Feb. 10, 2007

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee newcomer Danny Lima was impressive atop the Vols lineup.

Sophomore right-hander Danny Wiltz shined in the closing innings in relief of James Adkins.

In between, the Vols struggled to get much going at the plate or in the field, dropping a 6-3 decision to Eastern Michigan on another chilly afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

"I've never been one to transfer blame or try to make excuses," UT coach Rod Delmonico said. "We have enough talent out there to win, and we should be playing much better. Eastern Michigan came in and played very well, swung the bats well and did what they needed to do to win and almost win another game."

The Eagles bounced back after the Vols took the series-opener on Friday, taking advantage of some early UT errors to plate four runs in the second inning and take a lead they wouldn't relinquish. UT starter James Adkins (0-2) took the loss, allowing nine hits and five runs - two earned - and striking out eight in six innings of work.

"We didn't win, so obviously I didn't do my job," said Adkins, who moved into third place on the Vols all-time strikeout list with his second punch-out of the game. "They hit my mistakes and I have to give them credit. Things didn't go our way, but we just need to play better, and I have to start pitching better. We've got to do things better as a unit."

Lima, a newcomer to that unit after transferring from Broward Community College, went 2-for-4 in his second start of the season. The second baseman tallied a pair of infield hits, walked and scored a run while playing solidly in the field.

"I felt pretty good out there," Lima said. "I didn't have the greatest at-bats, I was just trying to put the ball in play and make something happen. I was able to put the ball in play and make them make plays and get on base and help my team."

His steady glove work and performance from the lead-off spot drew praise from Delmonico, who is still tinkering with the line-up as the Vols battle through the non-conference schedule without All-America centerfielder Julio Borbon.

"I like Lima," Delmonico said. "I think right now Lima has seen less at-bats than anybody on the field, and he's doing more to help us win. He gets on base quite a bit and he's made all the plays at second. I like the way he plays."

The 18th-year head man also liked the play of sophomore reliever Danny Wiltz, who came on for Adkins in the seventh and held the Eastern Michigan offense largely in check.

Wiltz worked the final three frames, striking out one, walking two and giving up three hits and one run.

"Wiltz, even though he gave up the home run, he threw strikes and he went after people," Delmonico said. "That's three outings where he's been really good.

"He left a ball up and they hit it out, but he pitched really well for us. If he keeps doing that, we'll be okay."

The Vols will try to win their first series of the season on Sunday, as UT and Eastern Michigan meet in the series finale at Lindsey Nelson Stadium at 2 p.m.

"I'm very upset with the way that we played today," Delmonico said. "This is not Tennessee baseball. We didn't do anything well. We didn't field well, we didn't pitch well and we didn't hit well.

"We need to get back to playing Tennessee baseball. That's what we're going to do."





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