May 14, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The No. 15 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (38-16-1) prepares to host NCAA Regional action for the fifth consecutive season by welcoming James Madison (35-14), Jacksonville State (38-12) and Nebraska (34-17) to the Lee Softball Stadium over May 15-17.
UT opens its participation versus James Madison at 6 p.m. ET on Friday immediately following an opening match-up between Jacksonville State and Nebraska (3:30 p.m. ET). Tennessee's contests will be radio broadcast on The Sports Animal (99.1, 99.3 FM, 990 AM), while live stats and video streaming of every Knoxville Regional match-up will be available through utladyvols.com.
The Big Orange is making its sixth straight and seventh overall appearance in the NCAA Field of 64, possessing a 30-14 overall record in tournament action. Tennessee had its 10-game NCAA Regional winning streak that stretched from 2005 through the first match-up of the 2008 event snapped last season by eventual Women's College World Series participant Virginia Tech. UT posted a 3-2 record in the 2008 NCAA Regionals at the Lee Softball Stadium, forcing an "if necessary" game against the Hokies for a Super Regional berth that eventually went in Va. Tech's favor, 4-2.
Last weekend at its home confines, Tennessee advanced to the semifinals of the annual Southeastern Conference Tournament before being eliminated. The Lady Vols held off a tough challenge from No. 20 LSU (6-5) in the opening round before falling to No. 1 Florida, 3-11 (5 inn.). Junior Erinn Webb and sophomore Jen Lapicki each received selections to the SEC All-Tournament Team for their efforts during UT's two-game stay. Webb hit .429 (3-for-7) overall with a pair of doubles and two RBIs. The Hemet, Calif., native delivered a two-run double in the first inning versus the Gators as the Big Orange stormed out to a quick 3-0 lead. Lapicki (.286) knocked in three runs overall, two of them in the triumph over the Bayou Bengals.
James Madison is a familiar opponent for the Lady Vols as the Orange & White downed the Dukes, 3-1, back on February 27th during the annual Tennessee Classic. In that late evening match-up (started at 8:20 p.m. ET) freshman Cat Hosfield fired a complete-game three-hitter, allowing one run and striking out eight. Sophomore center fielder Kelly Grieve posted two hits in the contest, and junior catcher/first baseman Tiffany Huff knocked in all three Lady Vol runs. The match-up was tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth before Huff's clutch two-RBI single.
The Dukes are making their first-ever appearance at NCAA's after qualifying for a berth by winning the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Tournament. Coached by Katie Flynn, James Madison enters this weekend hitting .286 overall while plating 4.1 runs per contest. Leading the way offensively is senior Amber Kirk, who possesses a .340 average with nine doubles, two triples, two HR's and 18 RBIs. Juniors Shannon Moxey (.333, 12 doubles, 16 RBIs) and Courtney Simons (.329, 10 doubles, 16 RBIs) complete a trio currently above the .300 mark in average. Senior catcher Julia Dominguez (.289) has provided the most pop for the Dukes' line-up by blasting a team-high five home runs and knocking in a squad-best 28 runs. In all, nine different James Madison batters have recorded 10 or more RBIs this season.
JMU is bolstered by outstanding pitching from its three-member staff, currently rating 14th in NCAA Division I in team ERA at 1.66. Leading the way is senior right hander Meredith Felts, who possesses an 18-4 record, a 1.42 ERA, 18 complete games and 178 K's in 172.0 innings. Fellow senior Jenny Clohan has provided 140.2 frames of solid support while registering a 17-8 mark with a 1.64 ERA and 76 strikeouts. Sophomore Heather Widner has worked only 20.1 innings, going 0-2 with a 4.48 ERA. In UT's 3-1 victory on Feb. 27th, Felts permitted the Big Orange just two earned runs on nine hits in a complete game effort.
2009 Knoxville Regional Schedule
Friday, May 15 3:30 p.m. ET Nebraska vs. Jacksonville State (Game One) 6 p.m. ET James Madison vs. Tennessee (Game Two)
Saturday, May 16 1:30 p.m. ET Winner Game One/Winner Game Two (Game Three) 4 p.m. ET Loser Game One/Loser Game Two (Game Four) 6:30 p.m. ET Loser Game Three/Winner Game Four (Game Five)
Sunday, May 17
2 p.m. ET Winner Game Three/Winner Game Five (Game Six)
4:30 p.m. ET (if necessary) Rematch of Game Six