May 20, 2005

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Knoxville Regional

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The 11th-seeded University of Tennessee softball team (60-13) earned a win its first NCAA Tournament home game in school history on Friday night, defeating Miami University (34-25) by a 9-0 score in five innings. The Lady Vols dominated the contest from the outset, scoring three runs in the first, four in the second and two more in the fourth.

With the win, the Big Orange moves on to a winner's bracket contest versus College of Charleston (52-16) at 1 p.m. on Saturday. That contest had originally been scheduled for a noon start time.

The Lady Vols have won more games than any other NCAA Division I team this season and tonight became only the 21st squad in history to reach the 60-win mark. The shutout was the 44th earned by Tennessee this year, tying for the second-highest total in history. The 1986 Cal State Fullerton Titans had 44, while the record holder is the 1990 UCLA squad with 47 whitewashings.

The contest was also the first in NCAA Tournament play for the visiting Miami University RedHawks.

Overall, Tennessee has now claimed wins in 11-of-13 contests, including shutouts in eight of those. In tonight's action, sophomore pitcher Monica Abbott continued her amazing stretch of play, tossing five shutout innings, allowing just two hits, not walking a batter and striking out eight. She retired the first nine RedHawks she faced. In her last 67.1 innings, she has only allowed one run (0.10 ERA in that span) and 24 hits (2.50 ratio), while earning eight shutouts.

On the offensive side of things, Tennessee saw contributions come from a number of sources. Junior third baseman Kristi Durant went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBI, freshman first baseman Tonya Callahan hit a powerful line-drive blast over the center field fence and went 1-for-3 with two RBI and one run scored and freshman catcher Shannon Doepking went 2-for-2 with a home run, three RBI and one run scored.

In the bottom of the first, junior centerfielder Sarah Fekete reached on a bunt single with one out and advanced to third on a throwing error on the play by RedHawk third baseman Leslie Macedo. Durant proceeded to single to left center and plate Fekete. With two outs, Doepking blasted the ball over the center field fence to give UT took a 3-0 advantage.

In the second, sophomore designated player India Chiles reached when Jessica Moore, the Miami second baseman, earned an error on a dropped throw at the first-base bag. After she stole second, freshman second baseman Kenora Posey layed down a bunt, which was bobbled by Miami pitcher Jackie Poggendorf, allowing her to reach first and Chiles to advance to third. When Poggendorf threw the ball away on the same play, Chiles scored and the Lady Vols had a 4-0 advantage.

The next batter, sophomore shortstop Lindsay Schutzler singled to right, moving Posey to second. With the hit, she has 96 on the season, just two shy of the school record of 98 held by Lisa Warren (1999). Fekete moved the runners up a base with a bunt and Durant followed with an RBI single to center. Posey scored on the play and when centerfielder Casey Ruberg threw the ball errantly, Schutzler scored as well and Tennessee had a 6-0 lead. Doepking completed the scoring in the frame with a double to right center as freshman pinch runner LaDonna Oliver crossed the plate.

In the fourth, Tennessee scored its final two runs of the game. With one out, Durant recorded the third triple of her career and scored when Callahan lined a shot over center which took very little time to clear the fence.

The Lady Vols take on College of Charleston at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The winner of that game automatically moves on to the championship game to be contested at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The loser will play the victor of Saturday's 3:30 p.m. loser's bracket game between Miami University and Virginia Tech (43-24). That contest will take place at 6 p.m. and the survivor moves on to the championship round needing to win twice to move on to the Super Regional round next weekend.





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