Brian Van Kirk
March 29, 2006
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee baseball team's late-inning rally fell one-run short Wednesday night as the 21st-ranked Volunteers dropped a 9-8 contest to ETSU at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The Buccaneers benefited from four UT errors in the game, as Tennessee's losing streak hit three games. Vols senior Kelly Edmundson drove in two runs on three hits, giving him eight RBIs in his last two games against ETSU.
Tennessee fell to 17-8 (1-4 SEC) with the setback, and the Bucs improved to 17-8 (6-3 ASC). It was ETSU's first win over UT since 1999, snapping a streak of 12 straight Big Orange victories in the series.
The Vols mounted a serious rally while facing a four-run deficit in the bottom of the eighth. After each of UT's first three batters reached base safely, preseason All-America catcher J.P. Arencibia drove in one run with an RBI sacrifice fly. Centerfielder Julio Borbon then strolled home from third base on a balk by Bucs relief ace Steven Calicutt, and Edmundson provided UT's final run of the game with an RBI double to left-centerfield that plated Michael Rivera.
The day's scoring started when ETSU right fielder Shane Byrne scored from first base on an RBI double by centerfielder Stephen Douglas in the top of the first inning. It marked the third time in UT's last five games that its opponent had scored in the first frame.
The Vols loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the first, and a wild pitch by Bucs' starting pitcher Jeremy Hall enabled Rivera to score from third and tie the game at 1-1. Then with a pair of runners in scoring position, UT first baseman Chris Kemp plated Arencibia with an RBI groundout.
In the bottom of the third, Arencibia singled for the second time in as many at-bats. He scored one batter later as Edmundson - who homered twice and drove in six runs against ETSU last season - sent an RBI double down the right-field line to put the Vols up 3-1.
Following Edmundson's double, Kemp and third baseman Cody Brown reached on a basehit and a walk, respectively, loading the bases with one out. A passed ball then brought in Edmundson to extend the Vols' lead to three-runs.
ETSU used a walk and back-to-back doubles to post two runs on two hits in the fourth inning. Both runs crossed on a double by designated hitter Matt Traylor.
The Bucs put runners on the corners with no outs in the top of the fifth, and cleanup batter C.J. Lee then drew a walk to load the bases. Chuck Hargis hit a dribbler to Brown at third, who threw home to put out the lead runner. But a throwing error on the play allowed Douglas to score. Lee was later driven in on an RBI single by Justin Aughey, and Hargis scored on an RBI sacrifice fly by Blake Church to give ETSU a 6-4 advantage.
The Buccaneers added to their lead in the sixth, stretching their lead to three-runs on an RBI sac fly by Douglas.
Arencibia stepped into the batter's box with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, and Bucs head coach Tony Skole made the call to the bullpen for sidearm reliever Caleb Glafenhein. The move paid off, as Arencibia sent a blast to deep center that was chased down at the wall to kill the Vols' scoring threat.
Douglas recorded his second RBI hit of the day in the seventh, making the score 8-4.
Tennessee cut into its four-run deficit when Van Kirk delivered an RBI double that plated backup first baseman Ryan Castellanos all the way from first base. But the Bucs restored their four-run cushion by posting their third RBI sac fly of the evening - courtesy of Traylor - in the eighth inning. It proved to be the game-winner.
Tennessee starting pitcher Deunte Heath (2-2) lasted five full innings, during which he was touched for six runs on nine hits with three walks. Right-handers Chase Hardin, Aaron Everett and Craig Cobb each worked the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, respectively, combining to allow two run on four hits.
Vols junior closer Sean Watson worked a perfect ninth inning, striking out two.
Hall left the game after giving up four runs on seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Bucs left-hander Joey McCown was the first man out of the bullpen, and he tossed 2 2/3 shutout frames. Glafenhein then pitched 1 1/3 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on three hits. Calicutt worked the final two innings and picked up his fifth save of the season.
The Vols lead the all-time series with ETSU 53-8, dating to 1967.
Tennessee departs Thursday for Fayetteville, Ark., where it faces 10th-ranked Arkansas (21-5, 2-4 SEC) for a three-game series at Baum Stadium. The Vols won two of three games against the Razorbacks last season in Knoxville and hold a 21-16 all-time edge in the series, dating to 1992.