April 9, 2005

Box Score

AUBURN, Ala. - Sophomore hurler Monica Abbott threw a one-hit shutout in the Big Orange's 5-0 defeat of No. 22 Auburn in game one of Saturday's doubleheader. The scoreless game was the 34th thrown by the Lady Vols as a team this season, breaking the old record of 33 set by last year's squad.

Abbott struck out 16, tying for the sixth-highest strikeout total in her Lady Vol career, and with 963 in her career, is just 37 from the hallowed 1,000 mark. With the win, she improves to 31-2 on the season.

The Lady Vols have now won 28-of-30 contests and are 44-5 on the season, 12-2 in Southeastern Conference play. Auburn falls to 36-11, 10-5 in league action.

The Big Orange bats struck first, tallying two runs in their half of the second. Freshman first baseman Tonya Callahan ignited the spark with a towering blast over the center field fence. Freshman designated player Natalie Brock then reached on an error and moved to second when a sacrifice bunt was layed down by junior centerfielder Stacey Jennings and the throwing attempt to get Brock at second was errant. After sophomore second baseman Ashley Cline walked to load the bases, Brock scored on a failed pickoff attempt by the Tiger catcher.

Auburn pitcher Beth DiPietro shut down the Lady Vols, however, by facing the minimum three batters in the first, third, fourth, fifth and seventh frames. In the sixth, the Big Orange rallied for three additional tallies on the strength of a three-run two-out triple down the right field line by sophomore catcher Brittany Bessho. Junior third baseman Kristi Durant started the rally by walking with one out, while Callahan followed with a single to center after battling DiPietro through nine pitches. Brock, starting just her fifth game of the season for the Lady Vols, would walk to load the bases for Bessho.



The Tigers never seriously threatened in the contest until the seventh. In the second, Auburn catcher Sara Dean led off with a walk, was sacrificed to second and was accompanied on the base paths when Abbott hit Lolani Alvarez, but Abbott worked her way out of the jam unscathed. The Tigers went down one-two-three in the first, third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings of the contest.

Auburn looked to end Abbott's no-hit bid in the sixth when, with one out, Lady Vol junior leftfielder Katherine Card made a sliding catch and Jennings ran down a fly at the warning track to end the inning. The Tigers, however, broke through with one out in the seventh with a bloop single by Dean and would load the bases before Abbott struck out her 16th batter for the final out of the contest. She actually would strike out four in that inning after allowing a batter to reach on a wild pitch on a swinging third strike.

"Monica pitched well and we had two key hits from Tonya Callahan and Brittany Bessho, along with good defense," Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said. "It was a tough fastpitch game."

The Big Orange and Tigers now face off in the second game of the doubleheader. The squads will complete their three-game set with a single contest at noon CDT on Sunday.



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