March 25, 2007
KNOXVILLE -- The Tennessee baseball team used a 13-hit performance to complete a three-game sweep of Georgia Sunday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Seven different Volunteers drove in runs for the second straight day as UT improved to 17-9 (4-2 SEC) on the year. The Big Orange now boast a 10-game home win streak dating to March 4.
Sunday's victory gave Tennessee a three-sport sweep of Georgia during the 2006-07 academic year. The Volunteers football team defeated Georgia in Athens, Ga., last fall, and the UT men's basketball team won both its contests against the Bulldogs this season. The Diamond Vols' three-game sweep this weekend completed the trifecta.
The Vols took a 5-2 lead into the top of the sixth Sunday, when Georgia (9-14, 3-3 SEC) scored three unearned runs to tie the game at 5-5. Two Bulldogs scored on a double off the right-field wall by Gordon Beckham, and another run crossed on a high chopper by Jonathan Wyatt that Vols second baseman Danny Lima was unable to field cleanly.
But Tennessee emphatically reclaimed its lead in the seventh by way of six runs on five hits. All-America catcher J.P. Arencibia plated outfielder Andy Simunic with an RBI single through the left side of the UGA infield that put the Vols back on top. The run was unearned, as Simunic initially reached on a throwing error by Beckham. Bulldogs reliever Stephen Dodson then surrendered a double to Yan Gomes and an intentional walk to Julio Borbon to load the bases before Georgia head coach David Perno summoned Joshua Fields out of the bullpen with one out.
Lima greeted Fields with an RBI sacrifice fly that enabled Arencibia to hustle home from third base and give the Vols a two-run lead. Fields' next move was a wild pitch that moved both Gomes and Borbon into scoring position, setting up an RBI line drive by Jeff Lockwood that restored Tennessee's original three-run lead. But back-to-back extra-base hits - an RBI double by Cody Brown and a two-run double by Shawn Griffin - pushed the Big Orange lead to a much more comfortable six runs.
Lockwood took over for Lance McClain (5-2) on the mound for UT in the eighth and retired six of Georgia's last seven batters in order to preserve the 11-5 triumph. McClain was credited with the win after working five innings and allowing three unearned runs on five hits with one walk and four strikeouts through five innings.
After retiring Georgia's leadoff hitter in the top of the first inning, Vols starter Nick Hernandez issued three straight walks to load the bases with one out. The freshman recovered, however, striking out UGA first baseman Rich Poythress before inducing a Joey Lewis groundout to escape the inning unscathed.
Tennessee's first hit of the day was a big one, as Gomes led off the second inning with a solo home run to spot the Vols a 1-0 lead. It was the fifth homer of the year for Gomes, giving him the team lead. Brown smashed a two-run homer later in the inning to extend UT's lead to three runs. Brown's longball was his third of the season, matching his freshman total from a year ago.
The Bulldogs reloaded the bases with no outs in the top of the third, using three consecutive basehits to do so. An RBI base on balls drawn by Lewis then prompted UT head coach Rod Delmonico to bring the left-handed McClain out of the bullpen. McClain quickly served up a double-play ball that enabled UGA's second run to score, and the next batter grounded out to limit the damage to just a pair of runs.
Vols shortstop Tony Delmonico led off the bottom of the third with a check-swing double down the line in right field. He advanced to third base on a wild pitch before scoring on an RBI single by Gomes. Georgia starting pitcher Justin Earls was lifted midway through the bottom of the third, with right-hander Stephen Dodson entering in relief. Dodson would take the loss to fall to 0-3 after giving up five runs (one earned) in 3 2/3 innings.
Simunic delivered a two-out, RBI single to plate Lockwood in the fourth. That hit, UT's seventh of the day, gave the Vols a 5-2 lead after four frames. Tennessee finished with 13 hits to Georgia's 10. Both clubs committed two errors on the day.
Lockwood, Brown and Jarred Frazier all hit .500 or better on the weekend, and Tennessee hit .343 as a team.
Tennessee now leads the all-time series with Georgia 109-96, dating to 1909. The Vols have won their series with UGA each of the last five years, and Rod Delmonico boasts a 22-6 home record against the Bulldogs. This weekend marked UT's first home SEC sweep since the 2005 South Carolina series.
The Vols now travel to Cookeville, Tenn., Tuesday for a 6 p.m. CT contest with Tennessee Tech before hosting SEC Western Division foe Arkansas in a three-game weekend series.