Feb. 3, 2006
BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The ninth-ranked Tennessee baseball team got its 2006 season off to an impressive start Friday night, posting a 12-1 win over 18th-ranked Florida Atlantic at FAU Field. Senior first baseman Chris Kemp hit a three-run homer for the Volunteers, while fellow senior Michael Rivera also added three RBIs. The Volunteers out-hit the Owls 14-3.
The series resumes Saturday night at 7 p.m. ET, with true freshman right-hander Josh Lindblom making the start for UT opposite FAU junior lefty Chris Salberg.
Friday's triumph was 17th-year Vols skipper Rod Delmonico's 635th career victory as a head coach, giving him a solo grip on fifth place on the Southeastern Conference's all-time coaching wins list (breaking a tie with former Auburn Skipper Hal Baird).
The win also gave UT a 63-32-2 all-time record on opening day, including a 13-4 mark under Delmonico.
Tennessee sophomore ace James Adkins (1-0) picked up the win after giving up one unearned run on one hit with three walks and four strikeouts through four innings. Junior right-hander Craig Cobb then worked three shutout innings, logging a pair of strikeouts and allowing two hits.
The Vols sent true freshman right-hander Ryne Simpson, a Chattanooga, Tenn., native, out to the work the eighth inning. Simpson struck out a pair of Owls, and fellow freshman Danny Wiltz later came on to make his career debut in close proximity to his hometown of Miami, Fla. Wiltz recorded one strikeout during a perfect ninth inning.
Tennessee got off to a fast start in the top of the first inning as sophomore centerfielder Julio Borbon led off with a basehit through the left side. He then quickly stole second base, and freshman shortstop Tony Delmonico drew a walk. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch before sophomore catcher J.P. Arencibia plated Borbon with an RBI groundout.
Adkins took to the hill in the bottom of the first inning and made quick work of Florida Atlantic's first three batters. The sophomore left-hander struck out the side, catching a pair of Owls looking at strike three.
The Vols put a pair of runners in scoring position with no outs in the top of the third, as Borbon and freshman outfielder Jarred Frazier - both of whom singled to leadoff the inning - took third and second on a sacrifice bunt by Tony Delmonico. Kemp then dug in and cleared the bases with a mammoth three-run homer to right field. The home run was the third of Kemp's career and came during just his second plate appearance in 19 months, as the Duluth, Ga., native redshirted the 2005 season.
Florida Atlantic put its first runner on base in the bottom of the third, when catcher Alex Silversmith reached on a fielding error. Tennessee avoided any damage, however, as Adkins later got FAU shortstop Daniel Cook to ground into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.
After UT failed to score on two hits in the top of the fourth, FAU put itself on the scoreboard in the bottom of the frame. Owls outfielder Mike McBryde, a preseason first-team all-conference selection, led off with a double to deep centerfield. He then advanced to third on a groundout before scoring on a passed ball, making the score 4-1 in favor of Tennessee.
Borbon reached first base on an error to lead off the fifth inning, and Tony Delmonico then brought him home with an RBI triple that hit off the wall in dead center. Delmonico's three-bagger gave Tennessee a 5-1 edge. The Vols eventually batted around the order in the fifth and scored three runs on five hits as the Owls went through three pitching changes.
As the top of the fifth wore on, Kemp and senior designated hitter Kelly Edmundson each drew walks. Kemp and Delmonico both scored on a two-RBI single by Rivera. Edmundson crossed home plate on a throwing error, and Rivera scored to make the score 8-1 on an RBI single that came on sophomore outfielder Brian Van Kirk's first at-bat as a Vol.
Tennessee continued to pour it on in the top of the sixth inning, plating three runs on three hits. Rivera and junior newcomers Chris Siewert and Ryan Castellanos provided back-to-back-to-back RBIs for the Vols, pushing the score to 12-1 heading into the bottom of the frame.
When all was said and done, FAU had gone through nine pitchers. All-America starting pitcher Mickey Storey (0-1) lasted just 4 1/3 innings, giving up six runs (five earned) on seven hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
The crowd of 1,173 Friday night was the largest to witness a game at FAU Field since the Owls drew more than 1,600 fans for a game against Notre Dame in 2004.