Feb. 4, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State exploded for nine run in the second inning Sunday and never looked back as the 11th-ranked Tennessee baseball team fell to the 13th-ranked Seminoles by a score of 19-7 at Dick Howser Stadium. The Volunteers fought back late but fell to 0-3 on the season, while FSU improved to 3-0. The series marked the first time since 1994 that UT was swept in a season-opening three-game set.
"We're just not ready to play right now," UT head coach Rod Delmonico said. "We've got about 18 games to get ready for (Southeastern Conference play). That's where we are right now."
The Vols finished with a season-high 11 hits but committed four errors for the second straight game. Sophomore Ryan Jones logged a pair of doubles on the day, and junior Shawn Griffin's five hits on the weekend led the team.
All-America catcher J.P. Arencibia provided the highlight of the day for Tennessee, as the catcher from Miami, Fla., sent a two-run homer over the wall in left field in the top of the seventh inning. It was Arencibia's first home run of the season and the 26th of his career, tying him with for ninth place on UT's all-time list.
Sophomore left-hander Lance McClain made his Tennessee debut as the Vols' Sunday starter, and the Knoxville, Tenn., native ran into a bevy of hot Seminole bats in the bottom of the second inning.
After consecutive RBI basehits by Florida State's Ruairi O'Connor and D'Vontrey Richardson, Jason Stidham drew a base on balls and the Seminoles found themselves holding a 2-0 lead with no outs and the bases loaded. First baseman Brandon Reichert then delivered an RBI single of his own, and shortstop Mark Hallberg sent a bases-clearing double into the corner in left field.
With the Seminoles holding a commanding 6-0 lead and three outs still remaining, FSU received an RBI single and double from Tony Thomas Jr. and Buster Posey, respectively. That marked the end of McClain's afternoon, as Delmonico called for true freshman right-hander Ryan Butner to enter the game.
Also making his collegiate debut, Butner finally put a stop to the damage, but not before FSU left fielder Dennis Guinn plated the ninth and final run of the inning on a fielder's choice.
The Seminoles loaded the bases once again with one out in the bottom of the third inning, and yet another Vols reliever found himself entering the game in a less-than-ideal situation. Sophomore right-hander Danny Wiltz took the mound for the second time in the series, but Florida State sent seven more batters to the plate and stretched its lead to 13-0 before Tennessee could get out of the inning.
After spotting FSU a 13-run cushion, the Vols put their first two batters on base in the top of the fourth. Arencibia reached on a basehit, and Jones followed that up with a walk. Third baseman Cody Brown was then hit by a pitch to load the bases for Tennessee with no outs.
The Vols' next batter was true freshman left fielder Jeff Lockwood, who plated Arencibia with an RBI fielder's choice to give UT on the scoreboard for the first time since Friday's series-opener. Freshman first baseman followed that up with an RBI sacrifice fly that allowed Jones to score and trim FSU's lead to 11 runs, 13-2.
Tennessee continued to chip away in the fifth inning, with second baseman Andy Simunic recording an RBI triple after centerfielder Jarred Frazier led off with a hit-by-pitch. The Vols got their fourth run of the game when Simunic scored on a wild pitch by FSU starting pitcher Ryan Strauss.
FSU used pinch-hit RBIs from Tommy Oravetz, Devin Gonzalez, Mark Gildea and Ohmed Danesh to build its lead to 17-4 in the bottom of the sixth, with UT reliever Aaron Everett serving as the Vols' fourth pitcher of the day.
Following Arencibia's seventh-inning homer, Jones reached base on his second double of the day and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Brown then scored Jones on an RBI sacrifice fly that made the score 17-7.
Gildea and Danesh added RBIs in the eighth to bring the final score to 19-7.
Junior reliever Zane Stone was the final first-year Vol to make his Tennessee debut Sunday, entering the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. Stone retired the side in the seventh and finished things out on the hill for UT.
Florida State now leads the all-time series with Tennessee 6-4, dating to 1954.
Tennessee returns to action Friday, Feb. 9, as it opens its 2007 home schedule with a three-game weekend series against Eastern Michigan at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.