May 17, 2011
By Cameron Harris, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - After falling behind by four to Belmont, the Tennessee baseball team rallied to within a run with a three-run fifth inning, but the Bruins pulled away with two runs in the ninth to claim a 6-3 triumph on a cold and rainy Tuesday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
"We haven't struck out a lot as a team this year, but it did seem like we struck out a lot tonight," UT Head Coach Todd Raleigh said. "Guys were overswinging a little bit. We had a few too many (strikeouts) tonight and that hurt us. We allowed four runs with two outs and two strikes and that got us too."
Junior Davis Morgan was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored for the Volunteers, while senior Khayyan Norfork added a single and stole two bases. Freshmen Ethan Bennett and Andrew Toles each knocked in a run as well.
Belmont raced out to a quick 2-0 lead, getting an RBI single from Nate Woods in the first and a solo home run from Judah Akers in the second. After two scoreless frames, the Bruins tacked on two more in the fifth on another run-scoring single by Woods, this time with two outs and the bases loaded.
Tennessee got back within striking distance in the home half of the fifth, plating three runs to cut its deficit to one at 4-3. Senior Josh Liles led off the stanza with a walk before swiping second and coming around to score on a double down the left-field line by Bennett. Morgan followed with a double of his own and Toles added an RBI single to right two batters later for UT's third run.
Neither team would make much noise through the next three innings until the Bruins got yet another clutch hit from Woods. With a full-count, the bases loaded and two outs, Woods fouled off three straight pitches before lacing a single to center to bring in two more runs and up his RBI total on the day to five.
Woods (5-5) also earned the victory on Tuesday, allowing just one hit and striking out four in two innings of work. Junior T.J. Thornton (1-1) suffered the loss for the Big Orange after giving up a pair of runs on two hits in three frames of action. Jon Ivie closed out the contest for the Bruins to earn his 10th save of the season.
Sophomore Zack Godley posted the most impressive of his career to date, twirling a career-high three shutout innings of relief and tying his career-high with five strikeouts.
Tennessee will close out the 2011 campaign this weekend when it hosts a three-game set against Auburn. The series will run Thursday through Saturday with first pitch set for 6 p.m. for the first two games and 2 p.m. for the series finale. The Vols will honor their five seniors prior to the final home game.