April 23, 2004
Knoxville, Tenn. - Josh Alley went 4-for-4 with two doubles and Eric King added three hits with another pair of doubles as the No. 10 Tennessee Volunteers rapped out total of seven two baggers and held off a late LSU rally for an 8-6 victory over the No. 7 Tigers in the first of the three games at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Game two is Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.
Despite committing six errors, Tennessee (31-9, 10-6 SEC) used a pair of three-run innings in the third and seventh to pull out to a 7-3 lead before LSU (29-11, 8-8 SEC) mounted a furious three-run rally in the eighth only to leave the tying run at third after J.C. Holt tripled following the final two Vol errors to pull within 7-6.
Alley, who reached safely in all five plate appearances, collected his fourth hit leading off the eighth and scored an insurance run on Todd Martin's two-out single.
Scot Drucker, who entered in the eighth, yielded a walk to Jon Zeringue to lead off the ninth, but retired the next three hitters to preserve the win.
The win did not come easy as Tennessee lost the services of starter Derek Tharpe who left with two out in the fourth with a left elbow strain which will be evaluated further in the next couple of days. After running the count full to Clay Harris, Tharpe was visited on the mound by the trainer and UT coaching staff. He then threw one warm-up toss and immediately left the field.
LSU got its first run in the fourth as Ivan Naccarata walked, took third on Clay Harris' single he lined to center off Patrick Hicklen's first pitch after replacing Tharpe and later scored on a wild pitch.
Hicklen (3-2) worked 3 2/3 innings for the win, while Tiger starter Jason Determann (2-3) took the loss in 5 2/3 innings.
Tennessee got started by belting out four doubles in a three run third to break open the scoring. Alley, Kyle Norrid and Eli Iorg used all parts of the ball park in collecting their RBI in the frame. King led off with a double to center, taking third on an error by the center fielder. Alley doubled to right scoring King and then scored on Norrid's double to left center. Iorg capped the inning with another double to left plating Norrid.
The Tigers pulled to within 3-2 in the top of the sixth as Clay Harris drew a one-out walk and scored two batters later on Will Harris' single to left. But Alley wouldn't let the Vols fade as he collected his third hit of the night and second double scoring Brian Cleveland, who led off with a double, to get back the two-run cushion.
LSU tacked on another in the top of the seventh before King drove in two with his second double of the night to right capping a three-run inning as Tennessee went up 7-3.
LSU benefited from two Vol errors with two out in the eighth to cut the gap to 7-6. Naccarata led off with a single and advanced to third on Alley's second error of the game that allowe Will Harris to reach. Then, pinch hitter Blake Gill hit a liner to right that bounced out of Chase Headley's glove allowing Naccarata and Harris to score. Headley, a third baseman, was playing just his second game in right field.