April 9, 2004
Athens, Ga. - Derek Tharpe struck out nine in his second complete game effort of the season as the No. 12 Tennessee Volunteers posted a 4-1 victory over the No. 25 Georgia Bulldogs at Foley Field en route the best start in school history at 27-5. Game two of the series is Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.
Tennessee extended its winning streak to six games while pushing its lead in the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division to two games at 7-3. Georgia dropped to 20-11 and 5-5 in the league.
After taking no decisions in his last two starts, Derek Tharpe (6-0) held the Bulldogs hitless through the first 3 1/3 innings, retiring 10 of the first 11 batters he faced to keep his record unblemished. He was touched for two hits in the fourth and fifth, but got a couple of inning-ending strikeouts to halt the threats.
Tharpe scattered seven hits while giving up a solo home run to Justin Holmes in the eighth for the lone Georgia run.
Paul Lubrano (3-3) was almost equal to the task by shutting out the Vols in five of the six full innings he worked in taking the loss. He gave up four of his six hits allowed in a three-run third while finishing with four strikeouts and four walks in 6 2/3 innings.
Brian Cleveland put Tennessee on the board in the third with his third home run of the season. With two out, the Vols reeled of three consecutive singles, including a two-run shot up the middle by Kyle Norrid scoring Josh Alley and Eric King for a 3-0 lead. Alley started the rally with a bunt hit to the right side, while King slapped a single to left before both moved up on a failed pick off throw at second by Lubrano.
Tennessee added an insurance run in the eighth off Bo Lanier as Cleveland delivered a seeing-eye RBI single that bounced over the mound and bounded past second base between the diving shortstop and second baseman scoring Alex Suarez who reached on his second and took second on Kelly Edmundson's single to right.
Josh Morris went 2-for-3 to lead the Bulldogs at the plate.