April 26, 2013
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Tennessee couldn't get the big hit it needed until it was too late as Florida won the series opener over the Volunteers, 7-2, on Friday night at McKethan Stadium.
"Besides the fact that the scoreboard hasn't been in our favor as of late, the fact that the scoreboard looks like it does tonight - with two runs on 10 hits - is alarming to me," UT head coach Dave Serrano said. "We [aren't] getting hits in the times when we need to get our hits and we aren't taking quality at-bats. We don't expect guys to get hits all the time, but we need quality at-bats when there are runners in scoring position.
"We have to become a better baseball team. We have to be steps ahead. We are creating our own problems as a team that are causing the frustrations and results that we had today."
UT stranded seven runners in scoring position and 11 overall in the contest, including six over the game's first four innings. The Vols were 3-for-18 with runners on base with two of those hits coming off the bat of Will Maddox.
The Gators, meanwhile, used three home runs, including a three-run blast by Taylor Gushue that keyed a four-run third inning, to race out to a 7-0 lead after five innings.
Maddox and Vincent Jackson paced a 10-hit UT offensive attack, as both went 3-for-4 on the night. Maddox had two doubles and drove in a run while Jackson had a pair of singles and a double. After missing five games due to injury, Scott Price had two hits in his return to the Tennessee lineup as well.
The Big Orange put at least one runner on base in each of the first five innings but couldn't find a way to crack the scoreboard, leaving runners stranded in scoring position in each of the first four frames.
After a scoreless sixth, the Vols had another prime scoring opportunity slip the cracks in the top of the seventh as a Florida error and a Baltimore Chop double by Maddox put runners on second and third with just one out, only to see a strikeout and a one-hopper to short end the threat.
Tennessee finally got on the scoreboard in the top of the ninth when Ethan Bennett reached to start the inning and scored from first on a double to right-center by Maddox two batters later. A wild pitch then moved Maddox up to third, allowing him to score on an RBI groundout by A.J. Simcox.
Aaron Quillen (1-3) suffered the loss for the Vols after allowing seven runs on 10 hits and striking out three in 4.1 innings. Eric Martin and Matt Esparza came out of the UT bullpen to fire 3.2 scoreless innings of relief to keep the Gators off the scoreboard the rest of the night. Martin worked 2.2 hitless frames while Esparza pitched around a leadoff single in the bottom of the eighth.
Tennessee and Florida will play another 7 p.m. contest on Saturday with UT right-handed pitcher Nick Williams (2-3, 5.28) set to face Gator right-hander Jonathon Crawford (3-5, 4.37) whose start was pushed back a day after a minor ankle injury.