Texas A&M pitcher Amanda Scarborough threw six brilliant innings in No. 4 Texas A&M's first game of the Women's College World Series, tying a career-high of 12 strikeouts. But it wasn't enough to overcome No. 5 Tennessee's Monica Abbott.
The Lady Vols plated two runs in the top of the 7th and held on in the bottom half of the inning for a 2-0 win over the Aggies.
"Obviously it is disappointing to come out and lose our first game," A&M head coach Jo Evans said. "I thought Abbott did a really nice job. I thought our kids did a really nice job in the first two innings staying off that up pitch. That was our game plan, to make sure we didn't chase the pitch up.
Abbott started the game by allowing three walks to the first four hitters to load the bases, providing the Aggies with a key opportunity to get things going offensively. A&M failed to score a run in that inning, which proved to be the difference in the game. Abbott regrouped and shut down the Aggies for the final six innings of the game and recorded her 23rd career no-hitter. It was also the second no-hitter of the opening round of the WCWS.
"We had an opportunity early to get a timely hit, which changes the whole game," Evans said, "and she shot it down like the great pitcher she is."
The Aggies will return to action on Saturday at 1 p.m. in an elimination game against Big 12 Conference rival Baylor. The game will be televised on ESPN/ESPNHD and will air locally in Bryan-College Station on AM 1150.
With 16 strikeouts against Texas A&M, Tennessee's Monica Abbott broke the NCAA record for strikeouts in a season with 665. The previous record of 663 was set by Southern Mississippi's Courtney Blades in 2000. In addition to the single-season strikeouts record, Abbott also holds NCAA career marks for wins (186), strikeouts (2,381) and shutouts (109).
Abbott recorded her 23rd career no-hitter with her shutout of the Aggies. The senior also no-hit Hawaii in the opening game of the Knoxville Super Regional on May 25.
Thursday marked just the third time in Women's College World Series history that two no-hitters were thrown on the same day. Washington's Danielle Lawrie threw a no-no in today's opening game 3-1 victory against DePaul. The last time it happened was 1995 when Louisiana-Lafayette's Cheryl Longaway no-hit Michigan before the Ragin' Cajuns themselves were blanked later in the day by UCLA's Tanya Harding. It also happened in 1982.
Abbott surrendered three walks in the first inning. Prior to Thursday she had given up three or more free passes only three times this season. She issued four total for the game, tying her season high set against LSU on April 29.
With her 16 K's today, Abbott notched her 122nd career game with double-digit strikeouts.
Abbott and Texas A&M's Amanda Scarborough combined to strike out 28 batters, setting a WCWS record for combined K's in a seven-inning game. The old mark of 27 was set by Michigan and Texas in 2005 and Texas and Arizona State in 2006.
Tennessee's five stolen bases broke the WCWS record for steals in a game by one team. Four teams had recorded four steals, most recently Arizona against Texas in 2006.
UT improved to 50-1 on the season when scoring first. The Lady Vols scored two runs in the top of the seventh.
A&M's Amanda Scarborough tied her career high with 12 strikeouts. She also struck out a dozen against Arkansas on Feb. 16 and Iowa State on March 24.
Thursday marked just the second meeting between Tennessee and Texas A&M. The Lady Vols won the teams' only previous meeting in 1997.
The Lady Vols upped their College World Series record to 7-4, while Texas A&M dropped to 18-9 all-time.
Tennessee is making its third straight trip to the WCWS, tying Arizona for the longest current streak in the nation.
Texas A&M is making its first College World Series appearance since 1988. The Aggies have made six trips to the WCWS, winning national titles in 1983 and 1987.
Aggies fall in WCWS Opener, 2-0
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