March 18, 2005
AUBURN, Ala. -- Tennessee ace Luke Hochevar flirted with a no-hitter Friday night while leading the Volunteers baseball team to a 2-1 win over Auburn at Hitchcock Field in the SEC opener for both teams. The junior co-captain gave up just one hit and struck out 11 as the Vols improved to 15-4 (1-0 SEC) on the year.
After walking one batter in both the first and second innings, Hochevar (5-1) was perfect through the next five innings before issuing another walk in the eighth. He retired 17 straight at one point. Auburn center fielder Bruce Edwards broke up the no-hitter with a basehit to right field to lead off the ninth inning.
Back-to-back RBI doubles by junior Eli Iorg and freshman J.P. Arencibia opened the game's scoring in the top of the fourth inning and gave Tennessee a 2-0 lead. Iorg's shot to left-center scored junior Josh Alley, who had previously singled to right field and advanced to second on a ground out by senior Eric King. Arencibia's double -- his first career SEC hit -- knocked in Iorg from second.
The Tigers managed to load the bases in the bottom of the ninth, and Auburn's leading home-run hitter, first baseman Karl Amonite, stepped into the batter's box with an opportunity to give the Tigers their third straight Friday walk-off win.
Amonite flied out to right field, and Iorg was then able to throw out Clete Thomas on his attempt to make it back to first base. Auburn second baseman Tyler Johnstone scored on the play to give the Tigers their only run of the night.
Auburn starter Arnold Hughey (2-2) lasted 7 2/3 innings and allowed two runs
on six hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Right-handed senior John Madden
came on in relief in the top of the eighth and was touched for a pair of hits
with no walks or strikeouts in the final 1 1/3 innings.
Iorg and junior third baseman Chase Headley each had two hits for Tennessee, and three of the Vols' eight hits in the game were doubles.
The series resumes Saturday at 5 p.m. ET. Sophomore right-hander Sean Watson (4-1, 2.90 ERA) will start for Tennessee, and right-hander Josh Sullivan (3-1, 2.09 ERA) is slated to start for Auburn.