May 13, 2005
BATON ROUGE, La. -- The No. 9 Tennessee baseball team pounded out double-digit hits for the fifth time in its last six games while defeating No. 11 LSU 9-2 Friday night at Alex Box Stadium. National pitcher of the year candidate Luke Hochevar struck out 10 and picked up his NCAA-leading 12th win of the season for the Vols, who remain atop the Southeastern Conference standings.
Tennessee improved to 36-14 (16-8 SEC) this season, including a 24-2 record when it posts at least 10 hits. LSU fell to 33-17 (14-11 SEC). Tennessee out-hit the Tigers 17-7 and holds a half-game lead over Florida, which defeated Mississippi State Friday.
Hochevar (12-2) worked eight innings and allowed two runs on seven hits. His season ERA now stands at 1.81 overall and 1.91 in the SEC. Hochevar's 22nd career victory moves him into a tie for third place on UT's all-time list. His 12 wins this season ties him for fourth place on the Vols' single-season list.
With two outs in the bottom of the first inning, LSU right fielder Nick Stavinoha hit a two-run homer to left field, giving the Tigers an early 2-0 lead.
Tigers third baseman Chris Jackson drew a walk in the bottom of the second inning to load the bases with two outs, but Hochevar got Blake Gill to groundout and end the threat.
Tennessee stranded two runners in both the first and second innings before plating its first run of the game in the top of the third. Junior right fielder Eli Iorg led off the inning with his second single in as many at-bats, and he then stole his 25th base of the season. Headley drove in Iorg with an RBI basehit that got past LSU shortstop Derek Hebert.
Hochevar had six strikeouts through the first four innings and had gotten four Tigers batters to strike out looking.
Iorg doubled down the left-field line in the top of the fifth inning to give him three hits in each of his first three plate appearances. In a move that paid off for the Vols, Iorg stole third base with two outs. He later scored on a wild pitch by LSU starter Lane Mestepey to tie the score at two.
Tennessee took its first lead of the night when it scored five runs on six hits in the top of the sixth. The inning's scoring started with back-to-back-to-back RBI hits by Edmundson, Alex Suarez and Alley. Suarez later crossed home plate on an RBI single by Headley, who made the score 7-2 when he scored on an RBI single by freshman catcher J.P. Arencibia.
The Vols extended their lead to seven runs with a two-run ninth inning. Freshman left fielder Julio Borbon led off the inning with a triple to right-center and later scored on RBI single by junior Michael Rivera. Alley then plated Rivera with an RBI groundout to cap the night's scoring.
Senior reliever Joey Andrews entered the game for UT in the ninth inning and allowed no runs on one hit with one strikeout.
Mestepey (6-7) took the loss after giving up five runs (four earned) on nine hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He gave way to fellow left-hander Jason Determann, who was lifted after giving up two unearned runs on four hits in just 1/3 inning.
Right-hander Jordan Faircloth tossed the final 3 1/3 innings for LSU and was touched for two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out four.
Rivera celebrated his 20th birthday Friday and finished 3-for-4 with one RBI and two runs scored.
The series resumes Saturday at 3 p.m. CT, with sophomore right-hander Craig Cobb (5-2, 4.19 ERA) taking the mound for Tennessee and sophomore left-hander Clay Dirks (9-2, 3.13 ERA) starting for LSU.