March 16, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. - Tennessee out-hit Georgia, 9-7, but couldn't find a way to produce any runs on Friday night as the Volunteers dropped their Southeastern Conference opener to the 19th-ranked Bulldogs, 4-0, at Foley Field in Athens, Ga.
"Tonight we had some quality at-bats and then some bad at-bats, or we started the inning with bad at-bats and then had quality at-bats," UT head coach Dave Serrano said. "We just didn't string them together long enough. Disappointed, very disappointed. I will never accept losing, but we gave ourselves a chance to be in the game and we kept them at bay. We'll show up tomorrow."
Senior Davis Morgan posted his first career three-hit game to lead the charge offensively, while fellow classmate Chris Pierce and junior Chris Fritts added two hits of their own. Morgan is now hitting .450 over his last eight games with nine hits in his last 20 at-bats.
Junior Nick Blount (2-2) suffered the loss for UT after allowing three runs, two earned, on four hits in his first Friday night start of the year, while Earl Daniels (1-1) picked up the win out of the bullpen for Georgia.
"I was very happy with the way T.J. Thornton came in and pitched well for two-plus innings and then Robbie (Kidd) kind of saved the day for us when you are looking at a three-game series," Serrano said. "We saved some pitching going into the next two days."
After a scoreless first inning, Georgia got the scoring started in the second using run-scoring singles to center by Conor Welton and Nelson Ward to jump out to a 3-0 lead. Kyle Farmer then led off the third with a towering solo shot to left to move the lead to four.
After the fourth inning, the contest was halted for exactly 60 minutes as the two teams enjoyed a fantastic lightning display in the Athens sky.
Following the delay, the Vols threatened to get on the board in the top of the seventh when Fritts led off the frame with a double and Morgan followed with his third single of the day to put runners on the corners with nobody out. The Bulldogs, however, were able to get back-to-back strikeouts and then got the call on a bang-bang play at first to end the inning.
The Vols got just one baserunner over the final two innings as the Bulldogs closed out the contest to improve to 14-5 on the year. Tennessee dropped to 10-7 after getting shutout for the first time this season.
"I said when it happened that I thought the rain delay would maybe help us," Serrano said. "It obviously got their starter out of the game, but we just couldn't get the hit when we had to. We'll have to regroup and come out here tomorrow."