April 17, 2007
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee baseball team exploded for a season-high five home runs Tuesday while posting a 12-6 victory over Furman at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Preseason All-America centerfielder Julio Borbon smacked a pair of homers - one into left-field bleachers and one that hit the top of the scoreboard in right field - as the Volunteers improved to 21-14 on the year.
The game's momentum swung back and forth for the first six innings until UT's Yan Gomes and Shawn Griffin each came through with three-run homers in the bottom of the seventh, delivering a collective knockout blow to a pesky Paladins club that fell to 10-26 overall.
Borbon's first career multi-homer game gave him a career-high-tying eight total bases and brought his career home run total to six. Sophomore Aaron Everett earned his second career win - and his first of the 2007 season - by working 2 1/3 innings of relief in which he was touched for one run on three hits.
Furman used a leadoff line drive and a pair of infield singles to load the bases with one out in the top of the first. Jay Jackson then plated the day's first run with an RBI sacrifice fly to give the Paladins an early 1-0 lead. And an RBI single by Joey Rodgers in the second inning spotted Furman a two-run advantage before UT had recorded its first hit.
Borbon tied the game at 2-2 with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the third inning, smacking a two-run homer into the left-field bleachers. It was the junior's first home run of the season and a hint of what would be more to come later in the night.
Jackson was quick to put Furman back on top however, belting a solo shot of his own in the fourth. The left fielder's second RBI in as many at-bats brought the score to 3-2.
The longball continued to be the weapon of choice in the bottom of the fourth, as Tennessee designated hitter Jeff Lockwood used a towering leadoff homer to pull the Vols even once again, 3-3. It was the Knoxville, Tenn., native's fourth round-tripper of the year.
Tennessee right fielder Andy Simunic led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a single and later scored on an RBI groundout by second baseman Tony Delmonico to give the Big Orange their first lead of the night, 4-3.
Furman countered with a pair of runs on three hits in the top of the sixth. Jackson continued to serve as the catalyst for the Paladins offensive attack, scoring on an RBI single by Joe Daysh after initially reaching on a single of his own. A single to centerfield by Rodgers drove in Daysh later in the frame to give Furman a 5-4 lead. Vols starting pitcher Craig Cobb was lifted midway through the top of the sixth after surrendering five runs on 11 hits through 5 2/3 innings. He earned a no-decision to hold steady at 6-2 on the year.
Furman brought a new arm to the mound for the bottom of the sixth, as Spencer Hale spelled starter Nick Hollstegge after five full innings of six-hit, four-run ball with five strikeouts. Hale issued a leadoff walk to Gomes, who eventually scored on a two-base throwing error as Hale fielded a slow roller by Danny Lima and air-mailed the ball into the right-field corner.
One inning after scoring the tying run, Gomes unleashed his team-high sixth home run of the season to give the Vols a three-run cushion - their largest of the night to that point. Lockwood then reached and advanced to second when Furman right fielder Will Stembridge dropped a routine fly ball, and Lima was hit by a pitch to set up Griffin's three-run homer. Griffin's third home run of the year pushed the score to 11-6.
Furman kept battling, however, scoring one run before eventually loading the bases with no outs in the top of the eighth. But Everett induced a double-play line drive and an inning-ending flyball consecutively to limit the damage and preserve a comfortable five-run lead.
The Paladins added one final run on an RBI sacrifice fly by Campbell Lewis in the ninth to bring the final score to 12-7. Furman's 15 hits on the night were six more than UT managed, making it just the fourth time this season that Tennessee won a game despite being out-hit.
Sophomore Ryne Simpson threw the final inning for UT giving up one run on one hit and recording a pair of strikeouts. Matt Klinker (3-5) took the loss for Furman after occupying the mound for UT's six-run seventh inning.
Lockwood logged two hits on the day to extend his active hit streak to 13 games (the longest by a Vol this year).
Tennessee returns to action Wednesday at 7 p.m. when it hosts Lincoln Memorial University at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.