Feb. 26, 2005
WILMINGTON, N.C. -- Tennessee ace Luke Hochevar worked a masterful four-hit, complete-game shutout, and one run of support was all it took for the Volunteers to hand UNC Wilmington a 1-0 loss Saturday at the 2005 Hughes Brothers Baseball Challenge at UNCW's Brooks Field. The contest marked the fourth complete game of Hochevar's career and his 12th win as a Vol.
Tennessee improved to 5-3 this season, and UNC Wilmington fell to 5-7. The UT victory also evened the all-time series with UNCW at 2-2, dating to 1996.
Tennessee's lone run of the afternoon came in the top of the eighth inning when junior second baseman Michael Rivera laced a double down the right line that enabled first baseman Alex Suarez to score all the way from first.
A classic pitcher's duel, Saturday's contest saw neither team record a hit through three full innings of play. Seahawks starter Ronald Hill and Hochevar each retired the first 10 batters they faced, with Hill striking out one and Hochevar fanning two.
Vols center fielder Josh Alley was the first player from either club to log a hit Saturday, sending a shot past diving UNCW first baseman Lee McLean and into right field for a single in the top of the fourth. Alley ended up stranded, however, as Hill disposed of the next two batters to end the inning.
UNC Wilmington finally managed to reach base against Hochevar in the bottom of the fourth, with third baseman Matt Poulk doubling deep to left center. But like McLean in the top of the inning, Hochevar retired the next two Seahawks he faced and escaped the inning with no damage sustained.
Tennessee freshman Julio Borbon recorded his first hit of the weekend when he singled to right field in the top of the sixth inning.
As was the theme seemingly all afternoon, UNCW countered the Vols offensive output in the bottom of the sixth. Michael Marbry reached first on a single up the middle. His time on the base path was brief, however, as UT catcher J.P. Arencibia threw him out while attempting to steal second base.
Vols co-captain Eli Iorg logged a base hit to begin the seventh inning but was later put out when Arencibia ground into a double play. Iorg reached second base on the play but was called for interference.
The Seahawks managed to work a baserunner, sophomore Kenny Smith, all the way to third base in the bottom of the seventh. A poised Hochevar then got designated hitter Jonathan Batts to strike out swinging to end the inning and keep the game scoreless through seven.
Following Tennessee's run in the eighth, Eric King and Borbon each reached on consecutive fielder's choice plays, but both were stranded as Hill worked his way out of the inning.
Hill (1-2) lasted eight innings and allowed one run on four hits while striking out three and issuing no free passes.
Tennessee concludes its trip to Wilmington with a 1:30 p.m. meeting with George Mason (3-2) Sunday. Left-hander Eric Gibbons (0-1, 13.50 ERA) is the projected starting pitcher for GMU, while freshman lefty James Adkins (1-1, 2.40 ERA) takes the hill for the Vols.