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Tennessee Falls to UNC Asheville, 13-10
Michael Rivera

Michael Rivera

March 30, 2005

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee baseball team became the second SEC squad to fall victim to UNC Asheville this season, as the Bulldogs downed the Volunteers 13-10 Wednesday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. After beating Florida 8-5 on March 9, UNCA produced 16 of the game's 30 hits in Tennessee's longest contest of the year.

Tennessee fell to 18-8 (3-3 SEC) with the loss, and the Bulldogs improved to 8-16 (1-5 Big South). The game lasted three hours and sixteen minutes.

Senior first baseman Alex Suarez continued his streak of fine play, going 3-for-5 with one RBI and two runs scored. Junior second baseman Michael Rivera drove in three runs, and third baseman Chase Headley scored three runs while drawing four walks.

In the top of the first inning, UNC Asheville batted around and put up four runs on five hits. Shortstop Josh Coyle doubled to left-center to start things off for UNCA. Then the Bulldogs' next batter, right fielder Nathan Durham, hit a two-run homer to left field. Later in the inning, Johnny Martinez knocked in Elliott Arrington with an RBI single. The Bulldogs plated one more run in the first when Kevin Mattison was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, bringing in catcher John Whited from thid base.

Designated hitter J.P. Arencibia found the bases loaded when he came up in the bottom of the first, and the freshman found a hole up the left side and drove in leadoff man Josh Alley. Two batters later, Rivera hit a two-RBI double to left field, scoring Eli Iorg and Headley. The Vols tied it at 4-4 when Arencibia scored from third on a wild pitch.

Coyle put the Bulldogs up by a pair of runs in the third inning when he hit a two-RBI single to center field, making the score 6-4.

With three runs in the bottom of the fifth, Tennessee managed to take a 7-6 lead. Headley scored from third on a balk by UNCA starting pitcher Ben Buchanan, and catcher Kelly Edmundson beat the throw to home plate on a sacrifice fly to right field by Rivera. The Vols seventh run of the night came as Suarez scored from second base on an RBI double by freshman outfielder Julio Borbon.

The Vols' lead was short-lived however, as UNC Asheville answered with five runs in the top of the sixth inning. A two-RBI double by Mattison, a two-RBI single by Whited and a bases-loaded walk made the score 11-7 in the Bulldogs' favor.

Tennessee cut the Bulldogs' lead to two runs with a two-run seventh inning. A balk by UNCA pitcher Tim Johnson enabled Rivera to score from third, and Suarez came home an RBI groundout by senior shortstop Eric King.

The Bulldogs then quickly reclaimed their four-run lead with a pair of runs in the top of the eighth. Both runs scored on a two-RBI double by Durham. Durham attempted to reach third on the play and was thrown out, prompting an argument that resulted in the ejection of UNCA head coach Willie Stewart.

Senior right-hander Rob Fitzgerald got the starting nod for Tennessee and left after allowing four runs on five hits in 2/3 inning. Junior Jabe Beard threw the next 2 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits with one walk and a career-high five strikeouts.

Senior reliever Chris Howell threw 2 1/3 innings and was touched for two runs on one hit with three strikeouts and a walk. Howell gave way to junior left-hander Trey Bridges, who gave up three runs on one hit while facing three batters in the the sixth.

Joey Andrews was UT's fifth pitcher of the night, and the senior tossed 2/3 inning before being replaced by sophomore right-hander Craig Cobb. Cobb went two innings and gave up two runs on three hits while walking one and striking out two. Sophomore Sean Watson threw the final inning for Tennessee, giving up one hit and striking out two Bulldogs batters.

In total, the Vols used seven pitchers Wednesday night. Howell took the loss and dropped to 1-2 on the year. Eric Brotzman (2-3) got the win for UNCA, and Graham Baughn picked up his third save of the season.

Buchanan left the game after surrendering seven runs on 10 hits with two walks and four strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings of action. Brotzman then came in allowed two runs on two hits with four walks and one strikeout. Tim Johnson tossed two full innings before giving way to Vaughn in the ninth.

The Vols return to SEC play this weekend when No. 13-ranked Mississippi State (17-5, 4-2 SEC) visits for a three-game series. Friday and Saturday's games begin at 7 p.m. ET, and Sunday's series finale starts at 2 p.m. ET.

 

 

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