Softball team gets 20th straight win

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Despite a long Saturday filled with numerous delays and a steady rain that fell throughout the majority of the evening's lone contest, No. 1 Tennessee (45-2, 15-2 SEC) rolled to its 20th straight victory by banging out 13 hits in a 12-0 victory over Kentucky (19-19, 4-13 SEC) at the UK Softball Complex.

Senior pitcher Monica Abbott returned from a mild ankle injury sustained last Tuesday to strike out 17 Wildcat hitters while registering UT's 30th team shutout of the season.

Lady Vol lead-off hitter and senior leftfielder India Chiles registered another perfect 4-for-4 night in SEC play to up her conference batting average, through 16 league games played this season, from a conference-best .561 to a remarkable .600 (27-of-45).

The Louisville, Ky., native has tallied at least three hits in each of her last five conference match-ups while hitting 17-for-20 (.850), and two or more base knocks in her last seven SEC tilts while recording a .808 average on a 21-of-26 performance at the plate.

Abbott improved her record to a nation-best 34-1 this season by striking out 17 through seven innings of one-hit work to up her season K total to 476. The 6'3 lefthander currently stands just 74 strikeouts (2,192) from eclipsing the prestigious NCAA Division I career K record currently held by former Texas hurler Cat Osterman (2,265).

Junior first baseman Tonya Callahan blasted her eighth homer of the season as part of a 1-for-3, three-RBI effort (now has 37 RBI) with a stolen base, while junior catcher Shannon Doepking was 1-of-3 with a solo home run, her third big fly of the year.

Senior centerfielder Lindsay Schutzler knocked in a pair of runs (42nd and 43rd RBIs of 2007) on a single during UT's six-run seventh inning. Freshman designated player Tiffany Huff got the assault started in the first frame with a two-RBI double to improve her team-leading RBI total to 44.

"Both Karen (co-head coach Weekly) and I are proud of the way the team performed tonight despite the inclement weather," Lady Vol co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. "We were disappointed in the fact that we left far too many runners on base against a team that has a potent offense like Kentucky (.308 entering today as a team).

Monica Abbott was brilliant in the rainy conditions, and our defense played exceptionally well behind her. Liane Horiuchi made a superb play in the hole at short in the sixth inning to end a potential Kentucky rally. India Chiles and Lillian Hammond continue to lead our offense."

Tennessee will conclude its three-game series against Kentucky on Sunday with a doubleheader scheduled for 1 and 3 p.m. ET, weather permitting.

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).

CHILES HONORED: India Chiles' performance against Kentucky comes off a week in which she hit .714 and .833 (10-of-12) during a three-game sweep of Georgia in Athens, Ga., and received Lady Vol Athlete of the Week honors, according to a vote of the Lady Vol Media Relations staff.

As the lead-off hitter, Chiles was outstanding at "setting the table" for the Big Orange during its four-game week against Tennessee Tech and at Georgia. The slap hitter put up a remarkable .714 overall, including .833 (10-of-12) during the three-game series versus nemesis Georgia to help UT become the first Southeastern Conference team since 2001 to sweep all three games at UGA.

Her week-long slugging percentage was .857, while her on-base percentage led the squad at .733. In the opener against the Bulldogs, Chiles delivered a perfect 4-for-4 effort with a run scored to mark the first four-hit game by a Lady Vol this season.

She went 3-for-4 with a tally in each of the final two contests with three RBIs total.


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