April 3, 2005
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - In the resumption of a Saturday evening contest that was halted in the bottom of the first inning when a fierce rain storm forced the game to be suspended, the No. 4 Tennessee Lady Vols softball team downed the Arkansas Lady'Backs, 6-0, on Sunday morning to improve its record to 40-5 overall and 10-2 in the Southeastern Conference.
Sophomore Monica Abbott picked up the win in the circle with five innings of one-hit work with seven strikeouts to improve her season mark to 28-2 overall. Junior center fielder Stacey Jennings and freshman first baseman Tonya Callahan each drove in a pair of runs while sophomore right fielder India Chiles registered a 2-for-3, two-run scored effort. Sophomore shortstop Lindsay Schutzler went 2-for-4 with a solo home run from her lead-off position.
The first-half inning was played on Saturday evening before a torrential downpour ceased action. After UT registered two quick outs in the top of the first inning in a light rain shower, the Arkansas Lady'Backs (13-27, 0-13 SEC) mounted a serious threat against Tennessee sophomore hurler Monica Abbott. UA second baseman Kallie Foglesong ripped a double to right center and was followed at the dish by first baseman Ashley Carter who was struck by a pitch to place runners at first and second. However, Abbott quickly ended any notion of a threat with her second strikeout of the frame.
As the two squads returned to their respective dugouts in-between the top and bottom of the first inning, the darkened skies over Tennessee Field opened and deluged the crowd and players. After a Schutzler strikeout, the rain and wind strengthened to the point that conditions forced the umpiring crew to call for a postponement. The strong winds even wreaked havoc with the crew placing the tarp over the diamond by threatening to blow the cover off the field.
When play resumed on Sunday morning at 11 a.m., Chiles opened play again in the bottom of the first with a single to second base. The Louisville, Ky., native stole second and advanced to third on junior third baseman Kristi Durant's groundout to first. However, she was stranded right there as junior Katherine Card grounded back to the pitcher to end the inning.
Neither team mounted a real scoring threat until the bottom of the fourth when the Lady Vols erupted for four runs on five hits. Chiles once again started a rally with a bunt single and advanced into scoring position on a Durant groundout. Card delivered a base knock up the middle to place runners at the corners with one down. After a fly out to right by freshman catcher Shannon Doepking, Callahan stepped to the dish and flared a single over second base to plate two and give UT a 2-0 lead. After a single to left by designated hitter Brittany Bessho, Jennings doubled to right center to score two more and grant Tennessee a 4-0 advantage.
With Abbott on cruise control on the mound by allowing just a single hit through her five innings of work with seven K's, the Orange & White added to their lead with two more runs in the bottom half of the fifth. Schutzler drilled her fifth home run of the campaign over the right center field wall to push the gap to 5-0. After a walk to Chiles and a stolen base gave UT another runner in scoring position, a Durant grounder back to the pitcher was thrown away at first allowing Chiles to scamper home with an unearned run for a 6-0 UT lead.
Co-Head Coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly then summoned freshman hurler Megan Rhodes from the bullpen to hurl the final two innings of work. The Nashville, Tenn., native allowed just a single hit with four strikeouts while keeping Arkansas from managing any sort of rally.
The two squads will complete a doubleheader on Sunday, April 3, at 1 p.m., at Tennessee Field at Tyson Park. 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.