Make it an unprecedented five consecutive games of scoring 10 or more runs as the No.2 Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (9-0) hammered No.25/22 Iowa, 11-2 (five inn.), in its opening contest at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga.
Junior pitcher Monica Abbott picked up her sixth straight win to start the season while allowing a pair of runs in five innings of work with eight K’s. Sophomore first baseman Tonya Callahan led the offensive attack by going 3-of-3 with two RBI and one of two Big Orange solo home runs. Freshman third baseman Jennifer Griffin drilled the first big fly of her collegiate career in the third inning.
The Lady Vols wasted no time getting on the board in the top of the first as Tennessee plated a pair of runs on a double by Callahan and some Hawkeye miscues. Junior shortstop Lindsay Schutzler led-off the frame by singling up the middle and swiping second and third to advance into scoring position.
With one out, senior designated player Kristi Durant reached on a fielder’s choice as Iowa second baseman Erin Riemersma fielded the ground ball by Durant cleanly and fired home only to overthrow catcher Sami Baugh and allow UT toplate its first run. Callahan followed immediately with her two-bagger to right center to score Durant for a 2-0 advantage. After freshman thirdbaseman Jennifer Griffin walked, she attempted to steal second. Baugh’s throw was on the money, but no one from Iowa covered the bag on the play allowing Griffin to reach and pinch runner Alicia Brown to race home with the Big Orange’s third tally.
Neither squad mounted an attack until Tennessee in the top of the third as the Lady Vols plated a pair of runs by some long ball power to take a 5-0 lead.
Callahan and Griffin blasted back-to-back home runs with one out to become the first UT players to hit consecutive homers since three Big Orange players hammered consecutive big flies last season against No. 22 Nebraska at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic.
Fekete added a run for Tennessee in the fourth with an RBI single to score sophomore second baseman Kenora Posey and grant UT a 6-0 advantage.
Iowa got on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the fourth inning as an illegal pitch from Abbott with a Hawkeye runner standing on third plated UI’s first tally of the game. A double steal by Iowa with runners on the corners and one out allowed the Black and Old Gold to cut the deficit to 6-2.
Tennessee wouldn’t allow Iowa to crawl back in the contest, however, as a five-run fifth closed the door on the Hawkeyes. Durant and Callahan singled to open the frame to grant UT runners at first and second with none out.
After a fielder’s choice cut down the lead runner, sophomore catcher Shannon Doepking delivered a base knock to left field to load the bags. Freshman Liane Horiuchi, who began the game as the starting second baseman before being lifted briefly, singled deep into the hole at second base to score a pair for the Big Orange. Sophomore Natalie Brock walked to reload the bags.
Schutzler singled to plate all three runners and finalize the count at 11-2 before being caught in a rundown between first and second for the final out of the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Abbott posted her eighth strikeout and forced a pair of ground ball outs and to close out UT’s run-rule victory.
Tennessee will continue its Friday evening encounters at the NFCA Leadoff Classic with a 7:30 p.m. match-up against Florida State at South Commons Field.

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