April 13, 2007
KNOXVILLE -- The Tennessee baseball team dropped a 4-3 decision to 18th-ranked Mississippi State Friday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Mississippi State used 13 hits -- all singles -- to take the first game of the weekend series, as the Volunteers fell to 20-14 (6-7 SEC) on the year.
Mississippi State (23-8, 8-5 SEC) used three basehits in the second inning to take a 1-0 lead. Bulldogs outfielder Jeff Flagg scored the game's first run on leadoff man Mark Goforth's two-out single up the middle.
Meanwhile, MSU starting pitcher Chad Crosswhite managed to keep the Vols batsmen off balance through the first three innings, facing the minimum during that span before issuing a fourth-inning walk to Tennessee All-America catcher J.P. Arencibia. The Bulldogs had collected six hits through four frames against only two for the Vols.
Five consecutive two-out MSU hits in the sixth enabled the Bulldogs to extend their lead to 4-0. Connor Powers drove in one run, and Goforth plated two more with a liner up the middle.
Tennessee mounted a three-hit rally in the sixth that resulted in two runs. After leading off the inning by reaching on an infield error, UT right fielder Andy Simunic scored from second base on an RBI basehit by second baseman Tony Delmonico. Arencibia then plated centerfielder Julio Borbon with an RBI fielder's choice to trim the Vols' deficit to a pair of runs, 4-2.
UT shortstop Danny Lima led off the bottom of the seventh with a single before scoring one batter later on left fielder Shawn Griffin's first triple as a Vol. Simunic later drew a one-out walk before advancing to second on a groundout by Borbon that put two Vols into scoring position. But Crosswhite induced an inning-ending popout that preserved State's one-run edge. That marked the end of Crosswhite's outing after the right-hander allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits while improving to 4-1 on the season.
Vols starting pitcher James Adkins lasted 6 2/3 innings in which he was touched for four runs on 13 hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. He took the loss to fall to 4-5 on the year. Sophomore right-hander Aaron Everett was lights-out in relief of Adkins, retiring all seven batters he faced through 2 1/3 innings.
Unfortunately for Tennessee, Bulldogs reliever Aaron Weatherford was no less impressive out of the bullpen. The right-hander recorded his first save of the year while tossing a pair of perfect innings with two Ks.
All seven hits for UT were recorded by different players. Freshman designated hitter Jeff Lockwood's second-inning single extended his hit streak to 12 games, marking the longest streak by a Vol this season.
The series resumes Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. Senior right-hander Craig Cobb (6-2, 4.62 ERA) will start on the mound for Tennessee, while junior left-hander Justin Pigott (3-3, 5.61 ERA) gets the start for MSU. Saturday's game will be televised regionally on CSS.