Feb. 3, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Tennessee baseball team never managed to get anything going Saturday during a 4-0 loss to No. 13 Florida State at Dick Howser Stadium. The 11th-ranked Volunteers committed four errors and collected just two hits while falling to 0-2 on the season. The series concludes Sunday at 1 p.m.
Seminoles starting pitcher Michael Hyde picked up the win in his first outing of the year. The right-hander logged a career-high 10 strikeouts while scattering just a pair of hits in 6 1/3 innings.
"We're doing a real bad job with our two-strike approach," UT head coach Rod Delmonico said. "You've got to put the ball in play."
After reaching base once on a walk in Friday's opener, UT second baseman Andy Simunic wasted little time recording his first hit and stolen base as a Vol Saturday, quickly advancing into scoring position in the top of the first inning. He took third on a groundout by catcher J.P. Arencibia but wound up stranded one batter later.
While Tennessee came up empty-handed in its first scoring opportunity of the afternoon, FSU (2-0) managed to capitalize on its first chance in the bottom of the frame. Seminoles second baseman Tony Thomas Jr. hustled home from second base on an infield single by outfielder Jack Rye to give the Seminoles an early 1-0 lead. Thomas Jr. had initially reached on a walk.
The Seminoles plated an unearned run to take a 2-0 lead in what was a sloppy bottom of the fourth inning for the Vols. Rye reached on an infield error, took second on a balk and then advanced to third on UT's second fielding error of the frame. FSU designated hitter D'Vontrey Richardson then plated Rye with an RBI sacrifice fly.
An RBI basehit by Florida State third baseman Jason Stidham in the bottom of the sixth allowed left fielder Dennis Guinn to score from second base and extend the Seminoles lead to 3-0. A sliding Guinn narrowly avoided the tag by Arencibia following an outstanding throw from Vols right fielder Ryan Jones.
Tennessee put a man in scoring position with one out in the top of the seventh, prompting FSU head coach Mike Martin to pull starter Hyde in favor of Bryan Chambers. The right-handed Chambers, who also made a bullpen appearance in Friday's opener, promptly walked Vols sophomore Cody Brown to give Tennessee two men on base with one out. Chambers calmly worked himself out of the jam, however, inducing a fly-ball out and logging an inning-ending strikeout to keep Tennessee off the scoreboard.
A fantastic defensive play by UT freshman reliever Nick Hernandez in the bottom of the seventh prevented the Seminoles from extending their lead to four runs. Hernandez fielded a Buster Posey bunt between the mound and home plate and quickly flipped the ball to Arencibia, who tagged out a charging Thomas Jr. at the plate.
Florida State did manage to push one final insurance run across in the eighth, as Richardson scored from second base on an RBI basehit by Stidham. That brought the final score to 4-0, marking just the second time the Vols have been held scoreless in their last 115 games.
Vols starter James Adkins (0-1) left the game after allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits with two walks and five strikeouts in five full innings of work. Hernandez made his collegiate debut in relief of Adkins, and the Hialeah, Fla., native was touched for a pair of runs on five hits in three innings. He recorded two strikeouts and one walk.
"I thought Adkins pitched really well," Delmonico said. "He pitched good enough for us to win the game. And Nick Hernandez, making his first appearance, did real well too. If we can keep pitching that way and get our offense together, we'll be all right."
Arencibia, a preseason All-America and National Player of the Year candidate, put his arm on display during Saturday's third inning. With two outs and a runner on first, Arencibia threw out FSU All-America selection Buster Posey on an attempted steal of second base.
Alan Wright, a true freshman from Memphis, Tenn., also made his Tennessee debut Saturday, entering the game as a defensive replacement at second base in the sixth inning. He grounded out in his only plate appearance.
Freshman first baseman Yan Gomes joined Simunic as the only Vols with hits Saturday. Gomes, a Miami, Fla., native, is the only Vol with hits in each of the first two games this season.
Snow fell briefly during the second inning Saturday as temperatures hovered in the low-40s.
Sophomore left-hander Lance McClain takes the mound for Tennessee Sunday opposite an FSU right-hander who has yet to be named.