March 17, 2007
March 17, 2007
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama pitcher Bernard Robert threw a complete-game four-hitter Saturday while leading the 22nd-ranked Crimson Tide to a 9-1 series-clinching win over the Tennessee baseball team at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Volunteers second baseman Danny Lima recorded two of UT's hits on the day as the Big Orange fell to 12-9 (0-2 SEC).
Robert (3-3) had a no-hitter through six innings before Lima finally managed a line-drive single to centerfield to lead off the seventh. Tennessee's only other hits came in the form of ninth-inning basehits by Lima, shortstop Tony Delmonico and catcher Yan Gomes. Delmonico's single to right field drove in UT's lone run.
Seven strikeouts highlighted Robert's performance, while the senior issued just two walks while facing six batters more than the minimum.
"(Robert) pitched really well," Vols head coach Rod Delmonico said. "I think he's got good stuff. That was a career day for him -- to throw a four-hitter in SEC play."
Tennessee starting pitcher James Adkins moved into second place on UT's all-time games started list by logging his 42nd career start Saturday. The junior left-hander scattered 12 hits through seven innings, resulting in nine runs. Adkins recorded seven strikeouts with two walks while falling to 2-3 on the year.
As it had done in Friday's series-opener, Alabama (15-7, 2-0 SEC) jumped out to an early lead Saturday. Leadoff man Emeel Salem reached on a walk before stealing second and advancing to third on a groundout. Tide right fielder Kent Matthes then delivered a two-out, RBI triple to plate Salem and give UA a 1-0 lead.
The Crimson Tide made it a two-run game on an RBI basehit by designated hitter Alex Avila in the third. And after Tennessee remained hitless through the top of the fourth, four Alabama hits led to three runs in the bottom of the frame. Jeff Texada, Greg Paiml and Salem each logged RBI singles as the Tide extended their lead to 5-0.
Following Lima's seventh-inning single, Tennessee first baseman J.P. Arencibia drew a two-out walk to put a pair of runners on base. Robert then recorded his fourth strikeout of the afternoon, ending one of the few legitimate scoring chances the Vols staged on the day.
"It's frustrating right now," Lima said. "We're just not clicking on all cylinders. But we're confident. We have to put this behind us and come out Sunday and play hard."
A pair of two-run homers by Jake Smith and Matt Bentley in the bottom of the seventh pushed the score to 9-0 and closed out Alabama's scoring.
Tennessee junior Zane Stone took the mound in the bottom of the eighth and pitched a single perfect inning, facing just three batters in his SEC debut.
The series concludes Sunday at 2:00 p.m. CT.