Returning senior pitcher Megan Rhodes picked up three victories from the circle while striking out 13 and 12, respectively, in triumphs over Division I-A opponent, Western Kentucky (6-1), and Chipola College (8-0, 6 inn.), the defending National Junior College (NJCAA) Champions. The Nashville, Tenn., native also entered against Walters State in relief to combine with junior Danielle Pieroni on a 2-0, one-hit shutout and 14 strikeouts. Pieroni bested Milligan, 12-1 (5 inn.), by allowing one run and just two hits to go along with seven K’s. Freshman Ashton Ward debuted as a member of the Orange & White with victories over Vol State (12-0, 5 inn.) and Methodist (16-1, 5 inn.). In the contest against Vol State, Ward hurled a one-hit shutout with six K’s, while permitting just one run on a single hit with nine punch-outs versus Methodist.
The offense was led by 2007 first-team All-Southeastern Conference senior catcher Shannon Doepking who delivered at a .462 clip (6-of-13) with two home runs and seven RBI. Junior outfielder and ’07 first-team ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American Lillian Hammond hit .600 (9-of-15) to join with freshmen Chandra Mogan (7-10, .700, 5 RBI) and Kelly Grieve (6-14, .429) in serving as disruptive factors from the top of the line-up. Senior first baseman and two-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-American Tonya Callahan delivered a 2-for-3 effort in victories over both Western Kentucky and Walters State, while sophomore utility player Anita Manuma led the way versus Chipola with a 2-for-3, two-run HR effort and over Methodist with a 2-2, two-RBI slate. Hammond was 3-for-3 against both Vol State and Methodist, while Mogan delivered a 3-for-4 docket with five RBI in the 17-1 run-rule rout of the latter. Doepking homered in the match-up versus Milligan and hit a big bomb in the close triumph over Walters State. Lapicki was 4-for-6 at the dish in her first two games in a UT uniform (Milligan and Vol State).
“This tournament gave both Karen (co-head coach Weekly) and I the valuable opportunity to really evaluate our team outside the constraints of the practice field,” Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said. “I was really pleased with the pitching of Megan Rhodes during the weekend. She threw even better than she has in the past. Freshman Ashton Ward and junior Danielle Pieroni also provided us with some great innings of work from the circle.
“All of our freshmen played exceptionally well with Chandra Mogan, Kelly Grieve and Jennifer Lapicki on base for our squad all weekend. Grieve, Mogan and Kelsey Stander (injured) as well as returnees Lillian Hammond and Kenora Posey will provide us with a lot of options from the left side of the plate with their offensive abilities and overall speed. Tonya Callahan and Shannon Doepking performed really well this weekend in the RBI slots in our line-up. Lapicki, Doepking, Callahan, Erinn Webb, Nicole Kajitani and the soon to return from off-season surgery, Tiffany Huff, will give us the potential for solid power throughout the line-up.”
Tennessee will officially christen its 2008 regular-season on Feb. 8 at 5:30 p.m. PT in Cathedral City, Calif., when the Big Orange battles Utah State in the Cathedral City Kickoff at Big League Dreams Sports Park.
|Tennessee at the Lady Vol Fall Classic|
|Tennessee vs. Milligan||UT, 12-1 (5 inn.)|
|Tennessee vs. Vol State||UT, 12-0 (5 inn.)|
|Tennessee vs. Western Kentucky||UT, 6-1|
|Tennessee vs. Chipola||UT, 8-0 (6 inn.)|
|Tennessee vs. Methodist||UT, 17-1 (5 inn.)|
|Tennessee vs. Walters State||UT, 2-0|