Lady Vols get split with Ole Miss

OXFORD, Miss. – Having spotted Ole Miss a 5-0 lead through six frames, a furious seventh-inning rally by No. 1 Tennessee (25-2, 3-2 SEC) came up just a little short as the Lady Vols dropped a tough 5-4 decision to the Rebels (10-16, 2-3 SEC) on Wednesday night at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.

Senior shortstop Lindsay Schutzler delivered a perfect 2-for-2 performance with two triples and three RBI to lead the offense. Freshman designated player Tiffany Huff (1-of-4) also knocked in a run with a single up the middle in the seventh frame.

Senior pitcher Monica Abbott (19-1) picked up her first loss of the season by allowing seven hits and five earned runs with seven K's in six innings of work. She did surpass the 2,000-strikeout mark for her career, however, with a punchout in the fourth.

Abbott become the second pitcher in NCAA Division I history to cross the 2,000-strikeout plateau (Cat Osterman, Texas , 2,265). It took the Salinas, Calif., native 1,212.1 frames to reach the staggering milestone.

A parade of pinch hitters opened the seventh for Tennessee as UT's Allison Fulmer got on base in the seventh due to an error on second baseman Conchos. Freshman Anita Manuma ripped a shot off Mary Jane Callahan in the circle for a base hit to place a pair on base for another pinch hitter freshman Alexia Clay.

The Rochester, Ind., native popped up on the infield for the second out, and sophomore Liane Horiuchi walked to bring Schutzler to the dish with the bases juiced.

The Monterey, Calif., product blasted her second triple of the contest into the left centerfield gap and to the wall to plate three to cut the deficit to 5-3. The full-fledged rally continued as Huff blasted a single up the middle to score Schutzler and bring UT within a run at 5-4.

Pitcher Megan Rhodes was brought into the contest to run for Huff at first serving as the tying run. That brought Tonya Callahan and her 28 career home runs to the dish. She hammered a tailing liner to right center, but Ghinaudo tracked it down while sliding on her knees to end the assault and grant Ole Miss a 5-4 triumph.

In the first game Tennessee prevailed 1-0. Junior catcher Shannon Doepking registered the hit of the contest for UT by ripping an RBI single down the rightfield line with two down in the top of the seventh to plate freshman Erinn Webb with the game's lone run. Monica Abbott struck out 17 in a seven-inning, one-hitter.

With one down in the bottom of the sixth Doepking made a solid "web gem" style play by tracking down a foul ball off the bat of Lisa Conchos up against the screen near the Tennessee dugout.

With two down in the seventh inning Doepking stepped to the plate, and the Acton, Calif., native came through with an RBI single down the right fieldline to grant the Big Orange a 1-0 advantage.

Tennessee will next take to the diamond at Tyson Park in Knoxville in a three-game league set against the Mississippi State Bulldogs on March 17-18. Saturday's doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET.

Live stats will be available through utladyvols.com, and periodic updates will be provided to the Lady Vol Hotline at 865-974-8700 (box #6).

All three games in the series will be broadcast live on The Sports Animal (99.1, 99.3 FM, 990 AM) with the "Voice of the Lady Vols" Mickey Dearstone on the call.


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