March 28, 2004
Knoxville, Tenn. - Josh Bell slugged two home runs and picked up a pitching victory as the No. 13 Auburn Tigers limited the No. 12 Tennessee Volunteers to five hits in a 7-3 win and series victory at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The win did not come easily as the Vols (21-5, 3-3 SEC) loaded the bases with no out in the bottom of the ninth on an error and two singles. Auburn (20-6, 3-3 SEC), which turned the game over to its All-America closer Steven Register in the eighth, retired the final three hitters on an infield pop fly, a strikeout and a fly out.
Bell (2-0), making his second start of the season, struggled through the first three innings by issuing five walks. However, the Vols were unable to capitalize as they plated just three runs. It got one in the first when Josh Alley, who doubled to lead off and had two hits, scored on Chris Kemp's ground out. It cut the lead to 4-3 in its half of the third on a two-out single by Nick Crowe and a Tiger error.
Bell and Michael Nix, who tossed two scoreless innings, retired 13 of the next 15 batters before turning the game over to Register in the eighth who made short work by retiring the first three hitters he faced.
Chuck Jeroloman, who went 3-for-5, put Auburn on the board in the first with a solo home run to left. The Tigers then mounted a three-run two-out rally in the third as Sean Gamble singled and scored on Jeroloman's double to left. Tug Hulett singled home Jeroloman and took third on a Vol error before scoring on Clete Thomas' base hit to make it 4-1.
Bell helped his cause with back-to-back home runs leading off the fourth and sixth innings giving the Tigers a 6-3 lead. They pushed the lead to 7-3 in the seventh as Jeroloman doubled and scored on a ground out two batters later.
Ben Riley (2-1) was the hard-luck loser once again as Tennessee has scored four or fewer runs in 12 of his 36 career starts. He surrendered five runs (four earned) on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Relievers Patrick Hicklen and Craig Cobb were touched for two runs on five hits over the final 4 2/3 innings.
Tennessee plays host to the Wofford Terriers, March 31 at 7 p.m. ET.