May 18, 2006
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Alabama baseball team collected 18 hits Thursday night on its way to an 11-3 win over Tennessee at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The Volunteers received home runs from catcher J.P. Arencibia and first baseman Chris Kemp but couldn't match the offensive barrage produced by the Southeastern Conference Western Division leader.
The Vols fell to 31-22 (11-16 SEC) with the loss, while Alabama improved to 37-17 (18-10).
The Tide broke the game open by exploding for five runs on five hits in the sixth inning to build a 10-3 lead. Spencer Pennington did the most damage, smacking a three-run homer to right field. Designated hitter Alex Avila added an RBI single.
After Alabama left the bases loaded in the top of the first, UT centerfielder Julio Borbon led off the bottom of the frame with a triple. He scored one batter later when shortstop Tony Delmonico sent an RBI sacrifice fly to right-centerfield. Kemp then stepped into the batter's box and sent the first offering from Tide starter Bernard Robert (7-5) out of the park to give Tennessee an early 2-0 edge.
A Tennessee infield error led to three unearned runs for the Crimson Tide in the fourth. Leadoff hitter Emeel Salem delivered a two-RBI single before third baseman Matt Downs came through with a go-ahead RBI basehit.
Arencibia tied the game in the bottom of the fourth with his 11th home run of the year - a solo shot to left field. The blast moved the Johnny Bench Award candidate into a tie for 10th place on UT's career home runs list with 25.
The Tide answered right back with a two-run fifth inning. An RBI basehit by Ryan Rhoden and an RBI sacrifice fly by Greg Paiml put Alabama back on top, 5-3.
After Alabama's big sixth inning, Avila stretched UA's lead to eight runs with another RBI single in the seventh.
Vols starting pitcher Craig Cobb (9-3) was touched for just his third loss of the season after allowing 11 runs (eight earned) on 18 hits with one walk and four strikeouts through seven innings. Freshman right-hander Aaron Everett came on in relief to work two hitless innings.
Tennessee second baseman Michael Rivera tied the school record for games played Thursday by taking the field for his 217th career contest. Kemp's first-inning homer was his 13th career longball and his 11th of the season. He and Arencibia share the team lead this year. Arencibia and right fielder Brian Van Kirk each logged three hits on the day, and UT finished with 10 hits as a team.
The series resumes Friday at 7 p.m. ET. Preseason All-America left-hander James Adkins (8-5, 4.36 ERA) gets the start for Tennessee, while Alabama sends left-handed ace Wade LeBlanc (8-0, 3.00) to the hill. Rivera, Kemp and Kelly Edmundson will be honored during Senior Day ceremonies before the game.