March 3, 2013
CARY, N.C. - Two big innings by No. 25 Virginia Tech proved to be too much to overcome as Tennessee dropped a 7-3 decision on the final day of the USA Baseball Irish Classic at Coleman Field at the National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.
"The third inning got away from us where they scored four runs but we fought back, we chipped away and got a run in three straight frames and that is what I think Volunteer baseball is supposed to be about," UT head coach Dave Serrano said. "We made some two-strike adjustments, put the ball in play which we haven't been doing a great job of, and got some two-out base hits. That is the mentality we have to have.
"We need to find an identity as a baseball team. Right now, we are a bunch of good kids that aren't playing as a baseball team and that bothers me because this has the opportunity to be a good team. The only way we can be good is if we start playing together and start being on the same page about a lot of different things."
After the Hokies put up a four-spot in the third, Tennessee used two-out rallies in the next three innings to inch within a single tally, only to see VT pull away with a three-run eighth.
Will Maddox led the Orange and White offensive effort, going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. The multi-hit contest marked the sixth consecutive game and ninth time in 11 games this season in which he has accomplished that feat.
During his current six-game hitting streak, the Gainesville, Ga., native is hitting at a scalding .520 clip (13-for-25) with seven RBIs and five runs scored. For the year, he leads the squad with a .420 batting average, nine RBIs and nine runs scored.
Freshman Aaron Quillen suffered the loss for the Big Orange, allowing four runs - two earned - while scattering eight hits over six innings of work. Junior Nick Williams came out of the bullpen to strike out two in a perfect 1.1 frames of relief.
Virginia Tech took advantage of a Tennessee error to get on the board in the third as the miscue helped extend the frame in which the Hokies got a bases-loaded, bases-clearing triple from Tyler Horan and an RBI single from Andrew Rash to jump out to a 4-0 lead.
The Vols proceeded to punch right back, however, using two-out rallies in each of the next three to cut the Hokie lead down to just one run. In the third, Taylor Smart got the ball rolling with a single before A.J. Simcox was hit by a pitch. Maddox then came through with the first of his two two-out RBIs on the day, punching a single to right.
Just an inning later, a hit by pitch played a large role once again as Pierce Bily was drilled by a 1-2 pitch with two outs. He then promptly stole second before coming around the final 180 feet to score when Andrew Lee lined a single just past the glove of the diving Hokie shortstop into left for a single.
UT's final run of the contest came after two quick outs in the fifth when Simcox reached on an error by his counterpart at short, stole second and scored on a double down the right-field line by Maddox.
The two teams would then trade zeroes until the eighth when Virginia Tech broke the game open with a three-run frame featuring a two-run single and a bases-loaded walk.
Tennessee will next be in action this Tuesday when it welcomes Belmont to Knoxville for a 6 p.m. contest at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.