Feb. 18, 2007

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Offensive inconsistency and a sub-par bullpen outing hampered the Tennessee baseball team Sunday as the Volunteers fell to Bethune-Cookman by a score of 8-4 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Three Vols combined for all six of UT's hits on the day, as the Big Orange fell to 3-5 on the year.

The series was shortened to two games after Saturday's contest was cancelled due to winter weather. Tennessee now leads the all-time series with Bethune-Cookman 3-2, dating to 2005.

The Vols tried to rally in the bottom of the ninth Sunday, putting their first three runners on base via a pair of walks and a basehit. Junior outfielder Shawn Griffin then drew an RBI walk, but Wildcats closer Francisco Gomez induced a strikeout and a double-play ball to finish things out.

Tennessee left-hander James Adkins started the game and allowed one run on two hits with five strikeouts through five solid innings. The Mt. Juliet, Tenn., native is still seeking his first win of the year, and the Vols have committed no less than three errors in all of his starts this season.

Wildcats first baseman Angel Negron opened the day's scoring in the top of the first inning. Negron hit what initially looked to be a routine fly ball to left field, but the gusting winds - which were as powerful as 25 mph throughout the game -- blowing from right to left across the field carried the ball just over the wall and barely inside the left foul pole for a home run.



Tennessee benefited from a bottom of the first inning that could only be described as defensively disastrous for the Wildcats (5-4). Griffin reached third base after his fly ball was dropped in left field, and he later scored when J.P. Arencibia's fly ball to right field also was dropped. A throwing error by B-CC starting pitcher Dustin Blackwell brought the Wildcats' first-inning error total to three.

Vols freshman designated hitter Jeff Lockwood continued his recent streak of solid offensive play, reaching on a single in the bottom of the second inning and promptly stealing second base. The Knoxville native was driven in one batter later when centerfielder Jarred Frazier sent an RBI basehit down the left-field line.

The Lockwood-Frazier tandem sprung into action again in the bottom of the fourth. Lockwood recorded his second basehit in as many plate appearances, and Frazier once again delivered an RBI hit down the left-field line. Frazier's second double of the year gave the Vols a 3-1 edge. Frazier finished the day 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run. Lockwood went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

Bethune-Cookman loaded the bases on UT reliever Lance McClain with no outs in the top of the sixth. And after an RBI groundout by Luis Gonzalez left two runners in scoring position, designated hitter Chris Brown crushed a three-run homer that suddenly gave Bethune-Cookman a 5-3 advantage.

The Wildcats stretched their lead to three runs in the seventh inning, when Spencer Hill scored on an RBI single by leadoff man Jose Ortiz-Rivera. And an RBI base on balls drawn by Hill in the eighth brought the score to 7-3.

Bethune-Cookman tacked on a fifth and final insurance run when catcher Drew Clark scored from third on a wild pitch with two outs in the top of the eighth.

Blackwell improved his record this year to a perfect 3-0 after being touched for three runs on five hits through seven full frames.

McClain (1-2) took the loss for Tennessee, and Vols relievers Danny Wiltz, Aaron Everett, Nick Hernandez and Ryne Simpson combined to allow two runs on three hits through the final 2 2/3 innings.

The Vols return to action next weekend with a three-game series against Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne (IPFW) at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. It is the first-ever meeting between the schools.



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