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Tennessee Turns Tide, Completes Series Win with 1-0 Victory Over No. 24 Alabama



April 16, 2011

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By Cameron Harris, Assistant Media Relations

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
R
H
E
UT
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
-
-
-
-
-
1
8
0
ALA
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
-
-
-
-
-
0
5
1
Pitching
IP
H
R
ER
BB
SO
W - Blount
5.0
3
0
0
1
1
L - Pilkington
4.0
6
1
1
0
1
L - Williams
1.1
1
0
0
0
0
Batting Leaders
AB
R
H
RBI
BB
SB
UT - Duffy
3
0
2
1
0
0
UT - Osborne
3
0
2
0
0
0
UT - Norfork
3
0
2
0
0
0
Team Notes
Tennessee improved to 21-15 overall and 4-11 in SEC play as it swept its second doubleheader of the season (vs. Manhattan 3/12)...UT is now 31-68 all-time against Alabama, including an 11-29 record in Tuscaloosa...The series win was the Orange and White's third ever in Tuscaloosa (1994, 2000)...The 1-0 win was Tennessee's first since it downed UNC Wilmington by the same score on Feb. 26, 2005...The shutout was the Big Orange's fourth of the season, its most since the team recorded six during the 2005 campaign...The UT pitching staff recorded just one strikeout, setting a season low, but also held Alabama to just five hits...The Tide had just nine hits in both games of the doubleheader combined...All four Alabama hits in the second game were singles...Tennessee's 2-3-4 hitters were a combined 6-for-9 with the only RBI of the game...All eight UT hits came from the top five hitters in the lineup...Official game time was two hours, seven minutes.

Individual Notes
Sophomore Nick Blount pitched a career-high five innings in his first start of the season and just the second of his career...He allowed three hits, walked one and struck out one as he held Alabama scoreless...Of his 63 pitches, 40 went for strikes...Freshman Nick Williams tallied his second save, retiring four of the five hitters he faced...Zach Osborne, Khayyan Norfork and Matt Duffy each had two-hit contests...Duffy also knocked in the only run of the game with an RBI double in the first...It was Norfork's team-leading 17th multi-hit contest of the year, Osborne's 17th and Duffy's 14th...Andrew Toles had the only other extra-base hit of the game with a double in the fifth...Tyler Horne also had a hit to finish a team-best 5-for-10 (.500) on the weekend.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Behind its second dominant pitching performance of the day, the Tennessee baseball team picked up just its third series win ever in Tuscaloosa, downing No. 24 Alabama, 1-0, to sweep Saturday's doubleheader and claim its first SEC series win of the season at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

"Both of our starting pitchers were outstanding today," UT Head Coach Todd Raleigh. "Steven Gruver really set the tone for us (in game one) and pitched great. He got in a few jams and walked a few more than he usually does, but he was able to make the pitches when he had to. His off-speed was as good today as it has been all year. Nick Blount in the second game was just unbelievable. Groundball city. We got a long of groundballs today as a staff.

"I think this gives us some confidence. We've been so close. We were due for some good things to happen. They hit into a couple of big double plays and that has been us. I think this shows that we can win even when we don't play our best. People don't want to hear that we are hurt, but we are. We have five or six guys that are either out or playing on one leg, but that never came up in the dugout today. A lot of guys stepped up. A lot of that is senior leadership from Khayyan (Norfork), Josh (Liles) and Matt (Duffy).

"We've been doing the right things, but haven't been getting the outcome. This shows us that we can do it as long as we stay positive. The reality is that we are right where we were at this same time last year and we had a chance (to make the SEC Tournament) in the last weekend. Not that this is where we want to be because it isn't, but we just have to keep moving forward."

With the doubleheader sweep, the Big Orange claimed its first SEC series win of the season and just its third ever in Tuscaloosa (1994, 2000). Tennessee, which won the first half of the doubleheader, 2-1, improved to 21-15 on the season and 4-11 through the first half of its conference schedule. The SEC's Western Division leader, Alabama falls to 24-15 and 8-7 in league contests.

Making his first start of the season and just the second of his career, sophomore Nick Blount was outstanding on the mound, holding Alabama scoreless over a career-high five innings, yielding just three hits, walking one and striking out another.

Freshman Nick Williams came on to close out the contest for the Vols, retiring four of the last five hitters, including a big out with two runners on in the sixth, for his second save.

At the plate, the 2-3-4 hitters for Tennessee were a combined 6-for-9 as junior Zach Osborne and seniors Khayyan Norfork and Matt Duffy each went 2-for-3. Duffy drove in the only run of the game with an RBI double to the gap in left-center in the top of the first after one-out singles by both Osborne and Norfork.

Senior Tyler Horne also added a hit to finish a team-best 5-for-10 on the weekend, while freshman Andrew Toles laced a two-out double, his ninth of the season, in the fifth.

Alabama threatened a number of times, but the Tennessee pitching staff rose to the occasion each time. In the third, a leadoff single moved all the way to third thanks to a sac bunt and a groundout, but Blount was able to bear down to get Brock Bennett to bounce out to third to keep the scoreboard clean.

The Crimson Tide tried again in the fourth when Jerod Reaves collected a leadoff single. Alabama star Taylor Dugas, however, bounced into his second double play of the day. The Tide centerfielder had not hit into a double play until he ended the first game of the doubleheader with one. UA had the beginnings of a two-out rally with a walk and a single, but Blount induced a pop-up to first to end the frame.

Alabama put a runner in scoring position once again in the sixth, but Williams came out of the bullpen to relieve sophomore Drew Steckenrider and got David Kindred to groundout harmlessly to Davis Morgan at first.

Tennessee will return to the diamond at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, when it opens a five-game homestand against Western Carolina. The Vols will then host Georgia next weekend, with game times set for 6 p.m. on Friday, April 22, 4 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

For the most up-to-date information on Tennessee baseball, visit www.UTSports.com/baseball and be sure to follow @Vol_Baseball on Twitter.

 

 

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