April 22, 2005
NASHVILLE -- The No. 16 Tennessee baseball team used a five-run seventh inning to pull ahead of Vanderbilt Friday night, and the Volunteers went on to post an 8-4 victory at Charles Hawkins Field. The win was Tennessee's fifth in a row and marked UT's first win in Nashville since 2001.
The Vols overcame four errors to improve to 28-10 (10-5 SEC) with the win, and Vanderbilt fell to 25-12 (7-9 SEC) with the loss. Senior Eric King and freshman J.P. Arencibia each drove in a pair of runs for the Vols, who cranked out 12 hits to the Commodores' eight
Vols starting pitcher Luke Hochevar picked up the win to move to 9-2 on the season. The national pitcher of the year candidate gave up three runs (one earned) on eight hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Hochevar's 19th career victory moved him into a tie for ninth place on UT's all-time list.
Vanderbilt dealt the first blow Friday when designated hitter Rucker Taylor scored on a third-inning fielding error in the Tennessee outfield. Wind gusts swirled up to 20 mph throughout the game, turning what would have typically been routine fly balls and popups into tricky plays all over the field.
An RBI double by Vandy shortstop Dominic De La Osa drove in Brian Hernandez in the bottom of the fourth to give the Commodores a 2-0 lead.
A sacrifice bunt by UT senior Alex Suarez in the top of the fifth then put Tennessee runners on second and third with one out. Junior second baseman Michael Rivera scored as Josh Alley
reached on a fielding error by De La Osa, and freshman outfielder Julio Borbon then came up for the Vols and plated King with an RBI fielder's choice. Borbon's 20th RBI of the season
tied the game at 2-2.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Vanderbilt notched its second unearned of the game as first baseman Mike Baxter scored on Tennessee's fourth error of the night. The Commodores threatened to add to their newly acquired one-run lead later in the inning, but Hochevar got De La Osa to strike out looking, stranding VU runners on second and third.
Three consecutive Tennessee basehits enabled the Vols to re-tie the game at 3-3 in the seventh inning. Junior third baseman Chase Headley sent an RBI single to left field that knocked in Alley from second base. Borbon and Headley were later driven in on a two-RBI single up the middle by Arencibia to give the Vols their first lead of the game at 5-3.
Vanderbilt changed pitchers midway through the seventh in an effort to stop the bleeding, but it was to no avail as Tennessee recorded two more runs in the inning to extend its lead to 7-3. The Vols' sixth and seventh runs of the game came off a two-RBI double down the left-field line by King. The ball rolled under a fence and into the Vanderbilt bullpen on the play, resulting in an automatic ground-rule double that prevented any additional runs from scoring.
An RBI double by Rivera in the top of the ninth inning plated Vols designated hitter Kelly Edmundson to make the score 8-3, and Vanderbilt managed one unearned run in the bottom of the ninth to make the final score 8-4.
Sophomore Sean Watson tossed the final 1 1/3 innings for Tennessee and struck out two batters while allowing one unearned run. The right-hander notched his third save of the year in his seventh bullpen appearance.
Commodores starter Jensen Lewis lasted 6 1/3 innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on nine hits with six strikeouts and two walks. The nine hits were the most given up by Lewis all season, and he took the loss to drop to 6-2 on the year. Senior reliever Ryan Rote replaced Lewis but was chased from the game after surrendering two runs on one hit with one walk.
Starting Vanderbilt left fielder Stephen Shao was called on to pitch the final 2 2/3 innings and was touched for one run on two hits with one strikeout.
The series resumes Saturday at 6 p.m. CT, with Mt. Juliet, Tenn., native James Adkins (6-1, 2.07 ERA) making the start for Tennessee and junior left-hander Ryan Mullins (4-0, 2.72 ERA) taking the hill for Vanderbilt. Saturday's contest will be televised on CSS.