her third of the campaign and seventh of her career. Sophomore shortstop Lindsay Schutzler delivered a mammoth two-run home run to left in the third, freshman first baseman Tonya Callahan launched a solo shot in the fourth and junior third baseman Kristi Durant delivered a two-run double to center in the fifth to account for the UT runs.
After each squad went quietly in the first inning with a one-two-three frame as Abbott struck out a pair and UK was set down in order in the second, Tennessee registered the initial base runner of the contest in the bottom of the frame as junior center fielder Katherine Card drilled a one-out pitch from Kentucky hurler Amy Kendall up the middle. However, a 6-4-3 double play ended the threat with the teams still locked in a scoreless pitcher's duel.
Abbott continued to roll along with seven strikeouts through three frames, but the UT offense was going nowhere against Kendall until a two-out base knock in the bottom of the third by sophomore second baseman Ashley Cline ignited an offensive opportunity. After Cline swiped second, Schutzler, the Southeastern Conference's third-leading hitter coming into today's game at .441, mashed a two-run home run off the very top of the 40-foot screen over the left center field wall to grant the Orange & White a 2-0 advantage.
Tennessee continued utilizing the long ball in the bottom of the fourth as clean-up hitter Tonya Callahan drilled a high fly ball that made its way out in left field for the rookie's fourth home run of the season to give UT a 3-0 lead.
Kentucky once again went out in order in the top of the fifth as Abbott retired the first 15 Wildcats she faced through the opening five frames, eight by strikeout, to bring up the Lady Vols in the bottom half of the inning.
Schutzler got the attack rolling again with a one out single up the middle and a stolen base to advance into scoring position with sophomore left fielder India Chiles coming to the plate. Chiles dragged a perfect bunt down the first base line and reached safely when no UK fielder successfully covered the bag to place runners at the corners. Durant made it 5-0 Tennessee after her two-RBI double sailed over the head of Kentucky center fielder Jessica Nance to plate Schutzler and Chiles.
Abbott closed out her second perfect game by striking out a pair of Wildcats in both the sixth and seventh innings while facing the minimum 21 UK batters. With a dozen strikeouts, Abbott now has 311 K's in 2005 and 893 career punchouts as the countdown to the 1,000-K plateau continues.
After the doubleheader night-cap against UK at 6 p.m., today, No. 4 UT will contest the series finale on Wed., March 30, at 4 p.m. The No. 4 Lady Vols will continue SEC play with a three-game set this weekend against the Arkansas Lady'Backs over April 2-3. Check into utladyvols.com for live stats of all home contests or call the Lady Vol Hotline at 865-974-8700 (#6) for voicemail updates during games.