April 5, 2005
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - For the second time in a week (Kentucky - 3/29) a Tennessee opponent was witness to perfection as Lady Vol sophomore pitcher Monica Abbott threw her third collegiate perfect game and equaled a season-high (then-No. 8 Washington - 2/13) by striking out 18 batters in a 1-0 victory over the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles on Tuesday.
Freshman designated player Natalie Brock keyed a crucial seventh-inning rally and sophomore shortstop Lindsay Schutzler delivered an RBI double to left to plate the winning run. The victory was UT's 27th in its last 29 games and fifth in a row overall.
Abbott, the Salinas, Calif., native now has eight career no-hitters, three perfect games, 52 double-digit strikeout performances and 940 K's in her two-year career in the Orange & White. She also boasts a league-leading 30 victories, 358 K's and an ERA of 0.27 in 205.2 innings.
The No. 4 Lady Vols threatened to get on the scoreboard right off the bat in the top of the first inning with a two-out rally as junior third baseman Kristi Durant induced a two-out walk. After the Placentia, Calif., native advanced to second on a wild pitch by Tennessee Tech sophomore hurler Bonnie Bynum, junior utility player Katherine Card drew a base-on-balls to place runners at first and second. However, a hard liner by freshman first baseman Tonya Callahan to center was snagged on the run by Golden Eagle Jennifer Markham.
Abbott demonstrated to Tech that she had her best stuff in the opening four innings by striking out the first 10 Golden Eagles hitters she faced to raise her Southeastern Conference-leading total. She also performed that incredible feat earlier this season by K'ing the opening 10 hitters against then-No. 8 Washington in a 2-1 victory at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev.
Another golden UT scoring opportunity was wasted in the top of the second as a one out single through the left side by sophomore catcher Brittany Bessho opened the rally. Freshman designated player Natalie Brock delivered a double into the gap in right center to place runners at second and third. After a UT strikeout and a walk by sophomore shortstop Lindsay Schutzler loaded the bases, sophomore right fielder India Chiles fouled out down the third base line to end the threat.
Bynum settled down for Tennessee Tech in the middle innings as Durant managed a walk with no outs in the third frame and a two-out single in the fifth for the Lady Vols' lone baserunners from the third through the sixth frames.
Finally after leaving seven baserunners stranded through six innings, Tennessee broke through in the seventh off Bynum with the help of a rally-opening single to right by Brock and a clutch one-out double into left field by Schutzler to score freshman pinch runner Caitlin Ryan with the lone run of the contest.
Tennessee's All-American 6-3 lefty hurler Abbott closed out her second perfect game in a week by striking out all three Tech batters she faced in the bottom of the seventh on the way to 18 for the contest.
UT will continue its doubleheader against Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, Tenn., on Tues., April 5, at 7 p.m. ET before traveling to Auburn, Ala., for an important three-game league series against the Auburn Tigers over April 9-10. Check into utladyvols.com for live stats and postgame recaps and call the Lady Vol Hotline at 865-974-8700 (#6) for voicemail updates during live action.