May 5, 2007
KNOXVILLE -- A six-run seventh inning lifted the Tennessee baseball team to a 7-6 come-from-behind win over 13th-ranked Ole Miss Saturday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The Rebels made it interesting by loading the bases in the top of the ninth, but the Volunteers held on for their third one-run, comeback victory in as many games. Tennessee's triumph improved the team to 27-19 (10-11 SEC) and lifted it into seventh place in the overall Southeastern Conference standings.
Tennessee trailed 4-1 entering the bottom of the seventh before a two-run single up the middle by Vols shortstop Danny Lima pulled UT within one run, 4-3. Preseason All-America centerfielder Julio Borbon followed with a game-tying RBI basehit, and a sacrifice fielder's choice sacrifice by second baseman Tony Delmonico gave the Vols their first lead.
The Big Orange tacked on two more runs in the frame to go up 7-4. All-America catcher J.P. Arencibia brought in one run with an RBI single, and Delmonico scored from third base on a passed ball. All told, UT sent 10 batters to the plate in the seventh while posting six runs on four hits.
Vols freshman Jeff Lockwood - who scored one of UT's runs in the seventh - came on to close things out on the mound. He surrendered two runs on five hits through the final two innings, but struck out Rebels catcher Brett Basham to strand three runners and earn his team-high fifth save of the year.
Borbon, Arencibia and Lockwood each accounted for two of Tennessee's eight hits on the night. Danny Wiltz was the first arm out of the Tennessee bullpen, and he earned the win after throwing 2 1/3 shutout innings of middle relief. Wiltz is now 2-0 on the year.
True freshman left-hander Nick Hernandez made his third career start for the Vols in SEC play, and he began the day by working out of a jam in the top of the first inning. Ole Miss used a basehit and a pair of walks to load the bases with just one out, but Hernandez got Rebels centerfielder Logan Power to line into an inning-ending double play. Tennessee entered the game leading the SEC with 50 double plays on the year and finished with two Saturday.
The Rebels (31-18, 12-11 SEC) threatened again in the top of the second, however, and were successful in putting up a pair of unearned runs and assuming the early lead. The first run scored from second when Hernandez fielded a sacrifice bunt by Basham and unleashed a wild throw that eluded Arencibia at first base. The throwing error put Kyle Mills on third base, and he scored one batter later on an RBI sacrifice fly by right fielder Jordan Henry.
Ole Miss went up by three when C.J. Ketchum drove in a run with an RBI sacrifice fly in the third inning. And Hernandez was lifted in the fourth after an RBI basehit by Zach Miller gave the Rebels a 4-0 lead. Three of the Rebels first four runs initially reached base via walks.
After driving in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday, Simunic put the Vols on the scoreboard Saturday with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the fifth. The Collierville, Tenn., native's first home run of the season landed in the left-field bleachers and ended UT's five-game home run drought.
Tennessee put a pair of runners on base in the bottom of the seventh, and a wild pitch by Rebels starter Lance Lynn moved both men into scoring position for third baseman Cody Brown. Lynn then issued a base on balls to Brown, giving the Vols the tying run on first base. That set the stage for Lima's two-run line drive that jumpstarted the UT comeback.
Ole Miss scored two in the ninth before loading before loading the bases for Basham, who graduated from Knoxville's Bearden High School.
Hernandez was touched for four runs on four hits with six walks and two strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings while earning a no-decision. Rebels starter Lance Lynn (5-4) took the loss after giving up seven runs on five hits through 6 1/3 innings of action.
The series concludes Sunday at 1 p.m. Left-hander Nathan Baker (5-1, 3.35 ERA) will start for Ole Miss, while UT has not announced its starter.