May 15, 2011
By Cameron Harris, Assistant Media Relations Director
BATON ROUGE, La. - Tennessee junior Charley Thurber continued his hot weekend at the plate, knocking in three runs on a pair of hits and stealing a career-best two bases, but it wasn't enough as LSU pulled away late to claim a 15-5 victory over the Volunteers on Sunday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium.
In the lineup for the first time after missing 14 games with a wrist injury, Thurber finished the weekend 5-for-10 with a double, three RBIs and three stolen bases. The Vols will now return to Knoxville to finish out the 2011 campaign with a four-game homestand, starting with a Tuesday night tilt against Belmont at 7 p.m. UT will then host a three-game set against Auburn, Thursday through Saturday.
"We got behind early in the first inning, made a couple of tough errors and we could have laid down, but we didn't," UT Head Coach Todd Raleigh said. "We came back and got in the game, responded with two, tied it up and then actually took the lead in the fifth. We had a 5-4 lead, runners on second and third with one out and didn't score. Two pop-ups on the infield and that hurt us. Especially in that situation, because I felt like we had them on the ropes. We were running the bases and playing our game. Then we went out and gave up some runs and it just got away from us after that."
In addition to Thurber's stellar effort, freshman Andrew Toles also had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and his 20th stolen base of the season. Senior Matt Duffy and junior Zach Osborne had UT's other two hits, while junior Davis Morgan knocked in a run.
LSU got off to a quick start, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first, but the Vols fought their way back to a 3-3 tie with two tallies in the second and another in the third. Duffy started the second with a leadoff infield single, hitting a slow roller down the third-base line that just stayed fair.
After sophomore Drew Steckenrider was hit by a pitch, freshman Ethan Bennett laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position. An RBI groundout by Morgan and a wild pitch then cut the UT deficit to just one at 3-2.
The Vols tied the game up in the next inning on a big two-out single to right by Thurber which scored Osborne from third after a leadoff single, sac bunt by senior Khayyan Norfork and a wild pitch.
Although LSU grabbed the lead back in the fourth, Tennessee came roaring back in the fifth with a pair of runs to take a 5-4 advantage. Once again, it was Thurber that came through with the big hit, as he laced a bases-loaded single to right on a 3-0 fastball to bring home two. Toles led off the inning with an infield single before moving to second on a sac bunt by Osborne. He then stole third as Norfork drew a walk. Norfork then swiped second without a throw to set the plate for Thurber.
The lead would be short-lived, however, as LSU answered immediately with 11 runs over the next four innings, scoring three in the fifth, six in the sixth and one more in both the seventh and eighth, to account for the final score of 15-5.