Feb. 21, 2007
STARKVILLE, Miss. - An incredible performance in Las Vegas, Nev., at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic has allowed Tennessee Lady Vol senior pitcher Monica Abbott to sweep the major national and conference weekly awards in a single evaluation period for the second time in her illustrious career. The Salinas, Calif., native was chosen on Wednesday by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association as its National Player of the Week after posting a 4-0 record with a 0.00 ERA, three shutouts, two no-hitters and 56 strikeouts in just 22 innings.
She has now amassed 100 strikeouts in just eight appearances this year while holding opponents to a miniscule .024 batting average and striking out the side 25 times in 39 total frames of work. With 146 career wins, the 6-3 lefthander requires just six more victories to break former Southern Miss hurler Courtney Blades' NCAA Division I record of 151 triumphs.
During the 2006 campaign, Abbott also swept the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week, NFCA National Player of the Week and Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Week awards (3-20/3-22) in a single evaluation period to join teammate Lindsay Schutzler as the only Lady Vols ever to complete the sweep.
In the four games in which she appeared at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic, Abbott gave up just two total hits and no earned runs. She tossed her 18th and 19th career no-hitters in victories over Florida International (8-0 in five inn.) and Cal State Northridge (9-0) that included 12 and 19 strikeouts, respectively. Against Illinois the 6-3 lefthander permitted only one base knock while striking out 17 in a complete game effort. She struck out the side 14 times in 22 innings of work in Las Vegas for an average of 17.8 strikeouts per seven innings.
No. 1 Tennessee will return to the diamond for a single match-up against Cal-State Fullerton on Wed., Feb. 21, at 6 p.m. PT before venturing to the prestigious Palm Springs Classic over Feb. 22-24 to conclude its marathon 11-day road trip. Live stats will be available when possible through utladyvols.com and, as always, periodic updates will be provided on the Lady Vol Hotline at 865-974-8700 (box #6).