May 20, 2005
KNOXVILLE -- The No. 11 Tennessee baseball team posted a convincing 16-3 win in its series-opener versus Georgia Friday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The Volunteers put up runs in each of the first five innings and then put the game away with seven security runs in the bottom of the eighth.
Tennessee improved to 38-16 (17-10 SEC) with the victory, matching last season's win total. Junior outfielder Josh Alley went 4-for-5 with four RBIs, while freshman catcher J.P. Arencibia drove in three runs on four hits.
Vols ace Luke Hochevar held the Bulldogs (29-24, 11-16 SEC) to three runs on three hits while striking out six batters in seven innings of quality work. The national-pitcher-of-the-year candidate picked up the win and improved to 13-2 on the year. He now ranks tied for third on UT's all-time single-season victories list, and his 23 career wins rank tied for second on the Vols' all-time chart.
Hochevar became the first Tennessee pitcher to record nine SEC wins in the regular season. His lone conference loss this season came April 15 against Arkansas (4-1).
Tennessee put its first run on the board when Arencibia drove in Alley with a single to right field in the bottom of the first inning.
The Vols plated two more runs with two outs in the second inning to take a 3-0 lead. Junior Michael Rivera scored on an RBI single by Alley, and senior Alex Suarez crossed on an RBI basehit through the left side of the infield by junior outfielder Eli Iorg.
In the bottom of the third, Arencibia connected on his 13th home run of the season - a solo shot that cleared the wall in right field. The Miami, Fla., native has hit more homers than any other freshman in school history and ranks second on the team this year.
Georgia was held hitless until the top of the fourth inning, when outfielder Bobby Felmy hit a solo blast to right-center. It was Felmy's sixth home run on the year.
After posting runs in each of the first three innings, the Vols loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fourth. Alley then drove in Rivera and senior designated hitter Rob Fitzgerald with his third hit in as many plate appearances. Later in the inning, third baseman Chase Headley brought in Alley with an RBI double through the left side, stretching UT's lead to seven runs.
Tennessee continued to move runners in the fifth inning, as Rivera and Kelly Edmundson both moved into scoring position on a well-executed double steal with one out. Rivera then came in to score when UGA reliever Rip Warren's pickoff attempt at second base missed its mark and ended up in center field.
Georgia designated hitter Justin Niefer scored the Bulldogs' second run of the night when he scampered home from second base on an RBI single to right-center by outfielder Joey Side in the top of the sixth.
Felmy notched his second RBI of the game in the top of the seventh, when he singled to left-center to bring in Jonathan Wyatt and cut UT's lead to six runs.
With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Arencibia came home on a wild pitch after previously reaching on a double off the wall in left-center. Fellow freshman Julio Borbon later plated Headley with an RBI single to make the score 11-3.
Still in the eighth, the Vols got four consecutive RBI hits from Suarez, Alley, Iorg and Arencibia to stretch UT's lead to 13 runs. Suarez's bases-loaded single scored King, and Borbon and Edmundson crossed home plate when Alley got his fourth hit of the game to fall in shallow right field. Suarez and Alley capped the Vols' scoring when they came home on the hits by Iorg and Arencibia, respectively.
Senior right-hander Joey Andrews made his 68th career appearance for the Vols and struck out one batter while tossing two perfect relief innings. Andrews needs just one more appearance this season to tie Ryan Meyers (1993-96) for third place on UT's all-time career list.
Georgia starter Michael Hyle (3-5) left the game after allowing eight runs (six earned) on eight hits in three innings. Hyle took the loss and gave way to Warren, who was lit up for eight runs (seven earned) on eight hits through 4 1/3 innings. Jason Fellows worked the final 1/3 inning for UGA and gave up one hit.
First-place Florida won its series-opener at Vanderbilt Friday, so the Vols remain a half game out of first place in the Southeastern Conference standings.
The Vols' series resumes Saturday at 7 p.m. Knoxville native Craig Cobb (5-3, 5.28 ERA) gets the starting nod for UT, while Georgia counters with senior right-hander Sean Ruthven (2-4, 4.52 ERA).