March 22, 2006
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Ryan Jones smacked a game-tying, three-run homer Wednesday as the Tennessee baseball team came from behind to hand Hartford (Conn.) an 8-7 loss at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The 12th-ranked Volunteers committed four early infield errors that led to seven unearned runs for the Hawks, but UT rallied to erase a six-run deficit and improve to 16-5 (0-2 SEC) on the year. It was Tennessee's eighth comeback victory of the season.
The triumph also marked UT head coach Rod Delmonico's 650th career win. The 17th-year skipper has spent his entire head-coaching career on Rocky Top and is the school's all-time winningest baseball coach. Delmonico has coached a total of 1,002 games and is closing in on fourth-place on the Southeastern Conference's all-time victories list - needing just 16 more wins.
With the score tied at 7-7 in the bottom of the eighth Wednesday, Tennessee senior co-captain Michael Rivera plated center fielder Julio Borbon with an RBI single to give the Vols their first lead of the afternoon. The hit proved to be the game-winner and was Rivera's third of the game. Jones scored three of UT's eight runs on the day.
Junior closer Sean Watson pitched the final two innings for the Vols and picked up the win to bring his season record to 2-0.
Hartford (1-13) used four hits and a pair of Tennessee fielding errors to jump out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the second inning. David Grossman, Brady Stouffer, Bryan Propst and Frank Cipolla each logged RBIs as the Hawks batted around the order.
The Vols started to chip away at the Hawks' lead in the bottom of the second. Shortstop Tony Delmonico plated Jones with an RBI sacrifice fly to put UT on the scoreboard. But Hartford later stretched its lead to five runs courtesy of Ben Sobocinski's two-RBI single in the fourth.
A trio of Tennessee true freshmen - Jones, Cody Brown and Delmonico - led off the bottom of the fourth by loading the bases with no outs. Junior right fielder Chris Siewert then drove in Jones with an RBI sacrifice fly to make the score 7-2.
Borbon led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk and was promptly moved to third base on a basehit by Rivera. Designated hitter J.P. Arencibia then delivered an RBI single through the right side of the infield, and catcher Kelly Edmundson doubled down the left-field line to drive in Rivera.
Jones then dug in and cleared the bases with one powerful swing, tying the game at 7-7.
Vols starting pitcher Deunte Heath lasted 3 2/3 innings and allowed seven unearned runs on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Heath gave way to sophomore reliever Chase Hardin in the fourth. Hardin threw 3 1/3 shutout innings before Watson took the hill for the eighth.
Tennessee hosts SEC Eastern Division rival Kentucky (17-4, 2-1 SEC) for a three-game series at Lindsey Nelson Stadium this weekend. Friday's game begins at 7 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday's contests both start at 2 p.m.