Feb. 5, 2006
BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The ninth-ranked Tennessee baseball team made a strong push to overcome a six-run deficit in game two of Sunday's doubleheader at 18th-ranked Florida Atlantic, but the Volunteers ended up coming up just short in a hard-fought 6-5 loss. Tennessee leaves South Florida having won two of three games on the road against a top-20 opponent to open the 2006 season.
Prior to first pitch, the series-finale was shortened to seven innings so that UT could catch its flight back to Knoxville.
Tennessee freshman shortstop Tony Delmonico had a strong showing at the plate in the final game, going 3-for-4 and scoring a run. Senior Kelly Edmundson drove in two runs on a pair of hits, giving him a total of four hits on the day. For the weekend, sophomore Julio Borbon led the Vols offensively with a .467 batting average, seven hits and five runs scored.
The Owls homered twice in the first two innings and then added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth, as right fielder Anthony Albano sent a two-run homer over the wall in left to make the score 6-0 in favor of FAU.
The Vols mounted a rally in the top of the fifth inning, and it was jumpstarted by pinch-hitter Brian Van Kirk. The sophomore outfielder had the first of four consecutive Tennessee basehits and plated UT's first run on an RBI bunt single by Borbon.
Later in the inning with the base loaded and no outs, preseason All-America catcher J.P. Arencibia drew an RBI walk to trim FAU's lead to four runs. Edmundson then battled to a full count before ripping a two-RBI single through the left side, bringing home both Borbon and Delmonico.
FAU coach Kevin Cooney then lifted starting pitcher Joel Schmal in favor of right-hander Will Mann, who quickly recorded one out before Vols senior Michael Rivera cut Tennessee's deficit to one run with UT's sixth basehit of the inning.
That was as close as Tennessee would get. Mann eventually gave way to Brandon Cooney, who had absorbed the loss in Sunday's first game. Cooney's game-two appearance went much smoother, as he was flawless through the final 2/3 inning and picked up the save.
Albano's fourth-inning longball marked the end of Vols starting pitcher Deunte Heath's Tennessee debut. The junior right-hander was lifted after allowing six runs on six hits through three innings of action. Heath took the loss to fall to 0-1 on the year.
Freshman righty Ryne Simpson was the first arm out of UT's bullpen, allowing no runs on one hit with a walk and two strikeouts in two full innings. Sophomore right-hander Chase Hardin then entered the game for the Vols and worked a perfect sixth inning.
Tennessee redshirt freshman Isaiah Newson made his first career start, playing right field and batting in the No. 8 spot.
The Vols now return to Knoxville to open their 2006 home slate with a three-game series against Eastern Michigan at Lindsey Nelson Stadium Friday through Sunday.