May 6, 2005
KNOXVILLE -- Julio Borbon singled home the winning run with two outs in the eighth inning to lift Tennessee to a 3-2 win over South Carolina in the opener of a key Southeastern Conference weekend series here Friday.
A crowd of 2,155 saw Josh Alley begin the Vols' rally with a leadoff walk. He advanced to second on a groundout by Eli Iorg and scored when Borbon lined his single to left off South Carolina reliever Brent Marsh.
Luke Hochevar fanned 13 Gamecocks over eight innings to lift his season total to 107. He allowed only four hits and faced just one above the minimum over his final five innings.
"I didn't locate my fastball early on and my pitch-count ran up," said Hochevar, who had thrown 60 pitches through three frames. "But I got in a groove after the third and really settled in."
Sean Watson struck out the side in the ninth, allowing only a two-out hit to Chris Brown before recording his fourth save.
"We pitched really well, played good defense and got timely hitting and that was the difference," UT head coach Rod Delmonico said. He added that Hochevar appears to pitch his best once the early innings have passed.
"After the third inning of the last two games he has really settled down. Part of it is he's just coming out a little too juiced and over-throwing a little bit. One he settled down, he really pitched well."
The junior right-hander allowed a pair of runs after two were retired in the third. Steven Tolleson belted a solo homer to left center -- only the third off Hochevar this season -- and Steve Pearce followed with a walk and later scored on a passed ball.
The Vols answered in their half of the third when J.P. Arencibia broke Todd Helton's UT freshman home run record with a two-run, two-out blast to left. It was the catcher's 12th round-tripper, eclipsing Helton's 1993 mark.
"It's an honor," Arencibia said of matching the former All-America first baseman. "He's an all-star, he's a former player of the year and it's great to be just on the same page as that guy."
Hochevar improved to 11-2 and lowered his earned-run average to 1.77. He improved to eighth on the UT season list for strikeouts in a season.
South Carolina starter Aaron Rawl nearly matched the Tennessee ace through his seven and one-third innings, permitting only three hits while striking out four. Rawl fell to 7-5 with the loss.
Tennessee, 33-14 and 13-8 in the SEC, pulled within one-half game of Florida for the SEC East lead after the Gators lost 4-1 at Arkansas. South Carolina remains third in the division at 12-10 while dropping to 32-14 overall.
The teams meet again Saturday at 1 p.m. Eastern time. Craig Cobb (5-2) starts for Tennessee against South Carolina's Zac McCamie (8-2).