Sophomore Mandie Fishback executed a suicide squeeze in the 10th inning to bring home freshman Ashley Cline with the lone run of the contest as No. 11 Tennessee completed a sweep of No. 12 Florida at Tyson Park on Sunday afternoon, 1-0.
With the international tiebreaker in effect, Cline had been placed on second and was sacrificed to third by sophomore Stacey Jennings. On an 0-1 offering from Gator freshman Stacey Stevens, Fishback pushed a bunt on the right side just beyond the plate to score Cline with the decisive run.
Florida had apparently taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the frame, when freshman Lauren Roussell had lofted a sacrifice fly into right field to bring across sophomore pinch runner Lindsay Norfleet. However, the umpires ruled that Norfleet had left third base early and called her out, helping the hosts move to the bottom of the stanza. Following a heated discussion with the umpires, Florida coach Karen Johns was ejected.
"These wins are very rewarding because they came against an outstanding Florida team who fought us tooth-and-nail the entire series," said co-coach Ralph Weekly. "I am really proud of our kids because they bent but did not break."
Lady Vol freshman Monica Abbott held the Gators to a pair of singles in tossing her 17th solo shutout and seventh two-hitter of the campaign.
With No. 7 Georgia's 4-2 defeat at No. 22 Auburn this afternoon, the Lady Vols (44-10, 17-6 SEC) inched ahead of the Bulldogs (41-11, 17-7) in the Eastern Division. The squads will play a three-game series in Athens next weekend. Florida fell to 38-12 overall and 15-9 in league play. UT has taken 22 of its last 24 outings and has collected its most conference wins since the 1999 club finished 17-11 and earned a share of the East crown.
The quartet of Durant (2-for-2, two walks), Fekete (2-for-4), Fishback (2-for-3) and Jennings (2-for-4) accounted for the majority of the Lady Vol offense, while Garner and Roussell had Florida's hits. Tennessee will participate in the Eighth Annual State-Line Classic on Wednesday in Bristol, Tenn. The Lady Vols are set to face Radford (25-26) at 5 p.m., before a clash with Virginia Tech (31-15) at 7 p.m.