Abbott Nabs National honor

University of Tennessee pitcher Monica Abbott has been named the Louisville Slugger/NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) Division I National Player of the Week, the association announced on Wednesday. The honor is the first earned by the Salinas, Calif., native after she dominated Marshall and Ole Miss last week.

''I don't really know what to say,'' Abbott said. ''Wow, this is a really great honor. I'm honored to be selected by the NFCA and I couldn't have done it without the great support of my team on and off the field.''

Abbott went 3-0 in helping the Lady Vols to a 5-0 record and a return to the top 10 in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 poll after a week hiatus. She posted these amazing numbers in five games: 0.00 ERA, 3-0 record, three shutouts, one save, six hits allowed, no walks and 41 strikeouts.

''Monica is a super athlete who works extremely hard to get herself better and better every outing,'' Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said. ''She wants the ball every game and is always ready to play. She is a joy to coach and is most deserving of this award.''

Abbott began the week with a 3-0 win over Marshall, throwing a two-hit shutout and striking out 15, tying for the eighth-highest performance of her career. She would follow that up by getting the last out of UT's 5-1 win the nightcap.

The 6-3 hurler then tossed her fifth no-hitter of the season and ninth of her career in the Big Orange's 4-0 victory over Ole Miss in the series opener on Saturday. She struck out 15 in that contest as well.

After earning the save in Tennessee's dramatic 3-1 win in the second contest of Saturday's doubleheader (UT rallied with nobody on and two outs for three runs in the top of the seventh), Abbott threw her third shutout of the week in Tennessee's 9-0 (5 innings) win to complete the three-game sweep for the Lady Vols over the Rebels.

For the season, Abbott has a 0.61 ERA, 36-7 record and 470 strikeouts.

Abbott and the Lady Vols return to SEC play with a weekend series at LSU. The squads play a doubleheader on Saturday and a single contest on Sunday. Both days' play begins at 1 p.m. CDT, while the finale will be broadcast live on SEC-TV (Fox Sports Net South in the Knoxville area).


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