Sophomore Katherine Card came across with the lone run of the game on a Virginia Tech error with two down in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift No. 10 Tennessee to a 1-0 victory over the Hokies at the Eighth Annual State-Line Classic on Wednesday night.
Chosen as the Most Valuable Player of the event, Lady Vol freshman Monica Abbott allowed just a couple of singles and retired the final 23 batters she faced to extend her scoreless streak to 24 innings. The left-hander (38-5) registered 13 strikeouts en route to her 18th solo shutout and 29th double-digit K outing of the campaign as the Lady Vols (46-10) ended a five-game losing streak to the Hokies (32-18).
Tennessee squandered a bases-loaded opportunity in the sixth inning, as Maynard had Brewer foul out to first base. Durant had launched a one-out double to the fence in center field and was replaced on second base by freshman pinch runner India Chiles. Mattox roped a single into right to give Tennessee runners on the corners and Rhinehart's grounder would advance Mattox while Chiles remained on third. Jennings was hit by a pitch to fill the sacks but Maynard jammed Brewer for the final out.
The Lady Vols threatened again in the seventh but came away empty-handed against Maynard. Fishback reached on an infield single to lead off and would move to second on Schutzler's ground ball. Freshman Brittany Bessho delivered a pinch-hit single off the third baseman to have a pair of runners aboard. However, Maynard had Durant fly out to center to send the game into extra innings.
UT stranded senior pinch runner Ellisha Humphrey on third in the eighth, giving the squad 10 runners left on base. Rhinehart had socked a one-out double and Humphrey moved up on Jennings' grounder. However, Maynard had Brewer fly out to right to continue free softball for the fans.
In the ninth, Card and Schutzler drew back-to-back one-out walks and Maynard responded by fanning Fekete. A wild pitch pushed the runners into scoring position and Durant's grounder was misplayed by freshman shortstop Ashley Yeager to allow Card to scamper home with the decisive run.
Rhinehart paced the Lady Vols with a 2-for-4 effort, with six other players contributing one hit. Maynard (12-11) surrendered eight hits over 8.2 innings and notched two strikeouts. Abbott allowed a single by Rhodes to start the game and sophomore Caitlin Murphy slapped a single in the second. At 17-6 in league play, Tennessee will resume SEC action with a pivotal three-game series at No. 11 Georgia (41-11, 17-7) this weekend.