March 13, 2010
By Cameron Harris, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Behind seven shutout innings of one-hit ball by junior southpaw Bryan Morgado, the University of Tennessee baseball team (8-6) won for the fourth time in five games, defeating Connecticut (6-3), 3-2, Saturday afternoon in the second game of the Arby's Classic at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
"I thought we pitched and fielded the ball extremely well today," UT Head Coach Todd Raleigh said. "Obviously, Bryan was unbelievable. He really set the tone and was the difference in the game, there's no doubt about that. It was good to see Cody Hawn have a good day too. His power is definitely starting to come around."
After allowing a double to the second batter of the game, Morgado proceeded to sit down 19 of the final 21 batters he faced, walking just two. In all, the Miami, Fla., native struck out a season-high nine, issued three free passes and allowed just the one hit in seven scoreless frames to earn his second win of the year. With his nine punch-outs, Morgado moved his career total to 208, passing Luke Hudson (202) and Wyatt Allen (203) for sole possession of ninth place on UT's all-time strikeout list.
"I did my job," Morgado said. "That's all you can say. I did my job, the hitters did their jobs and we won the game. It's as simple as that."
Sophomore left-hander Will Locante came on in relief with two outs in the top of the ninth, striking out the only batter he faced to earn his first career save and the initial save by a Volunteer player this season.
Offensively, juniors Cody Hawn and P.J. Polk both recorded a pair of hits on Saturday, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Hawn blasted his third home run of the season in the fourth inning to move his career total to 25, placing him just one longball behind Chris Burke for 10th on the school's career home run list.
Tennessee struck first with a run in the bottom of the third, although it definitely took a round-about way to get there. Sophomore Charley Thurber got the frame started with a single to right and was promptly moved up 90 feet to second on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by junior Matt Duffy. He would not advance any further though, as he was thrown out at second 1-6-3 when sophomore Zach Osborne hit a sharp grounder right back at the pitcher. At first base with two outs, Osborne proceeded to advance to second by stealing his third bag of the season. From there, he came around to score on a single by Polk to center.
The Big Orange added another run in the following inning, when Hawn hit a towering solo shot with one out directly into the teeth of a strong wind to right on a 2-1 pitch. The home run was his third of the season and extended his current hitting streak to seven games, the longest by a UT player so far this season. Following a strikeout, freshman Cody Stubbs put in a strong bid for his first career dinger, blasting one high off the wall in dead center for a double. He would be stranded at second though, as Husky left fielder Billy Ferriter made a nice play up against the wall in foul territory on a fly ball by Thurber for the final out.
With a pair of runs on the board, Morgado continued to deal in the top of the fifth, striking out L.J. Mazzili to give him six punch-outs on the day and 12 straight batters retired. A steady rain would begin to fall just moments later, however, and, following a five-pitch walk to Joe Pavone, the umpires made the decision to halt the game. After a 58-minute rain delay, Morgado jumped back on the mound and picked up right where he left off, tallying a backwards-K on Ferriter before picking off Pavone at first to end the inning.
The Big Orange extended its lead to three with another run in the bottom of the frame. After Duffy led off with a single on a high chopper to third, Osborne bunted him over to second before Polk legged out another high chopper, this time to short, to put runners on the corners with one out. Norfork then grounded one to the hole in short, but Duffy slid back safely into third when UConn shortstop Nick Ahmed tried to catch him off the bag to load the bases for junior Josh Liles. Swinging on the first pitch, Liles lifted one deep enough to right to bring Duffy home to score with a sac fly.
Neither team could get much going over the next three innings, as Morgado and freshman Nick Blount held the Huskies off the board and Elliot Glynn and Dan Feehan joined forces to shut down the Orange and White. UConn finally cracked the scoreboard with a two-out, two-run home run by Mike Ott in the top of the ninth.
Needing just one out for the win, but with the tying run at the plate, Raleigh called Locante out of the pen to make his team-leading sixth appearance of the season and set up a more favorable lefty-lefty match-up. The Memphis, Tenn., did exactly what was asked of him, as he caught Mike Nemeth looking on a 2-2 pitch to end the game.
Tennessee will return to the diamond Sunday afternoon when it will take on No. 17 Ohio State at 1 p.m. and Marshall at 4 p.m. on the final day of the Arby's Classic. The Vols will send sophomore Steven Gruver (1-0, 3.00) to the hill against the Buckeyes and senior Stephen McCray (2-1, 0.89) out to face the Thundering Herd. Ohio State and Connecticut will start the day off with a 10 a.m. contest.
For more information on Tennessee baseball, visit UTSports.com or follow @VolBaseball on Twitter.