June 4, 2006
Tennessee will meet Arizona at noon (CDT) on Sunday and must beat the Wildcats twice to advance to the championship series (best of three). UT improved to 51-2 tonight when scoring first.
Arizona State finished its season with an overall record of 53-15 and fell to 5-10 in its five appearances in the WCWS.
Tonight's game marked the second ever between Arizona State and Tennessee. ASU handed the Vols a 7-2 loss on Feb. 12, 1998.
Tonight's game marked the third extra innings contest of the WCWS this year. Tennessee improved to 2-1 in extra-inning contests this year while Arizona State fell to 7-5. It marked the 14th extra-inning game that UT's Abbott has pitched in her career.
UT freshman Jennifer Griffin's game-winning two-run homer over the left field fence marked her 10th home run and first since April 19 against South Carolina. It was only Griffin's second hit of the NCAA Tournament (she doubled last night against Northwestern). In her three WCWS games this year, the rookie is 2-for-6 with two RBI.
UT pitcher Monica Abbott struck out ASU's Michelle Smith in the bottom of the fifth to reach the 1,700 career strikeout mark. She is only the fourth pitcher in NCAA Division I history to reach that mark, joining Cat Osterman (Texas), Alicia Hollowell (Arizona) and Courtney Blades (Southern Miss). She currently owns 1,704 strikeouts in her career.
With 10 strikeouts in tonight's contest, Abbott notched her 24th double-digit strikeout game and third straight in the WCWS.
With 14 fanned batters, ASU hurler Kati Burkhart tallied her 23rd double-digit strikeout game and second straight 10-plus strikeout contest of the day. In ASU's 3-1 win over Oregon State earlier today, Burkhart recorded 13 K's.
ASU's Heidi Knabe sent her fifth home run of the season sailing over the left field fence in the bottom of the fifth. It was the junior's second home run of the day after pounding another solo blast to left field in the Sun Devils' 3-1 win over Oregon State this morning. Knabe hit two homers in one day earlier this season with a pair of blasts against Iowa on Feb. 19.
Abbott gave up her 19th home run of the season and the seventh in the 2006 NCAA Tournament. She has surrendered 17 runs in the NCAA postseason, with nine of those coming off of home runs.
An error by ASU hurler Katie Burkhart scored UT pinch runner Lillian Hammond to give the Vols the early 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth. It was only Burkhart's fourth error this season.