MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Junior Stephanie Humphrey became the fourth Lady Vol pitcher to reach the 20-win plateau in a season on Monday afternoon, as Tennessee completed a doubleheader sweep of Alabama State, 9-2. The right-hander (20-9) relieved her sister Ellisha in the third inning and was not charged with any runs as UT snapped a 2-2 tie with the final seven scores of the game. Co-head coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly's squad boosted its mark to 30-13-1 overall for the program's most victories since the '99 unit went 44-27 and advanced to NCAA Regionals. In losing both ends of today's action, the Lady Hornets fell to 9-21 this year.
By repelling the Lady Hornets for the second time today, Humphrey joins the trio of Sarah Ayres (1998), Jackie Beavers (1996 and 1999) and Buffy Walker (1997) in the 20-win club. Beavers registered 24 victories twice over her four years in the circle, while Humphrey entered her junior campaign with 15 career wins. The Southeastern Conference's strikeout leader fanned eight in her 4.2 innings of game two and allowed just one hit.
Junior Blaine Teasley jump-started the Lady Vol offense with a leadoff triple to center on the first pitch of the game and senior Adrianna Wilson poked a one-out RBI single to put the Orange on the board. Wilson later advanced to second on a wild pitch and took third on fly out by freshman Amber Rhinehart. Junior Carissa Roustan singled to left off junior Danielle Scott to drive in Wilson with Tennessee's second run.
In the bottom of the third, sophomore Annette McWilliams drew a leadoff walk and junior Marilyn Truitt laced a single into right to give the Lady Hornets a pair of runners on board with none out. A grounder by sophomore Arica Dickens-Todd pushed her teammates into scoring position and senior Keneshia McKee beat out an infield single to drive in McWilliams. After McKee swiped second base, giving ASU runners at second and third again, the Weeklys replaced Ellisha Humphrey with her sister Stephanie. A fielder's choice by junior Dana Green brought the tying run across and a single by Scott would load the bases. Humphrey blew away sophomore Laquitta McMilhon and freshman Sophia Ruffin to keep the game knotted at two.
Tennessee reclaimed the lead in the fourth, aided by a critical Alabama State error. Senior Maria Torres arched a pop-up to right field that was dropped, enabling the Parana, Argentina, native to take second. After a fly out to center by senior Nicole Borg, pinch runner Ellisha Humphrey nabbed third base. Senior Nicole Murray would drive in her teammate on an infield single to provide UT with a 3-2 lead. The Lady Vols would fill the bases with two down courtesy of free passes to Teasley and Stephanie Humphrey, but Scott retired Wilson on a foul to the catcher.
Rhinehart began the fifth with a triple down the right field line and Ellisha Humphrey's sacrifice attempt was mishandled, resulting in another run for the visitors. With Humphrey perched on second, junior Nicole Schaeffer ripped a single up the middle to make the count 5-2 in favor of the Big Orange. Senior Nicole Murray followed with a base-hit into shallow right field that should have left Schaeffer on third but a bobble from ASU allowed the Lady Vol to tally her team's sixth run.
UT added another run in the sixth on a bases-loaded single by Murray that drove in Rhinehart, who had drawn a one-out base on balls. Roustan singled into left and Ellisha Humphrey walked to fill the sacks. With two out, Murray tapped a ball that landed directly in front of the With two out, Murray tapped a ball that landed directly in no man's land in front of the catcher, allowing her teammate to come across.
Teasley led off the seventh with her second triple of the contest, matching Tracy Reidhead's single-game record of two three-baggers set on April 18, 1997 against UNC Greensboro. Stephanie Humphrey then punched a base-knock into right to increase the cushion to 8-2. After a fly out by Wilson, Rhinehart launched an RBI double to deep left field to drive in Humphrey with the final run.
Teasley ended up a perfect 3-for-3 with two runs, while Murray was 3-for-4 with a couple of RBI. The duo of Rhinehart (2-for-4, two runs) and Roustan (2-for-5) also had multiple-hit efforts. In her starting debut, Ellisha Humphrey went 2.1 frames and gave up three hits and two runs with three strikeouts. Scott (7-13) went all the way for Alabama State but was charged with 13 hits and nine runs (six earned), along with six walks and four K.
The Lady Vols, 5-6 in the Southeastern Conference, will resume action on Friday for the start of a three-game series at Mississippi State (21-15/4-5 SEC). The Bulldogs took two of three outings from Eastern Division leader Georgia this past weekend in Athens. MSU swept Tennessee at Tyson Park last season and has claimed the last five meetings between the schools.