Pitching Powers No. 1 Tennessee to Victory over Memphis
April 10, 2007
For Immediate Release
Memphis (23-16, 3-8 C-USA) 010 000 0 - 1 2 1 No. 1/1 Tennessee (44-2, 14-2 SEC) 004 000 x - 4 9 1 Win - Abbott (33-1) Loss - Johnson (9-9) Save - Rhodes (1). HR - (MEM) Ross (3). (TENN) Huff (6) 2B - (TENN) Griffin (5)
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Despite taking an early lead over No. 1 Tennessee, the Lady Vols pitching stifled the bats of the University of Memphis softball team in a 4-1 loss on Tuesday at Tyson Park.
After beginning the game with four-straight strikeouts by Tennessee lefty Monica Abbott, Kara Ross connected for a solo home run over the centerfield fence in the second inning. Ross' third home run of the season gave Memphis an early 1-0 lead.
The Tennessee pitching duo of Abbott (33-1) and Megan Rhodes combined to hold the Lady Tigers to two hits, while combining for 19 strikeouts. Only four Memphis batters put the ball in play as Tennessee earned a strike out on 19 of the 21 outs. Abbott picked up her 33rd victory and Rhodes earned her first save.
Senior Nicki Johnson began the game for Memphis (23-16, 3-8 C-USA) in the circle, taking the loss after giving up three runs in the third. Johnson (9-9) suffered the loss after pitching two and a third innings and allowing six hits. Senior Jenna Kubesch pitched the remaining three and two-thirds innings, allowing three hits and one run with three strikeouts.
A strong defensive play by Memphis third baseman Bridgette McNulty helped the Lady Tigers get out of a one-out jam with runners on second and third in the second inning. Pinch hitter Alexia Clay lined a shot down the leftfield line that McNulty snagged and tagged the runner at third to complete an inning ending double play.
The Lady Tigers threatened to add to its lead in the top of the third as sophomore second baseman Tori Gross singled and reached second on a throwing error. Gross then moved up to third on a passed ball with one out, but Memphis was unable to advance in the run.
The Memphis lead held until the bottom of the third inning when the Lady Vols put up a four spot to take a 4-1 lead. Tennessee scored the runs on four hits capped by a two-run shot to center by first baseman Tiffany Huff.
The Lady Tigers return home to host a midweek doubleheader with Alcorn State on Thursday beginning at 3 p.m. at the UM Softball Complex. Both games can be followed live through GameTracker and live audio. Links to the live broadcasts can be found at GoTigersGo.com.
Brittany Gooch made a defensive gem in right field to end the first inning. Gooch made a running catch on a line drive tailing away from her down the line.
Kara Ross hit her third home run of the season in the second inning over the centerfield fence to give Memphis a 1-0 lead. The solo shot came after Tennessee ace struck out the first four Memphis batters in a row. It is only the eighth home run Abbott has allowed in 208 innings.
Ross' home run scored her 11th run and team-leading 28th RBI.
Ross earned respect from the Tennessee staff after homering in her first at-bat drawing an intentional walk in the fourth inning.
The game marks only the second time in 19 opportunities that Memphis has lost after scoring the first run of the game.
The 19 strikeouts by the Tennessee pitching staff is the most ever against Memphis in a game. The previous most was 16 by Houston earlier this year.