April 27, 2005
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The 11th-ranked Tennessee Lady Vol softball team completed a doubleheader sweep of Marshall, 5-1, on Wednesday afternoon. With the victory, the Big Orange won its 50th game of the season to improve to 50-11 on the season. Tennessee becomes the second team in the country to win 50 as East Carolina (51-15) claimed its 50th with a 4-1 home win over Louisville on April 17. UT has now won 50 games for the third time following the achievements of the inaugural 1996 squad (54-14) and last year's team (55-16). The Mid-American Conference-leading Thundering Herd fell to 30-17 with the setback.
Freshman pitcher Megan Rhodes struck out 10 for her third double-digit strikeout performance of her young career, while allowing only one run on four hits. She struck out the side in the second and third innings. Offensively, junior centerfielder Sarah Fekete (2-for-2 with one run) and freshman catcher Shannon Doepking (2-for-3 with a RBI) each contributed multiple-hit games.
Following a scoreless first for Marshall, the Lady Vols lit up the scoreboard
three times in their half. Sophomore shortstop Lindsay Schutzler led off with
a single down the left field line and then proceeded to steal second. After
Fekete walked, the two advanced to second and third on an infield out by
junior third baseman Kristi Durant. Freshman first baseman Tonya Callahan
singled to left to plate Schutzler and Fekete and give UT a 2-0 advantage.
Doepking singled in Callahan for the third tally.
In the Lady Vol second, sophomore second baseman Ashley Cline walked and was sacrificed to second by sophomore designated player India Chiles. The two reached second and third on the play after an error was committed by Marshall first baseman Rachel Folden. Schtuzler drove in Cline with a sacrifice fly to left to increase Tennessee's lead to 4-0.
Marshall threatened in the fourth until Schutzler nailed two runners at the plate on consecutive plays to keep the Thundering Herd off the scoreboard. After a double by Amanda Williams, Jessica Williams doubled and raced toward third where Amanda was waiting unaware. The throw to third went wild, but was retrieved by Schutzler who threw Amanda out at the plate. On the next play, Schtuzler nailed Jessica on a ground ball for the second out of the inning and Rhodes induced a fly out to escape the inning unscathed.
The Lady Vols extended their lead to 5-0 in the fourth. With two outs, Schutzler walked, advanced to second on a single to right by Fekete and scored when Durant singled to center.
Marshall scored its first run of the contest in the seventh off a double by Leigh Wintter and a subsequent two-bagger hit by Gina Guzzo.
"It was great to win a couple games off a tough Marshall team," Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said. "They're leading the Mid-American Conference at this point and are a pretty solid club.
"I thought that both Monica Abbott and Megan Rhodes pitched really well and deserved the victories (Abbott claimed the win in UT's 3-0 win in game one). Sarah Fekete and Stacey Jennings both had really good days at the plate and were key to our victories.
The Lady Vols return to Southeastern Conference play with a three-game series at Ole Miss. A Saturday doubleheader begins at 3 p.m. CDT and a single contest starts at 1 p.m. CDT on Sunday.