March 27, 2010
By Cameron Harris, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee baseball team kept fighting until the very end, but never could quite overtake fourth-ranked LSU in front of a season-high 2,490 fans at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville on Saturday afternoon. Junior Matt Duffy and sophomore Matt Ramsey each hit their first home runs of the season in the loss.
Ramsey made the most of his first start of the year as he was UT's top offensive performer, finishing the contest 2-for-3 with a double, home run and a pair of RBIs. On the mound, meanwhile, senior Stephen McCray suffered his third loss of the season, allowing a season-high five runs on five hits in six innings of work. The 6-4 righthander struck out six and walked just two.
After both teams were held off the scoreboard through the first three innings, LSU struck for a pair of runs in the fourth. Despite a leadoff triple by Micah Gibbs, McCray looked like he was going to work his way out of the jam as he got Matt Gaudet and Leon Landry to ground out and pop out to third. Mikie Mahtook had other ideas, however, and deposited a 1-0 pitch into left-center for an RBI double. He then came around to score just three pitches later when Austin Nola single to right.
An inning later, the Volunteers came storming back to take its first lead of the series with three runs of their own. With one out, junior Josh Liles forced the action, picking up UT's first hit of the day with a bunt single. He then promptly stole second before scoring on a fielding error by LSU second baseman Tyler Hanover on a groundball by Duffy. Just seconds later, Duffy took off for second and slid in safely for his second stolen base of the year. Ramsey then brought him home with a double, the first hit of his sophomore campaign.
LSU responded immediately with a solo home run by Gaudet in the next half-inning to tie things up at 3-3. After the Vols went down quietly in the bottom of the sixth, the Tigers broke open the tie ballgame with a four-spot in the seventh. Back-to-back doubles to start the frame accounted for the first run, before a trio of singles, an intentional walk and a sacrifice fly brought home the other three.
The Vols got two of those runs back in the bottom half of the inning, however, when Duffy and Ramsey became the first UT players in over a year to belt back-to-back home runs, as both blasted long shots over "The Porch" in left. The longballs were the first in a Tennessee uniform for both players, although Duffy had 16 in two seasons at Vermont.
The two teams traded scores in the eighth, with the Vols' run coming on an RBI groundout by senior Matt Hamaker, before LSU moved the score to its final tally with two more runs in the top of the ninth.
The Big Orange will have little time to dwell on the loss, as it looks to salvage a win in the final game of the series at 7 p.m. For more information on Tennessee baseball, visit UTSports.com or follow @VolBaseball on Twitter.