Lady Vol sophomore Leigh Ann Ellis tossed the third no-hitter in school history as Tennessee closed out the back end of Wednesday's twinbill against Austin Peay with a 4-0 win. The game was called after five innings because of darkness.
In picking up its third straight blanking of an opponent, UT equaled its entire 2001 season total of five shutouts. Co-head coaches Karen and Ralph Weekly's squad boosted its mark to 7-4-1 overall, while the Lady Govs fell to 1-6 with the defeat.
"Leigh Ann is an untapped gold-mine for us," Karen Weekly said. "If she ever reaches her full potential, she will be unstoppable. Leigh Ann had better command of her pitches today than she has had all year and is growing more confident with each outing." Ellis entered the fifth with a perfect game but APSU senior Misty Claude earned a walk to open the frame. The Barboursville, W.Va., native caught freshman Jennifer Travis looking for the first out before rookie Christina Nickey and junior Brooke Platt each grounded out to end the game. Ellis fanned a career-high seven batters in raising her mark to 3-1.
"Since our offense was clicking this afternoon, it helped me stay focused and pitch well for the team," said the second-year left-hander. "I didn't even know that Austin Peay did not have any hits until the game was over. Hopefully these wins can give us momentum entering our tournament in North Carolina this weekend."
"I am really pleased with the daily improvement of our pitchers," Ralph Weekly said. "That is a direct tribute to both Karen and Michele Granger, who have improved their mechanics and pushed them to become stronger mentally. What is exciting is that this team is enjoying playing together, is receiving great leadership from Adrianna (Wilson), Nicole (Borg) and Carissa (Roustan). We realize that we have a long way to go and our goal continues to play better every game and compete against only our best self."
UT will resume action this weekend by participating in the Triangle Classic hosted by the University of North Carolina in Raleigh, N.C. The Lady Vols will face Long Island at 11 a.m. on Friday, following by an encounter against UNC Wilmington at 3 p.m. that afternoon. A total of 18 teams will compete in the event, which the Lady Vols claimed last season with a 3-1 decision over Virginia.