Ralph and Karen Weekly's 11th-ranked Lady Vols will take a break from their SEC schedule to participate in the State-Line Classic in Bristol, Tenn., on Wednesday.
Tennessee (44-10, 17-6 SEC) will tangle with Radford (26-27) at 5 p.m. before facing Virginia Tech (32-16) at 7 p.m. in the eighth edition of the tournament. UT has not met the Highlanders since 2000 and will be aiming to halt a five-game losing streak to the Hokies.
"Radford and Virginia Tech both present challenges for us," said co-coach Ralph Weekly. "The Hokies beat us 1-0 last year on a suicide squeeze and will be gunning for another State-Line Classic title. Our kids are ready to play and up to the challenge."
Coming off an important three-game sweep of No. 12 Florida at Tyson Park and with a trip to No. 7 Georgia (41-11, 17-7 SEC) looming this weekend, Tennessee will be facing its first non-league competition since hosting the Lady Vol Classic between March 26-28. The Lady Vols are rated number one nationally in team defense with a .978 fielding percentage and its staff earned run average of 1.17 leads the league.
Freshman Monica Abbott enters her next start needing nine strikeouts to pass LSU All-American Britni Sneed for the SEC's single-season mark. The left-hander is 36-5 and has registered a 0.71 ERA with 470 K and 17 solo shutouts in 265 innings.
The fireballer threw consecutive two-hitters against the Gators and is limiting opponents to a .122 batting average. Sophomore Stacey Jennings is coming off her best start of the season, a three-hit blanking of UF, and has a mark of 8-5 with a 2.06 ERA.
Radford (26-27) has been on a roller-coaster swing lately, going 6-4 in its last 10 games and 12-8 in its past 20 outings. Most recently, Head Coach Amy Kvilhaug's team split a doubleheader at Coastal Carolina, winning 5-2 in nine innings, and falling 6-4. Junior second baseman Lara Wohlgemuth has a .285 average to lead RU and has swiped 14 bases in 17 chances.
Junior outfielder Sara Beth Clayton (.269) has driven in 22 runs and has poked five triples, while classmate Ashley Smith (.219) has 19 RBI and 12 doubles.
In the circle for the Highlanders are the trio of junior Kat Peck (6-6, 3.24 ERA), sophomore Jennifer Bosley (12-14, 3.33 ERA, eight shutouts, 124 K in 155.1 IP) and freshman Breanna Felix (8-7, 4.06 ERA, 76 K in 91.1 IP).
The Hokies (32-16) split a pair of BIG EAST twinbills with St. John's and Seton Hall last weekend in Blacksburg and will encounter East Tennessee State (22-27) before its tussle against UT. Sophomore right fielder Kelly Brown sits atop her club's offensive chart in several categories, average (.348), hits (56) and runs (35), and has 18 thefts. Junior catcher Megan Evans (.341) has belted 12 homers, drawn 26 walks and accumulated 42 RBI, while junior center fielder Sarah Prosise (.333) has chipped in with 23 runs and 17 RBI. Sophomore left fielder Callie Rhodes (.297) is 27-for-30 on stolen bases and freshman shortstop Ashley Yeager (.245) has notched 25 RBI.
Scot Thomas' VT pitching staff has three right-handed starters: senior Rachel Pacheco (13-3, 1.39 ERA, 77 K in 111.0 IP) and sophomore Katie Maynard (12-10, 2.83 ERA, five shutouts, 158 K in 141 IP) and rookie Karie Morrison (7-2, 2.91 ERA, 52 K in 65 IP).