Arizona is making its 17th appearance at the Women’s College World Series in the past 18 years, and Tennessee is making its first-ever appearance in the WCWS and only its third overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
The Lady Vols are now just the 14th school to win its WCWS debut.
Thursday’s game marked the first-ever postseason meeting between Arizona and Tennessee, and the Lady Vols claimed their first win over Arizona in the all-time series (the Wildcats now lead 6-1). The Lady Volunteers also snapped the Wildcats’ seven-game winning streak and extended theirs to six.
Arizona has only dropped the opening-round game of the WCWS three times in its 17 appearances. The last time was in 2000 against Southern Mississippi, a 1-0 loss for the Wildcats. UA has claimed six national titles, but has never won a national championship after losing its opening-round game.
Thursday also marked the 60th time in 99 career starts that Tennessee sophomore hurler Monica Abbott has recorded 10 or more strikeouts when she fanned 12. It was the 27th time this year she fanned 10 or more in a game. Arizona junior pitcher Alicia Hollowell recorded her 23rd game this season with 10 or more strikeouts, sitting down 12.
Abbott allowed just one hit today, a Callista Balko single in the fifth inning with two outs. It was the 16th time this year that she threw at least seven innings and allowed one or no hits.
Tennessee recorded its 49th shutout of the year, extending its NCAA Division I single-season record (the previous mark of 47 was held by the 1997 UCLA Bruins). The Lady Volunteers broke the record in the super regional against Stanford.
Abbott posted her 32nd shutout of the year, which moved her solely into second place on the NCAA single-season list. Abbott trails only Louisiana Tech’s Debbie Nichols, who had 36 in 1988. Abbott has pitched six straight shutouts.
In the last 102.1 innings, Tennessee’s Abbott has only allowed 29 hits, one earned run and12 walks while producing 141 strikeouts, 13 shutouts and a save.
As Tennessee co-head coaches, Ralph and Karen Weekly recorded their 200th win at the school.