Just over an hour following a complete-game, one-hit shutout, the freshman from Salinas, Calif., came from the bullpen to pitch 4.2 scoreless innings and claim her second win of the day, as the Lady Vols swept a doubleheader over ETSU at Tyson Park.
In the home opener, the first career home game for Abbott (14-0), the southpaw carried a perfect game into the sixth inning on her way to striking out a school-record 16 batters. The previous record of 15 was set by Stephanie Humphrey is last season's home opener and matched by Abbott against Oregon State on Feb. 8.
Tennessee (15-2) controlled the game from the outset, building a 5-0 lead in the first three innings on its way to a 7-0 victory.
The game was blown open in the third when the Lady Vols, already leading 2-0, scored on two bases-loaded walks and a hit-batsmen.
Abbott made quick work of the Buccaneers, throwing only 90 pitches and allowing only a leadoff single in the sixth to ETSU outfielder Rhea Holler.
In the nightcap, Tennessee struggled offensively but held on for a 3-2 win.
UT starter Stacey Jennings pitched 2.1 innings before loading the bases with one out and holding a slim 2-0 lead.
Co-coach Ralph Weekly decided to bring in Abbott, who then struck out Danielle Spetar, before allowing a game-tying two-run single to Lindsay Lane.
In the bottom of the third, Abbott drove in what would prove to be the game-winning run on a single down the third-base line.
UT left the bases loaded to end the inning. The Lady Vols left a combined 17 runners on base in both games.
"Good teams have down games," Weekly said. "We just didn't hit the ball - that was our biggest problem. It's good that you can win when you don't hit the ball that well."
Abbott finished the game on the mound, earning the win in relief by allowing only two hits and striking out nine.
Despite striking out 25 batters in 11.2 innings in her first day of competition in Knoxville, Abbott said her performance was just scratching the surface of what she could potentially do.
"I still have a lot to work on," she said. "I pitched pretty well, but that wasn't definitely wasn't my best effort."
It's because of that work ethic and perfectionist attitude that Weekly believes Abbott's effort is usually good enough to get the job done.
"(Abbott has) a ton of heart, and she's a great athlete," Weekly said. "She could pitch three games in a day with no problem."
Abbott nearly perfect in first home game
Published: Thu Feb 26, 2004 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 05:53 p.m.