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Early Offense Leads Tennessee Over Alabama

Tennessee scored two runs in the first and another in the second en route to a 4-1 win over Alabama in an elimination contest Sunday afternoon at the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla. 

Those three runs would be all Monica Abbott would need as she shut the door on the Crimson Tide, giving up four hits in the complete-game shutout. Her eight strikeouts moved her into second place in the NCAA annals for strikeouts in a season with 590. 

Lindsay Schutzler posted a 2-for-3 day with an RBI and a run scored. She scored that run in the home half opening frame as she led off with a double to left field and moved to third on Sarah Fekete's sacrifice bunt. Kristi Durant then laid down a squeeze bunt that allowed her to reach while scoring Schutzler. 

"That was a great win for our program," Tennessee co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. "I respect Alabama. We've played them six times this season, and every game has been a battle. That makes me more proud of our kids." 

Tennessee's offense wasn't done in the frame, however. Tonya Callahan reached on a fielder's choice, and she scored on a two-out double to the left center field wall by Katherine Card. 

Alabama had an opportunity to get on the board in the second as Staci Ramsey led off with a single to left. Pinch runner Deasy Phillips advanced to second on a wild pitch, but Abbott got Dani Woods and Leah White to strike out, while Capper Reed lined out to second base. 

The Lady Volunteers increased their lead in the bottom of the second as Schutzler singled to left field to plate Stacey Jennings, who singled to shortstop. 

Jennifer Wright lasted four innings for Alabama, taking the loss after allowing three runs on seven hits. She gave way to Crissy Owens, and Owens was struck for a run in the sixth on Natalie Brock's RBI single to center field. 

Alabama shows signs of a possible rally in the seventh. Reed was hit by a pitch and Jackie Wilkins hit a two-out single, but Abbott struck out Emily Currie to end the game and send the Lady Vols (66-14) into a Sunday night matchup with Michigan. 

"It's fitting that you have Tennessee and Alabama playing in the Women's College World Series," Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. "Both of us are 60-plus game winners. I congratulate them on a great year. They've upped the ante in the Southeastern Conference. I'm sure we'll both be back here soon." 

Alabama concludes its season at 63-15.