April 23, 2005
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The No. 9/11 Lady Vol softball team earned a Southeastern Conference doubleheader split with a 3-1 victory over No. 13/12 Georgia on Saturday afternoon. UT (48-10, 14-7 SEC) had fallen to the Bulldogs (44-11, 23-3 SEC) in the opener by a 4-1 count. Lady Vol pitcher Monica Abbott was dominating in the nightcap, allowing one run on four hits.
The Bulldogs put the first tally on the scoreboard with a long home run to left by Megan McAllister to lead off the second.
With three runs in the third, the Big Orange took control and a 3-1 advantage. Sophomore designated player India Chiles led off with an infield hit and sophomore shortstop Lindsay Schutzler hit a triple which Bulldog leftfielder Jessica Gilmore nearly made a diving catch of deep down the left field line. Chiles scored on the play to tie the contest, 1-1.
After junior centerfielder Sarah Fekete beat out a ball hit about eight feet in front of home plate, she stole second to put runners on second and third with nobody out. UGA pitcher Katie Griffith nearly escaped the jam without further damage after inducing an infield groundout with the runners holding and a strikeout, but junior centerfielder Katherine Card had other ideas. She lined a single past a diving shortstop and into left-center field to plate the speedy pair of Schutzler and Fekete.
Following that eventful UT half of the third, the game settled down the rest of the way as neither team could get more than one runner on the base paths the final four innings.
Georgia threatened in the seventh after Jessica Doucette singled to left with one out to bring up Jessica Gilmore. The Bulldog leftfielder had hit a dramatic three-run homer in the seventh inning in game one of UGA's series with Auburn last Saturday to tie the contest, 4-4, before the Bulldogs won, 5-4. Abbott however forced Gilmore to hit a grounder right back to her and then retired Jodi Dyer on a liner to second baseman Ashley Cline to move to 34-6 on the season.
For the contest, Schutzler led the Lady Vols with a 2-for-3 performance with a triple, run and RBI, while freshman catcher Shannon Doepking hit a sixth-inning double.
"Georgia is an extremely tough team who comes after you offensively 1-9," Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said. "They are well-coached and are very aggressive offensively and defensively.
"I was very proud of our kids in the second game. They played extra hard and got some key hits in clutch situations. Monica rebounded with a great game and gave us opportunities to win. Kat Card's two-out RBI single was very clutch."
The two nationally-ranked squads wrap up their three-game set with a rubber contest on Sunday. Start time will be 1 p.m.