April 30, 2005
OXFORD, Miss. - Down to its last out to Ole Miss, the 11th-ranked University of Tennessee softball team mounted a dramatic three-run rally to defeat the Rebels, 3-1. After the first two Lady Vols were retired in the seventh, four consecutive singles paired with an error on one of the hits helped UT plate three runs to move to 52-11 on the season, 16-8 in Southeastern Conference play. The loss dropped Ole Miss' record to 27-27, 7-19 in league action.
"Karen and I were really proud of our team today and the way they came back with two outs in the bottom of the seventh," Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said. "Lindsay Schutzler's hit capped a furious rally keyed by two-out hits from Sarah Fekete and Natalie Brock. Kristi Durant's clutch RBI gave us an extra run and a more comfortable lead.
"Megan Rhodes pitched tremendous, allowing only two runs in six complete innings and yielded to Monica in the seventh for the victory.
"Ole Miss played a really good game and I'm sure it was a tough loss for them."
After the first two Lady Vols were retired in the final frame, junior centerfielder Sarah Fekete beat out an infield hit to the pitcher and freshman pinch hitter Natalie Brock drove the ball to right for a single, moving Fekete to second and setting the stage for a dramatic hit to center by sophomore shortstop Lindsay Schutzler. On the play, the Rebel centerfielder Brooke Turner bobbled the ball and then overthrow third base attempting to get Brock, allowing her to score the go-ahead run and give UT a 2-1 advantage. With Schutzler now on third, junior third baseman Kristi Durant lined a one-bagger to left to plate Schutzler and the Big Orange carried a 3-1 advantage into the bottom of the seventh.
Ole Miss would not go quietly as leadoff hitter Lauren Rowe led off the inning by lining an offering from Monica Abbott to the right center fence for a double, but Abbott struck out the next three Ole Miss hitters to earn her third save of the season. Freshman pitcher Megan Rhodes had a spectacular game, tossing six innings of two-hit ball and allowing only an unearned run.
The Lady Vols had their first threat of the contest in the second as Durant led off with a single to center and freshman catcher Shannon Doepking reached on an infield hit to shortstop, but both were stranded. In the third, second baseman Ashley Cline and Fekete each reached first by beating out bunt singles to lead off the frame and, with two outs, Durant walked, but the three were not able to be brought home.
Ole Miss struck for the first run of the contest in its half of the third. With one out, DeDe Justice found herself at third after an error by Lady Vol leftfielder Kenora Posey. She would score on a RBI groundout.
With one out in the UT sixth, Durant hit a hard grounder that went off Rowe and into right center field. Freshman first baseman Tonya Callahan blooped a single into right center, but neither runner was able to find her way across the plate.
That set the stage for the seventh-inning heroics of a quadrant of Lady Vols.
In the game, Durant contributed three hits, going a perfect 3-for-3 in the contest, while Fekete also performed well, hitting 2-for-4 and scoring the tying run.
The Rebels and Lady Vols complete their three-game series with a single contest on Sunday. First pitch for that game will be at 1 p.m. CDT.