March 27, 2007
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Looking to extend its staggering 73-game non-conference regular-season winning streak as well as its current 10-game winning skein, the No. 1 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (35-2) will welcome in Western Kentucky (13-18) on Wednesday for a mid-week doubleheader at Tyson Park beginning at 5 p.m. ET.
The Orange & White maintain a 3-0 all-time mark against the Hilltoppers, and have not faced WKU since a March 28, 2003, meeting in Knoxville when Tennessee emerged victorious by an 8-0 (five inn.) count.
Western Kentucky, under the guidance of 10th year head coach Rachel Lawson, ventures to Knoxville off a tough three-game weekend sweep at the hands of No. 15 Louisiana-Lafayette (2-3, 1-10, 0-2) in Lafayette, La. With 11 of 14 listed roster players either freshmen or sophomores, the Hilltoppers' 13-18 record is a bit deceiving as youthful WKU has faced off against some quality ranked teams during the 2007 campaign having matched-up against top-five Alabama as well as Georgia (three games), South Florida (two games) and N.C. State. Hitting .264 as a team, the Western Kentucky pitching staff is permitting the opposition to hit at a .264 clip on the season, while being outscored 122-103 through 31 contests. Freshman Rachel Boucher is heading the offensive charge at .330 (30-of-91) with five doubles and nine RBI, while rookie Lindsay Antone (.321) and sophomore Rebecca Moresky (.273) have supplied the power as both have totaled five of WKU's 15 home runs. Not much of a threat to steal bases having just 32 overall as a team, freshman Ashley Contreras provides the speed with 13 steals in 14 attempts. Both Hilltopper pitchers have worked over 100 innings with sophomore Jennifer Kempf (2.24 ERA) finding the most success with a 7-10 record and 74 strikeouts in 106.1 IP. Sophomore Ryan Rogge has hurled 103.2 innings while posting a 3.85 ERA, a 6-8 mark and 66 K's. On the defensive side of things, 39 errors have contributed to 28 unearned runs as Western Kentucky possesses a .957 fielding percentage.
After sweeping a three-game Southeastern Conference series from Arkansas over the weekend, Tennessee made a quick turnaround to take both ends of a doubleheader from a spirited Liberty squad on Monday evening at Tyson Park, 5-1 and 4-0. Senior center fielder Lindsay Schutzler achieved the UT career hits record with her initial base knock on Saturday in the series opener versus the Lady'Backs. The Monterey, Calif., native's efforts against Liberty in running the basepaths moved her among an elite club consisting of just a handful of NCAA Division I softball players. She became one of only 10 currently known members of the "3-2-1 Club" or a group of softball athletes who have registered more than 300 hits, 200 runs scored and 100 stolen bases during their playing careers. Schutzler now owns 322 hits, 212 runs and 101 stolen bases in her four years in the Orange & White to guide the Tennessee record books in each category. Senior pitcher Monica Abbott continued her outstanding work in the circle by moving to 28-1 on the year while climbing to within 153 K's of breaking the NCAA Division I career strikeout mark currently held by former Texas hurler Cat Osterman. Senior left fielder India Chiles continues to successfully battle through a left shoulder injury by tallying a six-game hitting streak while raising her batting average to a team-best .451.
Live stats will be available through utladyvols.com (Gametracker) for the doubleheader between the Lady Vols and the Hilltoppers, and periodic updates will be provided to the Lady Vol Hotline at 865-974-8700 (box #6). The second game of the doubleheader will be broadcast live on The Sports Animal (99.1, 99.3 FM, 990 AM, Yahoo Sports through utladyvols.com) beginning at approximately 7 p.m.