April 23, 2005

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Amid cloudy skies and a dubious weather outlook, the No. 9/11 University of Tennessee softball team (47-10, 13-7 Southeastern Conference) fell to No. 13/12 Georgia (44-10, 23-2 SEC) by a 4-1 count in game one of a SEC doubleheader on Saturday. Third baseman Kristi Durant hit her seventh home run of the season in the first for the Big Orange's lone run. The junior led the UT offense in the contest, going 2-for-3.

The Bulldogs threatened to get on the scoreboard immediately as leadoff hitter Katie Vickers hit a line drive through a puddle and down the left field line for a single and, following an Abbott strikeout, Kim Wendland knocked another blast down the line, this time for a double to put runners on second and third with one out. Abbott then proceeded to strike out the next two Bulldogs to escape the jam unscathed.

Durant then took one swing of the bat to give UT a 1-0 advantage in its half of the first. Following two Big Orange strikeouts, the junior blasted the Michelle Green offering over the center field fence. The homer was her seventh on the season, tying herself with junior leftfielder Katherine Card for the team lead.

The game stayed that way until Wendland blasted a ball over the center field fence as well, tying the contest in the fourth, 1-1. The hit came off a 0-2 pitch and was her 13th of the season, tying the senior for the team lead in homers. Although the Bulldogs had two more runners reach on the base, Abbott escaped further damage.

The Lady Vols threatened to smash another homer, this time over the left field fence, in their half of the fourth, but blasts by freshman first baseman Tonya Callahan and Card were tracked down on the warning track.



Georgia did pull away from the Lady Vols in the sixth on the strength of a three-run homer by Jessica Doucette with one out. Setting the stage were Wendland (single down the right field line) and Courtney Knight (single; this one down the left field line).

Tennessee's last opportunity to tie the contest occurred in the sixth when, with one out, junior centerfielder Sarah Fekete reached on an infield hit and Durant singled to center, but Bulldog pitcher Kasi Carroll induced a ground-out double play to end UT's threat.

The Lady Vols and Bulldogs will now wrap up their doubleheader before playing the final game of the three-game series at 1 p.m. on Sunday.



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