Tonya Callahan gets national nod

For the first time in her career, Tennessee junior first baseman Tonya Callahan has been chosen as the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week after her impressive doubleheader performance versus then-No. 1 Alabama. The Holden, Mo., native hit a robust .833 (5-of-6) with her team-high 10th home run of the season and six RBI.

"It's a great honor to be named the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week for the first time," Callahan said. "I've been working really hard with our coaches (Ralph and Karen Weekly) on keeping my weight back, and this is proof to me that all the hard work is paying off. I'm so happy to be at Tennessee and to have the tremendous support of my teammates. Receiving this award wouldn't be possible without their help."

In the opener against the Crimson Tide, Callahan went 3-for-4 at the dish with a season-high five RBI as No. 2 UT routed No. 1 Bama, 9-2. She registered an RBI single in the second, a two-RBI double in the fourth and a two-RBI base knock in the fifth. Callahan delivered a perfect 2-for-2 effort in the 4-0 finale with an intentional walk. She reached base eight consecutive times over the two matchups by either hit, intentional free pass or being struck by a pitch. She now has recorded 17 multi-hit games and 12 multi-RBI contests in 2007.

Callahan enters this weekend's Southeastern Conference Tournament action with a .399 batting average (third on the team), 12 doubles, 10 home runs and a team co-best 49 RBI. She has already become the all-time Lady Vol career leader in big flies during the '07 season, now boasting 34 career round-trippers.

"This is very exciting for both Tonya and our program," Lady Vol co-head coach Karen Weekly said. "She is truly most deserving after the great performance she had for our team this past weekend. It is especially gratifying when someone with Tonya's work ethic receives an award like this."

Callahan joins senior pitcher Monica Abbott as Big Orange recipients of the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week award this season. UT's 6'3 lefthander earned the honor back on Feb. 20 after throwing two no-hitters during Tennessee's run to the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic title in Las Vegas.

Callahan also got her first-ever selection Tuesday as the SEC Player of the Week.

The weekly league honor is the seventh overall this year for the Lady Vols as seniors India Chiles and Lindsay Schutzler have each received one nod as the SEC Player of the Week in 2007. Abbott also has been selected as the SEC Pitcher of the Week four times during the campaign.

The top-seeded Lady Vol softball team will open defense of its 2006 SEC Tournament title against No. 8 seed Ole Miss in Auburn, Ala., on Thursday, May 10, at 8:30 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).

NO. 1 AGAIN: After a one-week respite, the Lady Vol softball team (53-4, 23-4 SEC) has returned to its lofty position as the nation's unanimous No. 1 team, according to the latest release of the ESPN.com/USA Softball rankings on Tuesday afternoon.

The Big Orange swept previously top-ranked Alabama (50-6) in a high-profile doubleheader last Sunday at Tyson Park, 9-2 and 4-0, to pick up the school's first Southeastern Conference regular-season softball title and return to the No. 1 slot.

With its 12th top ranking of the campaign, the Lady Vols have held down No. 1 for more weeks in a single campaign than any team in the history of the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. Michigan's 2005 national championship squad spent 10 weeks in the No. 1 position.

Despite seeing no action during the past week, the Oklahoma Sooners (49-6) advanced up a spot to No. 2, while last week's No. 1 team Alabama plummeted into a tie for third alongside defending national champion Arizona (38-10-1). Baylor (45-12) bested then-No. 23 Texas (5-2) and then-No. 6 Texas A&M (5-4, 10 inn.) to advance into the top five for the first time during the 2007 campaign.

A tough weekend that brought a pair of losses in Athens, Ga., to the Georgia Bulldogs helped LSU (49-10) drop from No. 4 to No. 6 in this week's listing. Northwestern (43-10), Texas A&M (39-9), Arizona State (47-14) and Michigan (42-10) round out the new top 10.


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