April 17, 2005
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The sixth-ranked Lady Vol softball team (45-9, 13-6 Southeastern Conference) got out of its hitting slump on Sunday and ended its longest losing streak of the season with a 6-2 win over No. 15 Florida (34-12, 13-5 SEC). The Big Orange recorded a double-digit total in hits (11) for the first time since a 10-0 victory at Virginia on March 24 (12). The win ended a four-game skid for the Lady Vols.
"Tonya (Callahan), Kristi (Durant) and Kat (Card) all had key RBI hits for us today," Co-Head Coach Karen Weekly said. "We challenged our team last night to be better with runners in scoring position and they met the challenge today. Florida's a good opponent, as is every team in the SEC, and this was a tough series. We felt we had an opportunity to win both games one and two (on Saturday), but Florida prevailed in two close games. We're proud of our kids for the effort they gave today.
Freshman first baseman Tonya Callahan helped lead the offensive attack with an impressive 3-for-4 performance with a double, home run and three RBI. Going 2-for-4 were junior third baseman Kristi Durant and freshman catcher Shannon Doepking. Durant also contributed two RBI and a run scored.
In the circle, sophomore pitcher Monica Abbott (32-5) tossed seven innings and allowed two runs, one earned. She also struck out eight and has a total of 991 in her career, just nine away from the hallowed 1,000 mark.
The Lady Vols struck first, tallying a run in their half of the first. Junior
centerfielder Stacey Jennings walked with one out, stole second and scored on
a line drive to left-center by Callahan.
Junior leftfielder Katherine Card drove in UT's second run of the contest with a triple to right field, scoring pinch runner LaDonna Oliver. Oliver replaced Durant, who singled to lead off the frame.
Florida tied the contest, 2-2, with a pair of tallies in the fourth. With two outs, catcher Kristen Butler singled. After first baseman Melissa Zick singled to right, Butler's pinch runner, Stacie Pestrak, scored on an error by Lady Vol rightfielder India Chiles on the play. After designated player Mandy Schuerman walked, second baseman Savana Kelly singled in Zick with the tying run.
With one out in the next half inning, Tennessee took the lead right back on a solo homer to left by Callahan. One inning later, in the sixth, the Big Orange put the game away with three more tallies.
Freshman pinch hitter Caitlin Ryan and Chiles led off the frame with walks. Sophomore shortstop Lindsay Schutzler then hit a grounder to Kelly, which arrived just as Chiles was running to second and got past Kelly and into right field. On the play, Ryan attempted to score but was thrown out at the plate by UF rightfielder Lacy Howard. Following a second out, Durant singled in Chiles and Schutzler. Callahan followed by doubling in Durant for the third and final run of the inning and the Lady Vols had the final tally of their 6-2 victory.
Tennessee next plays at Austin Peay in a doubleheader on Tuesday. First pitch for the initial game will be at 2:30 p.m. CDT.