Abbott's two-hitter extends Tennessee's tourney run
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Katherine Card homered and Monica Abbott threw a two-hitter as Tennessee beat Arizona 1-0 Sunday to remain in the Women's College World Series.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh and the tying run on third base -- which was put there by junior Lindsay Schutzler's misplay of a pop fly -- the Tennessee shortstop came up with a game-saving play by charging Caitlin Lowe's grounder and rifling a throw to first that edged the fleet-footed Lowe by a fraction of a second.
It was the kind of play you would expect from a player who has developed a reputation for defensive wizardry.
"The play Lindsay made there at the end was brilliant," Tennessee co-coach Karen Weekly said. "She's the best shortstop in the country, and that's the person I want out there and I want the ball going to with the game on the line."
Schutzler might have been watching helplessly from the outfield if not for a quirk of fate during her freshman season.
Originally recruited as an outfielder, Schutzler moved to shortstop only after an injury to the incumbent shortstop left the team in need of a strong-armed and agile replacement. Starting the inning with two consecutive errors, Schutzler looked out of place in the spotlight.
But on the final play, she just looked like herself.
-- Graham Hays
Leading off the fifth inning, Card hit the first pitch from Alicia Hollowell (29-5) to center field. The ball was over the wall when it hit the glove of Arizona center fielder Caitlin Lowe, who fell over the fence in an effort to make the catch.
Abbott (44-9), the NCAA's wins leader this season, struck out seven and walked one to keep the Lady Vols from being eliminated. The teams were to play again Sunday night, with the winner advancing to the best-of-three championship series that starts Monday.
The Wildcats threatened in the seventh, putting runners on first and third as Tennessee shortstop Lindsay Schutzler made two errors in the inning. Schutzler then fielded Lowe's grounder and threw to first for the final out.
Tennessee upset defending champion Michigan in super regional play and had wins against top-seeded UCLA and second-seeded Arizona at the Women's College World Series.
Hollowell struck out six in a three-hitter.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press