March 6, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - After being shut out by USC-Upstate on Wednesday afternoon, the Tennessee baseball team rebounded with a 12-2 victory over Ohio University on Friday at Robert M. Lindsay Field at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The Volunteers had five home runs and 16 hits to improve their record to 3-5.
Tennessee first baseman Cody Hawn finished the game 4-for-5 with three home runs, five RBI and four runs scored. The Knoxville native becomes just the fourth Vol in school history to hit three home runs in one game. The last to do it was Todd Helton against Arkansas in 1995.
"He (Cody Hawn) said he was going to come out of it (hitting slump) today," coach Todd Raleigh said. "He went public about it yesterday, said I'm going to be a different player this weekend. We know he can hit so it's good to have that."
With the game tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the third inning, Hawn broke out of his 0-for-11 slump and hit a solo home run to deep right-center field. The Vols took a 2-1 lead and did not look back. It was the sophomore's second home run of the year.
Sophomore catcher Blake Forsythe hit his fourth and fifth home runs of the season, a two-run shot in the sixth inning and a solo shot in the eight.
Shortstop Zach Osborne also broke out of a 3-for-20 hitting slump with a 3-for-4 performance. Osborne also drove in his first run of the season. He singled in the second, fifth and seventh innings.
Tennessee starting pitcher Nick Hernandez earned his first victory of the season after pitching eight solid innings. He allowed only two runs on six hits while walking one and striking out four.
Ohio starter Chris Riggo took the loss after he allowed seven runs on 10 hits through 5-2/3 innings. The senior walked four while striking out eight.
Tennessee took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Hawn led off the inning with a double deep to center field. Osborne then singled up the middle to drive in Hawn.
Ohio answered with a run of its own in the top of the third inning, tying the game at 1-1. Center fielder Gauntlett Eldimire ripped a single deep to right field to send home left fielder Adam Gecewich, who led off the inning with a single.
After taking the lead, Tennessee added three more runs in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 5-1. Hawn hit his second home run of the game over the porches in left field. Kentrail Davis and catcher Blake Forsythe scored on the play, reaching on a fielder's choice and single, respectively.
In the sixth inning, Forsythe hit the Vols third home run of the game to give UT a 7-1 advantage. The sophomore's fourth home run of the year sent Davis home after he reached on his 12th walk of the season.
The Bobcats tallied a single run in the top of the eighth inning to make it 7-2.
In the eighth inning, the Vols sent nine runners to the plate and scored five runs on five hits to take a 12-2 lead. With two outs in the inning, Forsythe and Hawn got the scoring started with back-to-back home runs. Pinch hitter Jarred Frazier followed that up with an RBI double scoring Mike Moore from second. Matt Hamaker then doubled home two more runs.
Tennessee senior Ryne Simpson struck out the side in the ninth inning to close out the game.
This weekend's non-conference matchup with Ohio marks the Vols final tune-up before Southeastern Conference play begins next weekend. Tennessee welcomes Auburn to Knoxville on March 13-15 for the first weekend of conference play.
Tennessee returns to the diamond Saturday for a doubleheader beginning at noon. The pitching matchup in the first game features Tennessee left-hander Jeff Lockwood (0-0, 0.00 ERA) against Ohio left-hander Zach Elmer (0-1, 13.50 ERA). The second game also faces a pair of left-handed arms against each other, Steven Gruver (0-1, 8.10 ERA) for the Vols and Zach Fairbanks (0-0, 1.29 ERA) for the Bobcats.