April 5, 2011
By Cameron Harris, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee baseball team dropped its first mid-week decision of the season, falling 10-6 to Presbyterian (18-11) on Tuesday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Junior Zach Osborne and sophomore Chris Fritts each had a pair of hits for the Volunteers (19-10) in the loss.
"It was a tough one," UT Head Coach Todd Raleigh said. "I knew going in this was going to be our toughest mid-week game of the year. That kid (Steven Richardson) beat Clemson a couple of weeks ago when they were number four in the country and he threw a one-hitter last week, so I knew runs were going to be tough tonight. It was a trap game and we got trapped. We didn't play well."
In addition to the two-hit performances by Fritts and Osborne, freshman Andrew Toles had a pair of RBIs on two run-scoring groundouts. After entering the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning, senior Tyler Horne scored two runs and knocked in another with a double high off the wall in left-center in the ninth inning.
Redshirt freshman Jon Reed suffered the first loss of his career despite not giving up an earned run. He finished with three innings of work, allowing two unearned runs on four hits and a walk while striking out two. Junior southpaw T.J. Thornton also posted a solid performance, tossing a scoreless ninth in which he struck out the side after issuing a leadoff infield single.
Presbyterian starter Steven Richardson picked up the win, his fourth of the season, with eight strong innings. He allowed just three runs, two earned, after scattering five hits, walking one and striking out five.
After both teams put up zeroes in the first two frames, Presbyterian struck first in the top of the third, plating two runs on an error and a pair of doubles. The Vols quickly countered with their first tally in the home half of the stanza, however, when Fritts ripped a one-out triple to the corner in left before coming home to score on a groundout to second base by Toles.
The Blue Hose answered with one run in the fourth and two more in the sixth though to take a 5-1 advantage. The Big Orange manufactured a run in the bottom of the sixth, using a leadoff single by Toles, a stolen base and back-to-back groundouts to second to cut its deficit to just three.
Once again, however, Presbyterian got the run back immediately on an RBI single in the top of the seventh. The Blue Hose then scored four in the eighth, using a bases-loaded passed ball and a three-run home run by Tony Micklon to jump ahead by a commanding eight-run margin at 10-2.
The Vols refused to go down without a fight, bringing in one run in the eighth and three more in the bottom of the ninth, but the hole was simply too deep to climb out of. In the eighth, Horne opened the frame by reaching on an error by the shortstop and moving up 90 feet to second on a passed ball. A groundout then moved him to third before Osborne brought him home with a single to left.
Down to its last three outs, UT tried its best to mount a last-inning rally but could only manage three runs. Senior Josh Liles got the ball rolling with a check-swing bloop single to right. After a one-out walk to junior Matt Ramsey, Horne smacked a double high off the wall in left-center for an RBI double. Fritts followed with a single up the middle to plate another run and Toles made it three in the inning with his second run-scoring groundout of the night, but PC closer Chandler Knox came on to get the final out of the game on a groundout to first.
Tennessee will have a short turnaround as No. 3South Carolina makes the trek to Rocky Top for a three-game set starting with the first ESPNU Thursday Night SEC Game of the Week at 7:30 p.m. on April 7. The two teams will then battle it out at 6 p.m. on Friday before closing out the series with a Noon showdown on Saturday, which will be televised live on SportSouth.