OKLAHOMA CITY - Monica Abbott threw her fourth straight shutout, and Tennessee got home runs from Alexia Clay and Shannon Doepking to beat defending champion Arizona 3-0 Monday night in the opening game of the Women's College World Series finals.
Abbott (50-3) pitched a four-hitter to tie her school record for wins in a season and move the fifth-seeded Lady Vols within one victory of their first national championship. Game 2 of the best-of-three series is Tuesday night.
Clay, in only her second at-bat of the World Series, homered to left-center field in the second inning against Taryne Mowatt (40-12). Doepking added a solo shot of her own in the fourth.
Clay was making her first start of the World Series for Tennessee (63-6), which kept injured Southeastern Conference player of the year India Chiles on the bench until she pinch-hit in the sixth inning. Chiles, who has been playing through a torn ACL in her right knee and an injured left shoulder, had a two-out RBI single with the bases loaded to extend the lead to 3-0.
Clay's fourth home run of the season nicked off the mitt of Arizona center fielder Caitlin Lowe, who knocked the yellow padding off the top of the wall. Lowe then spiked her glove into the grass before replacing the padding.
Doepking left no doubt with her sixth home run, a high arcing shot to left field.
Abbott, who holds NCAA records for career wins, strikeouts and shutouts, fanned eight and extended her shutout streak to 33 2-3 innings. She pumped her left, pitching hand in the air after getting K'Lee Arredondo to fly out to end the game.
Arizona (48-14-1), the No. 1 seed, threatened in the third when Sam Banister lined a leadoff single to left field and pinch runner Jill Malina moved to second on a sacrifice. After striking out Adrienne Acton, Abbott intentionally walked Lowe - who's hitting a team-best .415 - before getting Chelsie Mesa to fly out to end the inning.
The Wildcats, seeking their eighth national title, also got singles from Jenae Leles in the fourth inning, Kristie Fox in the sixth and Banister in the seventh, but never again got a runner as far as second base.
Mowatt also pitched a complete game, giving up six hits and three walks. She struck out five.