April 1, 2006
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Senior designated player Kristi Durant equaled former Alabama All American and U.S. Olympian Kelly Kretschman's Southeastern Conference's career RBI record with her 191st run-batted in, and co-head coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly picked up their program-record 234th victory at "Rocky Top" with an 8-1 triumph in the second game of a doubleheader against Arkansas at Lady'Back Yard in Fayetteville, Ark., on Saturday afternoon.
"Monica Abbott pitched well for us, and our offense played really well to pick up two wins today," said Lady Vol co-head coach Ralph Weekly. "Arkansas played us really tough. We came in here knowing we would face a good ball club as evidenced by their recent wins over Georgia and Florida. They kept the second game close for six innings, but in the seventh, our offense finally got things going. Led by Sarah Fekete, India Chiles and Lindsay Schutzler, we picked up seven runs. Katherine Card also had a big two-run single for our team. We know tomorrow will be another tough battle against the Lady Razorbacks.
Sophomore pitcher Megan Rhodes hurled an effective 2.2 innings as the game two starter while allowing just a single run and one base knock while striking out five. Junior pitcher Monica Abbott picked up her 22nd victory of the season by permitting just three hits in 4.1 innings of relief work with six K's.
Junior left fielder Lindsay Schutzler delivered a 3-for-4 effort at the dish, while senior right fielder Katherine Card registered a 2-of-3 effort with an important two-RBI single. Freshman Sarah Vaughn drove in a pair of tallies (third and fourth RBI's of 2006), and senior center fielder Sarah Fekete, Durant and sophomore Shannon Doepking each knocked in a run in the victory.
After permitting a lead-off single to center fielder Mindy O'Malley in the opening inning, sophomore pitcher Megan Rhodes exerted early control from the circle by retiring Arkansas' Rachel LeMaster, Whitney Cloer and Sandra Smith one-two-three to bring up the Orange & White offense.
Freshman third baseman Jennifer Griffin keyed a two-out rally for the Lady Vols in the top of the second inning as the Whittier, Calif., product walked to grant UT a base runner. Freshman second baseman Liane Horiuchi was struck by a pitch for the eighth time this year to make it first and second against Arkansas hurler Katy Henry. Pinch hitter Natalie Brock lifted a lazy fly in shallow right that was dropped for an error by second baseman Blaire Perry allowing Griffin to race home for a 1-0 advantage. Earlier in the frame, Card drove a shot to deep center field with one out, but a strong wind blowing straight in knocked the ball down denying the Big Orange its first score.
Schutzler picked up her second hit of the contest with one out in the top of the third and swiped second base to advance into scoring position. The Monterey, Calif., native was stranded right there, however, as Durant flied out to deep left, and Callahan grounded to third to complete the frame.
Following an error and a two-out intentional walk in the third inning, Tennessee's coaching staff made the call to the bullpen and summoned in Abbott for Rhodes. The move didn't pay off as hoped as UT's two-time All-American promptly allowed an RBI single to center field by Arkansas catcher Whitney Cloer to knot the contest at 1-1.
The Lady'Backs wasted a golden opportunity to take the lead in the bottom half of the fourth frame as third baseman Sandra Smith led off an attack with a single into left field. Following a strikeout, a sacrifice bunt by Perry moved the UA runner up 60 feet with two outs. No damage occurred, however, as Abbott K'ed first baseman Shana Easley to end the scoring chance.
Tennessee almost snapped the tie in the top of the fifth as designated player India Chiles delivered a base knock by hustling down the line to beat out a bunt single with one down. She was promptly thrown out trying to steal second in an aggressive play that most likely cost UT the go-ahead run. Schutzler hammered a single into left field, and was followed at the dish by Durant who ripped a shot up the middle to advance the lead runner to third. Callahan flied out to center field to end the threat.
With a last chance to break the tie in regulation, Fekete got things started in the top of the seventh with a lead-off walk to give UT the base runner it desperately needed. Chiles pulled off a successful sacrifice bunt to advance the runner up 60 feet and into scoring position. Schutzler laced a routine ground ball to second, but reached as Easley pulled her foot off the bag too early for an error. With runners now at first and third with one down, Durant bunted out in front of the plate and gained first herself in a successful squeeze play. During the action, Fekete raced home to grant Tennessee a 2-1 lead on Durant's SEC career record-tying RBI. After a strikeout, Card sharply drilled a two-RBI single up the middle to make it 4-1, Lady Vols. Following a walk to Griffin, Doepking singled in a run to center improve the lead to four runs. Posey reached on a bunt single that loaded the bases for Fekete. The Maryville, Tenn., product coerced a bases loaded walk to bring in Tennessee's sixth run of the contest. A two-out double down the left field line by pinch hitter Sarah Vaughn finalized the score at 8-1 Lady Vols. In the frame, Tennessee sent 12 batters to the plate in scoring seven runs on four hits and an Arkansas error.
Abbott closed out the doubleheader sweep with a pair of K's and a groundout in the bottom of the seventh as the Big Orange picked up its fifth consecutive conference victory.
No. 5 Tennessee will close out its nine-game league road trip with the final match-up of a three-contest series in Fayetteville, Ark., against the Lady'Backs on Sunday, April 2, at noon CT. Originally scheduled for a 1 p.m. CT start, the game was moved up an hour due to UT's travel plans. Live stats will be available through utladyvols.com, and periodic updates will be provided on the Lady Vol Hotline 865-974-8700 (box #6).