April 9, 2005
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Down a run in the top of the ninth inning Saturday, the No. 25-ranked Tennessee baseball team managed to load the bases against Kentucky. The Volunteers' rally fell short, however, and UT dropped a heart-breaking 5-4 decision to the Wildcats at UK's Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Tennessee fell to 22-9 (6-4 SEC) with the loss, while the Wildcats improved to 16-13 (1-9 SEC). Vols freshman J.P. Arencibia went 3-for-5 to lead the Big Orange, but Kentucky's relief pitching was efficient enough to hold Tennessee in-check late in the game.
Tennessee put two runners on base with no outs in the top of the ninth, as junior Josh Alley drew a leadoff walk and senior Eric King reached on a throwing error by Wildcats reliever Adam Revelette. Vols co-captain Eli Iorg then laid down a sacrifice bunt, advancing King and Alley to second and third, respectively.
Following Iorg's sacrifice, the Wildcats intentionally walked Tennessee third baseman Chase Headley to load the bases with one out. Kentucky reliever Scott Green then came through with consecutive strikeouts to end the Vols' threat and give the Cats the dramatic one-run victory.
The series concludes Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. The rubber match will be televised on CSS. The projected starting pitchers are sophomore right-hander Craig Cobb (3-1, 4.65 ERA) for Tennessee and right-handed junior Kalen Gibson (4-1, 3.97 ERA) for Kentucky.
The Vols' first run Saturday came in the top of the second inning, when Arencibia scored all the way from second base as senior Alex Suarez reached on a throwing error by Kentucky third baseman J.B. Schmidt. Suarez was hit by Wildcats starting hurler Aaron Tennyson one pitch earlier, but home plate umpire A.J. Lostaglio ruled that Suarez had leaned into the pitch. Suarez then stepped back into the batter's box and laced a sharply hit ball that Schmidt bobbled before throwing over first baseman Michael Bertram's head.
The Wildcats plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the second, with the first coming as Bertram scored on a groundout by catcher Justin Scutchfield. Kentucky then took its first lead of the series when designated hitter Collin Cowgill scored on a fielding error.
Kentucky right-fielder Billy Grace made it a 3-1 Wildcats lead with a solo home run to right field in the bottom of the third.
Arencibia countered with a solo blast of his own in the top of the fourth inning. The Miami, Fla., native's seventh homer of the year put him four away from tying former Vol Todd Helton's school freshman record of 11 set in 1993.
After pounding out five hits and one home run in the series opener Friday, Headley hit another homer to give the Vols a 4-3 lead in the top of the fifth inning Saturday. The long ball was Headley's eighth of the season and his team-best fourth of the year in SEC play.
Wildcats outfielder John Shelby re-tied the score at 4-4 with a solo home run to left field in the bottom of the fifth. And in the bottom of the sixth, Kentucky managed to take a one-run lead courtesy of an RBI sacrifice fly by Shaun Lehmann. Shortstop Ryan Wilkes plated what would ultimately prove to be the game-winning run on the play to make it 5-4 Kentucky.
Left-handed freshman James Adkins made his ninth start of the season for Tennessee and took a no-decision after allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits with four walks and five strikeouts. Senior right-hander Joey Andrews made his 60th career appearance and dropped to 1-2 on the year after giving up one run on two hits with one walk and a career-high-tying six strikeouts.
Tennyson allowed one unearned run on four hits with three strikeouts in three innings worked for Kentucky. Right-hander Greg Dombrowski came on in relief for the Wildcats and lasted just 1/3 of an inning after giving up two runs (one earned) on one hit with one walk.
Left-hander Craig Snipp replaced Dombrowski and tossed 2 1/3 innings, surrendering one run on two hits. Brock Baber then spent two sharp innings on the hill for UK and was pulled after giving up just one hit with one strikeout. Baber picked up the win to move to 1-2 this season. Revelette threw 1/3 inning late in the game for UK.