May 13, 2014
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - In a game that fell just three minutes shy of hitting the five-hour mark, Tennessee outlasted Morehead State, 14-13, in 12 innings to win the longest game in school history on Tuesday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Senior Scott Price ended the four-hour and 57-minute affair with his fifth hit of the day, a two-out walk-off single through the right side of the infield. His base hit plated fellow classmate Taylor Smart who had reached on an infield single and stolen second just moments before.
Tuesday's contest broke the previous mark for the longest game in UT history which had been four hours and 48 minutes, set against Western Kentucky on Feb. 21, 2012. The game was also the third straight to go to extra innings for the Volunteers, marking the first time in the 105 years of program history that the team has done that.
"You learn from a game like this," UT head coach Dave Serrano said. "It's easier to learn when you come out on top, I believe. You don't need to lose games like this to learn. A lot of good things happened tonight, but for me Eric Martin is the man of the day, the Vol of the day.
"You look at the offensive numbers and there are some pretty gaudy numbers, but that young man, who hasn't pitched a whole lot, showed the rest of the pitching staff how it's done. It couldn't have happened to a better guy. He went out there and kept it simple."
In a game that saw the two teams combine two walk 21 batters and hit eight others, Martin was able to throw strikes and get crucial outs as he gave the Vols three shutout innings to record his first win of the season and second of his career. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native yielded just one hit and a single walk.
The game against Morehead State saw a total of 40 players record time on the field, including 17 pitchers, as well as 66 total baserunners. Price led an 18-hit offensive attack by Tennessee, going 5-for-8 with two doubles, two RBIs and a pair of runs scored.
Christin Stewart hit a game-tying home run, his fifth of the season in the bottom of the ninth, while Will Maddox added three hits and Smart reached base five times, going 2-for-4 with three walks, two RBIs and three runs scored, including the game winner.
The Vols cracked the scoreboard first, using three infield singles, including an RBI single to the hole at short by Nathaniel Maggio to plate the game's first run.
The Eagles had an immediate answer though, scoring twice in the top of the second and getting a grand slam from Kane Sweeney in the fourth to jump out to a 6-1 lead.
Tennessee got two of those runs back in the home half of the inning thanks to an RBI single back up the middle by Price and a bases-loaded balk by MSU pitcher Noah Smallwood.
The see-saw battle continued into the fifth when Morehead State returned its lead five at 8-3 on a sacrifice fly and a two-strike, two-out RBI single. That's when the floodgates finally opened for the Orange and White offense though, as it proceeded to send 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the inning, scoring eight runs on seven hits, to take an 11-8 advantage.
Nick Senzel got the ball rolling with a single to left before a walk and a hit batter quickly loaded the bases. An RBI single by A.J. Simcox and sac fly to deep right by David Houser moved UT within a single tally at 8-7.
Smart followed with the first of five consecutive hits for the Big Orange to bring both runners home. Price, Maddox, Stewart and Senzel would each add hits of their own to bring in four more runs until the inning finally came to a close on an interference call at second.
After scoreless stanzas in the sixth and seventh, Morehead State took advantage of four walks, an error and two hit batters by four different UT pitchers to score five runs on just one hit and take the lead back, 13-11.
Tennessee inched back within one in the home half of the eighth, using three walks and an Eagle error to make it a 13-12 game. Stewart then launched a moonshot to right-center to lead off the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and send it to extra innings where Price would eventually win it for the Big Orange.
Tennessee will close out the regular season later this week when No. 13 Florida makes the trek to Rocky Top for a three-game set that will decide UT's postseason fate. Game times are set for 6 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday before a 1 p.m. showdown on Saturday that will be televised on CSS with Matt Stewart and former Vol Rusty Ensor on the call.