March 8, 2009
Tennessee left fielder P.J. Polk drove in five runs on four hits to lead the Vols to a 10-2 victory over the Ohio Bobcats on Sunday afternoon at Robert M. Lindsay Field at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The victory gave UT a sweep of the four-game weekend series and improves its record to 6-5 on the season.
Junior Stephen McCray (1-0) turned in a strong pitching performance, shutting out the Ohio offense on just four hits through five innings. He struck out three batters and did not allow a walk. Left-hander Adam Adkins pitched a scoreless sixth inning, allowing one hit and one walk. Will Locante, Ryne Simpson, Danny Wiltz, Dylan Hochevar and Josh Allman combined to throw the last three innings out of the bullpen for Tennessee.
Polk finished the game 4-for-5 with five RBI and one run scored. The sophomore had yet to drive in a run before Sunday's game. He finished the weekend 6-for-10 (.600) with three doubles.
"It was good to get the sweep," Tennessee coach Todd Raleigh said. "Stephen McCray pitched really well today, all of our pitchers did. Our defense played really well too, our middle guys turned some double plays. We did a good job; we jumped out really early, which was good. I thought we played great."
Tennessee took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single off the bat of catcher Blake Forsythe. Polk scored on the play after reaching on a fielder's choice before advancing to third on a wild pitch and a throwing error by the catcher.
The Vols added two more runs in the second inning to make the score 3-0. With runners on second and third, Polk singled to left-center field to drive in Zach Osborne and Charley Thurber. Osborne was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning which Thurber followed with a single. Second basemen Cody Grisham then hit a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners into scoring position.
UT added three more runs in the third inning to extend their lead to 6-0. First basemen Cody Hawn hit his fifth home run of the weekend, a two-run shot to right field and the Vols added another run on an RBI-single by Thurber that scored Osborne.
Polk drove in his third run of the game with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning to give Tennessee a 7-0 lead. Thurber scored on the play after reaching base on his third single of the game.
Back-to-back RBI doubles by right fielder Josh Liles and Polk in the eighth inning made the score 10-0. Polk's double drove in two runs.
Ohio pushed two runs across the plate in the top of the ninth. After issuing a walk to designated hitter Robert Maddox, the next three Bobcats singled to drive in two and keep Ohio from being shutout.
Ohio starting pitcher Bruce Butt (0-1) surrendered six runs on nine hits through four innings, while walking four. Adam Goodpasture and Matt Schlarb saw action out of the Ohio bullpen.
The Vols' defense turned three double plays during the game.
Tennessee hit .411 for the series. Hawn led the Vols with 10 hits and 11 RBI on the weekend. The Knoxville native raised his average from .107 to .289 on the strength of a 10-for-17 (.588) weekend that included five home runs. Osborne had the top average, belting out nine hits in 13 at-bats for a .692 hitting clip. Forsythe hit .462 in the series, and Liles hit .421.
The Vols' staff ERA on the weekend stood at 3.50, and UT's hurlers struck out 33 batters while limiting the Bobcats' to a .263 average at the plate.
The Vols continue their 13-game homestand this week when they host Western Kentucky on Tuesday followed by Louisville on Wednesday. First pitch for both games is scheduled for 4 p.m.