The Lady Vol softball team will be glad to finally play a home game on Wednesday.
But the road hasn’t exactly been unkind to them.
No. 7 Tennessee took its third tournament title in as many weeks with a dominating 8-0 (5 inn.) win over Illinois-Chicago in Sunday’s championship game of the Georgia Southern Invitational in Statesboro, Ga.
“Our pitching and defense have been phenomenal over the last eight to 10 games,” co-coach Karen Weekly said. “Our offense really came alive during this tournament run at Georgia Southern.
“We have a young team and still have a lot to learn during this season. Our overall goal is to improve one percent each time we step out on the field.”
Monica Abbott (8-0) held UIC to two hits in five innings of work with 11 strikeouts. Her earned-run average dropped to a miniscule 0.12 with her 19 innings of shutout ball on the weekend.
Junior centerfielder Sarah Fekete has now hit safely in all 13 of Tennessee’s games this season with a 3-for-3 performance on Sunday.
For the weekend, Tennessee (13-0) outscored its opponents 36-0 over five games and allowed just six hit in 29 innings.
Tennessee 2, Illinois-Chicago 0: Kristi Durant drilled an RBI single in the bottom of the first and Ashley Cline hit her first career home run to give UT all the offense it would need in a 2-0 win over the Flames on Friday.
Abbott went seven innings, allowing just two hits and striking out 12.
Tennessee 9, Charleston Southern 0: Megan Rhodes (4-0) pitched her first career no-hitter and the Lady Vols broke a school record with seven steals in a 9-0 (5 inn.) win over the Buccaneers in Friday’s second game.
Rhodes’ five-inning, eight-strikeout performance and India Chiles’ 3-for-3 day at the plate were more than enough to put away the winless Bucs.
Tennessee 12, Mercer 0: Rhodes continued her mastery in the GSU Invitational with a five-inning, one-hit, 12-strikeout performance in UT’s 12-0 win over Mercer.
A scoring discrepancy prevented Rhodes from pitching her second consecutive no-hitter as what was originally scored an error was changed to a hit after the game.
After a scoreless first two innings, the Lady Vols exploded for eight runs in the third. Nine different Lady Vols had hits, and 12 different players scored UT’s 12 runs.
Tennessee 5, Georgia Southern 0: Abbott put together a one-hit, 12-strikeout performance and Kristi Durant came through with a 3-for-4, two-RBI performance for a 5-0 victory over the host Eagles on Saturday afternoon.
Durant had RBI singles in the first and fifth to spark big offensive innings for UT. Shannon Doepking went 2-for-3 and Lindsay Schutzler was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Tennessee plays its first home game of the season on Wednesday as the Lady Vols host Marshall for a 2 p.m. doubleheader.