May 8, 2005
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- After winning a pair of one-run ballgames earlier in the weekend, the No. 13 Tennessee baseball team posted a convincing 11-5 win over South Carolina Sunday afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The victory put an exclamation point on the Volunteers' first Southeastern Conference series sweep of the season, and Tennessee now stands atop the SEC with a 35-14 (15-8 SEC) record.
Freshman All-America candidate James Adkins enjoyed a solid outing for the Vols and picked up the win to improve to 7-2 on the year. The Mt. Juliet, Tenn., native allowed three runs on six hits with one walk and four strikeouts.
Offensively, the Vols were led by senior Alex Suarez, who had three RBIs on two hits. Four other Vols had multiple hits, and three drove in two runs each. Tennessee posted 15 hits to just seven for South Carolina (32-16, 12-12 SEC). The weekend series drew 4,902.
Suarez produced Tennessee's first run of the day when he sent an RBI single through the left side of the infield, driving in shortstop Eric King from second base.
The Vols added three more runs on five hits in the bottom of the third. Junior right fielder Eli Iorg doubled to leadoff the inning and later scored on an RBI basehit by freshman designated hitter J.P. Arencibia. Arencibia then plated UT's third run of the day when fellow freshman Julio Borbon singled to right field.
South Carolina starting pitcher Jason Fletcher was lifted after Borbon's RBI basehit and was replaced by right-hander Jeff Jeffords, whose first pitch hit King to load the bases with no outs. Following a double play, Vols third baseman Chase Headley crossed home plate on an RBI double by junior catcher Kelly Edmundson.
Tennessee once again loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the sixth inning and went on to score seven runs on four hits. Arencibia drew a bases-loaded walk, enabling Suarez to come home. Headley brought in two more runs when he laced a two-RBI double to left field, and he later scored when Michael Rivera was hit by a pitch with the bases still loaded. Borbon added to Tennessee's seven-run inning when he scored on an RBI single by Edmundson.
In his second at-bat of the inning, Suarez knocked in King and Rivera to make the score 11-0 heading into the seventh. After six innings, Tennessee had twice as many hit batsmen (4) as South Carolina had hits (2).
South Carolina dashed all hopes of a Tennessee shutout by putting up three runs in the top of the eighth inning. The first run came off an RBI double by catcher Ryan Mahoney, and Phil Disher and Steven Tolleson each also drove in runs for the Gamecocks.
The Gamecocks cut UT's lead to six runs in the top of the ninth when outfielder Brendan Winn hit a two-run home run to left field.
Senior right-hander Joey Andrews pitched the final 1 1/3 innings for Tennessee and was touched for two runs (one earned) on one hit while striking out two. Andrews' 65th career appearance as a Vol (fourth-most all-time in school history) capped a weekend during which he also earned his degree in marketing.
Fletcher allowed four runs on six hits with two walks and a strikeout in just two innings on the hill for South Carolina. Jeffords worked three innings and surrendered two runs on three hits with one strikeout. Four other Gamecocks relievers combined to give up five runs on six hits through the final three innings.
Tennessee now travels to Baton Rouge, La., for a three-game weekend series at LSU (33-16, 14-10 SEC) featuring SEC division leaders.