Softball team splits with LSU

BATON ROUGE, La. – With a record crowd of 2,326 jammed into every possible nook and cranny at Tiger Park on Saturday evening, the No. 6 LSU Tigers (47-8, 20-4 SEC) ended No. 1 Tennessee's (51-3, 21-3 SEC) 26-game winning streak and 18-contest SEC winning skein with a 5-1 victory. UT registered a 2-1 triumph in the opening game of the doubleheader.

Despite suffering their first defeat since a loss at Ole Miss on March 14, the Lady Vols remain one game ahead of both LSU and Alabama (20-4 SEC) in the tightly-contested race for the regular-season championship.

Freshman catcher Tiffany Huff knocked in the lone run for Tennessee on an RBI single in the first inning as part of a 1-for-3 effort. Junior pitcher Megan Rhodes took the loss for UT to drop to 12-2 on the season by allowing nine hits and five earned runs while striking out two in six innings in the circle.

"The opener was a classic fastpitch softball game that was played in front of a record crowd in a tournament-style atmosphere," Lady Vol co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. "Both teams played extremely well, and the game was won on Lindsay Schutzler's clutch hit and Monica Abbott's solid pitching. India Chiles continued her hot hitting in setting the table for our team.

"In the second game, LSU got two big hits in clutch situations from their superstar Leslie Klein. They outplayed us in that game, and the credit goes to LSU and pitcher Emily Turner."

In the first game, a crucial two-out, fifth-inning single by senior centerfielder Lindsay Schutzler helped guide to its school-record 26th

Senior pitcher Monica Abbott struck out 13 Tiger hitters to advance within just six Ks (2,260) of breaking the NCAA Division I strikeout record currently held by former Texas hurler Cat Osterman (2,265). The Salinas, Calif., product improved her record to a nation-best 39-1 overall and 18-1 in the SEC by permitting four hits and one earned run over seven innings of work.

Schutzler led the way offensively for the Big Orange with a 1-for-2, two-RBI effort. Fellow senior leftfielder India Chiles delivered a 2-for-4 performance with a run scored to improve her overall batting average to .477 while her SEC-only mark now stands at an eye-popping .561.

No. 1 Tennessee will conclude its three-game series against LSU on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET. Live stats will be available through, and periodic updates will be provided to the Lady Vol Hotline at 865-974-8700 (box #6).

Sunday's series finale will be broadcast live on ESPN2 with Beth Mowins and U.S. National Team member Jessica Mendoza on the call.

LADY VOL ROWING: DERBY, Conn. – A two-length victory over host Yale in the Varsity 4+ event highlighted Tennessee's day in the tri-meet against the Bulldogs and Brown on the Housatonic River on Saturday afternoon.

The Fours crew of freshman coxswain Roshauna Singh (Vienna, Va.), junior Marisa Mohan (San Diego, Calif.), senior Heather Hill (Knoxville), freshman Erin Gray (Wuerzberg, Germany) and senior Kristen Galloway (Knoxville) bounced back from a two-loss weekend to down the Bulldogs by two lengths. Tennessee challenged Brown toward the end, but they were unable to overtake the Bears, crossing the finish line 2.5 seconds behind last year's NCAA Championships Fours winner.

"Roshy's four raced very well," said UT head coach Lisa Glenn, "and they are showing improvement. We have more to do in that boat, and the next few weeks will be important for them."

Tennessee's Second Varsity 8+ started out slow in the first 200 meters of the race, which put them back a bit going into the turn. After that, the group of freshman coxswain Katie Ross (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.), freshman Mary Beth Dreusike (Huntington Station, N.Y.), sophomores Caroline Howell (Davenport, Iowa), Alex Shishkov (Mississauga, Ontario) and Kate Brownlee (North Gower, Ontario), junior Leah Smelser (Macon, Ga.), freshman Kate Snider (Ramona, Calif.) and juniors Kendra Warren (Franklin, Tenn.) and Genevieve Collins (Dallas, Texas) made a late charge before finishing a length behind Yale. Brown took home the victory with a time of 6:27.0, nine seconds in front of the Orange and White.

The race pitting three top 10 teams, according to the USRowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) poll, saw the Lady Vols have a disappointing showing. Fourth-ranked Yale pulled off the upset of No. 2 Brown to claim the Nat and Anne Chase Cup, as the Bulldogs beat the Bears by five seats.

UT's shell, comprised of senior coxswain Stephanie Davis (Martin, Tenn.), juniors Renee Brittle (Dublin , Va.) and Jessica Ayers(Alpharetta, Ga.), senior Rachel Mayberry (Woodbridge, Va. , sophomore Erin-Monique Shelton (Upper Hutt, New Zealand), juniors Nina Dobratz (Portland, Ore.), Krista Gearing (Fenwick, Ontario) and Mary Jones (Huntsville, Ala.) and senior Sarah Hutcheson (Orlando, Fla.), came in three-and-a-half lengths in back of the Bears. Yale has now defeated 12 crews in six races this spring and won six title-race trophies this season.

"The varsity eight put the fight out there," Glenn stated, "but they were not as complete as they are capable of being. Timing and rhythm became factors for us."

Tennessee knew coming in it was in a hard spot, racing as an outsider in a rivalry race.

"Anytime you join in on a rivalry like this one, you are getting into a race that will be very tough," said Glenn.

All in all, Glenn was still finding the positive aspect of such a difficult day on the course.

"This program is about taking on new challenges and putting ourselves into situations that will create growth for our team and for rowing in general," Glenn said. "This weekend was that experience for us this season. Now we weather it and turn our attention toward the regional championships in Oak Ridge."

Tennessee takes next weekend off before hosting the 11th-annual Central and South Region Championships on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

LADY VOL TRACK: PHILADELPHIA - Tennessee women's track & field team, running the third-fastest time in school history, closed out its stay at the 113th Penn Relays Saturday with a runner-up finish in the 4x800m relay at Franklin Field.

The Lady Vols now have finished first or second in that event three of the past four seasons in Philly.

The quartet of freshman Rose-Anne Galligan (County Kildare, Ireland), sophomore Sarah Bowman (Warrenton, Va.), freshman Phoebe Wright (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) and senior Leslie Treherne (Chesapeake, Va.) covered the distance in eight minutes, 27.45 seconds to finish second behind Michigan.

The senior-laden Wolverines, who were challenged by only the Big Orange during the 3200m race Saturday, triumphed in a time of 8:18.78 that broke a collegiate and meet record of 8:20.22 that had been established by Tennessee in 1984.

Head Coach J.J. Clark's sister, Joetta, had anchored that victorious effort at Penn Relays 23 years ago and was joined at that time by Karol Davidson, Kathi Harris and Cathy Rattray.

The Lady Vols' second-place effort today followed a victorious showing in 2004, a sixth-place finish in 2005 and a runner-up performance last season. Splits for UT's runners included 2:07.4 for Galligan, 2:04.8 for Bowman, 2:07.0 for Wright and 2:08.3 for Treherne.

The women in orange got off to a strong start in the race, with Galligan leading for the first 600 meters before Geena Gall overtook her on her way to a 2:06.5 split. From then on, it would be UM and UT in a two-team race. Bowman and Wright gave the Lady Vols their fastest two legs, with each registering career bests, but Michigan's Nicole Edwards (2:05.7) and Anna Willard (2:04.0) kept the orange team at bay. Katie Erdman closed the deal by running a 2:02.6 anchor leg for the Maize and Blue.

Tennessee will return to action on May 10-13, as the Lady Vols travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala. , for the SEC Outdoor Championships.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories