Michael Rivera's RBI double in the eighth inning keyed a three-run rally as the Vols even the series with the Hurricanes at a game apiece.
Feb. 21, 2004
Coral Gables, Fla. - Michael Rivera's only hit of the night proved to be difference as his run scoring double in the eighth inning snapped an 11-11 tie propelling the Tennessee Volunteers to a grueling 14-11 victory over the No. 3 Miami Hurricanes at Mark Light Stadium. The rubber match of the series is Sunday at 1 p.m.
Josh Alley's two-run double capped the inning as Tennessee (4-1) grabbed its biggest lead of the night. The Vols had to battle from behind all night, trailing 6-2 after two and then 10-5 after five before taking their first lead of the game at 11-10 after erupting for six runs in the sixth.
Craig Cobb (1-0) picked up the win in 3 2/3 innings of relief as both teams combined for 25 runs on 23 hits with 16 walks and six errors. The game was the second longest in the series, lasting 4 hours, 8 minutes, just shy of the 4-hour, 21-minute marathon at the 2001 College World Series.
Alex Blanco (0-1), the fifth of six Miami pitchers, took the loss as the Hurricanes fell to 3-2.
After Miami struck for two in the first on a sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Gaby Sanchez, Chris Kemp got the Vols on the board in the second with his first home run of the season. Brian Cleveland tied the game by scoring on an interference call at third base.
The Canes regained the lead at 6-2 on a pair of two-run home runs by Erick San Pedro and Ryan Braun in the bottom of the second, chasing Tennessee starter Derek Tharpe. They extended the lead to 7-2 in the third on a wild pitch.
But the Vols battled back by plating three runs over the next two innings to pull within 7-5. They scored a pair of runs in the top of the fourth on a RBI single by Cleveland and a Miami error before adding another run on the third Hurricane miscue in the fifth.
San Pedro's second two-run home run to straight away center field just off the outstretched glove of Josh Alley capped a three-run fifth as the Hurricanes stretched the lead to 10-5.
Tennessee then erupted for six runs in the sixth in taking an 11-10 lead. Eric King and Eli Iorg started the rally with back-to-back RBI doubles followed by a run scoring balk and sacrifice fly before Alex Suarez put the Vols ahead with a two-run double to left.
The lead was short lived as Sanchez' singled home Jim Burt to tie the game at 11-11.