March 6, 2007
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The Tennessee Lady Vol softball team is again the unanimous choice as the nation's No. 1 squad according to the newest release of the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll on Tuesday. The Orange & White picked up all 20 first-place votes for the second consecutive week after winning the Frost Classic title in Chattanooga, Tenn., with a perfect 5-0 record. Now 20-0 on the season, the Lady Vols are off to the second-best start to a campaign in program history.
The top three remained unchanged as defending national champion Arizona (14-3) continues at No. 2 after sweeping Missouri in a three-game set this past weekend. Alabama is No. 3 after improving to 21-0 with an unbeaten run through its own Easton Spring Fling Tournament in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Texas A&M (19-2) rose a position to fourth after six straight triumphs at the Texas A&M Invitational in College Station, Texas. Undefeated Oklahoma (23-0) rose from seventh to fifth after seven consecutive victories at the OU Residence Inn Invitational in Norman, Okla.
This past weekend was one for winning and history for the No. 1 Lady Vols as UT not only remained unbeaten but had an individual achieve personal history as senior pitcher Monica Abbott broke the NCAA Division I career victory mark formerly held by Southern Miss hurler Courtney Blades by picking up her 152nd career triumph in UT's 4-0 win over Tennessee Tech. Abbott and junior pitcher Megan Rhodes each hurled a perfect game during the weekend as Abbott downed Austin Peay, 2-0, and Rhodes struck out 19 in a dominant perfect effort against Oakland (Mich.). Abbott also picked up her 93rd career shutout victory to move within one blanking of former California hurler Michele Granger for the NCAA Division I career shutout record of 94. The 6-3 lefthander has worked 73.1 consecutive scoreless innings, the eighth-best streak in NCAA history heading into the doubleheader with Appalachian State.
During the aptly named Frost Classic in Chattanooga, Tenn., as the Lady Vols struggled through a 19-degree wind chill on Sunday against Austin Peay, Tennessee hit at a .363 clip over five games with 19 stolen bases, while the pitching staff permitted just one run and five hits total with 82 strikeouts in 34 innings of work and two perfect games. Senior center fielder Lindsay Schutzler hit .526 (10-of-19) with a double, triple, home run and four RBI to lead the way offensively, while fellow senior India Chiles hit .500 and swiped a team-best six bases. Freshman catcher/outfielder Tiffany Huff blasted a three-run bomb to give her a squad-best five for the season in the 9-1 (6 inn.) win over Toledo.
The No. 1 Lady Vols open their home slate this evening at Tyson Park by hosting Appalachian State for a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m. Live stats will be available through Gametracker at utladyvols.com, while periodic updates will be provided on the Lady Vol Hotline at 865-974-8700 (box #6). Live audio will be carried by The Sports Animal (99.1, 99.3 FM, 990 AM) with the "Voice of the Lady Vols" Mickey Dearstone and will be streamed through the Lady Vol website for a nominal fee.
ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll
March 6 - Week of Feb. 26- March 4
Parenthesis Denotes first place votes.
Dropped Out: Hawaii and Florida State
Others receiving votes: Virginia Tech (33), Florida State (32), South Carolina (24), Fullerton (21), Hawaii (13), Cal Poly-SLO (7) and South Florida (1).