OKLAHOMA CITY, OK -- Amanda Scarborough tied a career-high 12 strikeouts but the No. 5 Tennessee Lady Volunteers (60-6) plated two runs in the seventh to beat the No. 4 Texas A&M softball team (46-13) 2-0 on the opening day of the 2007 Women’s College World Series at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
The Lady Vols’ runs came off five hits in the seventh inning. Kenora Posey started the top-half of the frame with a single that dribbled down the third base line. Posey stole second and moved to third on a ground out by Lindsay Schutzler. India Chiles, who played with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), looped a ball just behind third base and slightly out of reach of Aggie shortstop Macie Morrow to score Posey. Chiles’ pinch-runner Lillian Hammond scored off a single up the middle by Shannon Doepking, giving Tennessee a 2-0 advantage leading into A&M’s final at-bat.
Monica Abbott retired the Aggies in order in the home-half of the seventh to pick-up her 47th win of the season. The senior worked seven complete allowing no hits, walking four and striking out 16. The no-hitter was the 23rd of Abbott’s career.
“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. We had an opportunity early to get a timely hit, which changes the whole game, and she shot it down like the great pitcher she is.”
For the first time this season Abbott walked the first two batters she faced in Sharonda McDonald and Jamie Hinshaw. Megan Gibson struck out before Scarborough earned the third walk of the inning. Jami Lobpries hit a sharp grounder back at Abbott who threw it home to retire McDonald at the plate for the second out. Alex Reynolds ended the Aggies’ scoring threat with a strikeout.
Scarborough worked out of a tight spot in the second. With one out and two runners having reached on singles, Scarborough struck out Erinn Webb and Anita Manuma to get out of the inning unscathed.
In the third inning Scarborough worked herself out of a bases loaded jam coaxing two more Ks and a groundout. Scarborough pegged Tennessee’s lead off batter Posey in the leg. Posey quickly stole second and moved to third on a single up the middle by Schutzler. Scarborough recorded back-to-back strikeouts before putting Tonya Callahan on first with a four-pitch walk. Doepking poked a shot towards Joy Davis at second to end the inning.
Scarborough suffered her ninth loss of the season. She worked seven complete giving up two earned runs off 11 hits. She walked just one batter while striking out 12.
“I thought Amanda threw very, very well,” Evans noted. “She did a great job getting some big strikeouts to get out of some tough jams and she did a great job on their big hitters.”
A&M stranded three runners in scoring position while leaving four on base.
The Aggies will play in an elimination game on Saturday at 1 p.m. (CDT) against the loser of the Arizona/Baylor match-up. The game will be televised on ESPNHD.
Tennessee........... 000 000 2 - 2 11 0
Texas A&M........... 000 000 0 - 0 0 0
LOB - UT 11; A&M 4. HBP - K. Posey. SH - Reynolds. SB - L. Schutzler 2; E. Webb; K. Posey 2.
Win - M. Abbott (47-3). Loss - Scarborough (26-9). Save - None.
HBP - by Scarborough (K. Posey).