May 20, 2011
By Cameron Harris, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee baseball team scored three runs in the first inning for the second straight day, but Auburn responded with eight unanswered runs over the next five frames as it evened the weekend series at one game each with a 13-4 victory over the Volunteers on Friday evening at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
"We came out great, scored three in the first and Nick Blount looked good, but we just couldn't keep them off the board," UT Head Coach Todd Raleigh said. "We hit the ball good all night, had 12 hits, but when they're scoring runs every inning it's hard to get that momentum back. What hurt us today was the fact that we couldn't get that momentum offensively."
Four different Vols posted two-hit performances in the contest as the team pounded out 12 hits. Senior Matt Duffy was 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored, while fellow classmate Josh Liles increased his career hit total to 198 with two singles in the contest. Juniors Davis Morgan also tallied a pair of hits. For Morgan, it was his third straight multi-hit contest and fourth consecutive contest with an RBI. Freshman Ethan Bennett launched his team-leading seventh home run of the year as well.
On the mound, sophomore Nick Blount fell to 1-5 on the season after allowing five runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings of work. Derek Varnadore picked up the win for Auburn and is now 6-2 on the year.
The Vols got to Varnadore early, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first for the second consecutive day, but wouldn't get another tally on the scoreboard against him until it was too late. Osborne got the ball rolling in the Orange and White's favor with a one-out single right back to the pitcher. Following a four-pitch walk to junior Charley Thurber, Duffy pulled a 2-2 pitch down the third-base line for a two-run double. After a strikeout put two outs on the board, Morgan came through with a clutch two-out hit, ripping a single through the left side to bring Duffy in from second and give Tennessee a 3-0 lead.
That advantage would not last long, however. After a scoreless second inning, the Tigers scored at least one run in each of the next five frames to go ahead, 9-4. The only UT run in that span came in the bottom of the sixth when Bennett blasted a 2-1 fastball from Varnadore on to "The Porch" in left. The longball came in the "Golden Flake Home Run Inning," giving one lucky fan a jackpot of $2,600. Auburn finished off the scoring in the top of the ninth when Tony Caldwell hit a grand slam.
The UT loss sets up a rubber match in the 2011 season finale on Saturday. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. Prior to the game, the Vols will honor their five seniors - Duffy, Liles, Khayyan Norfork, Tyler Horne and Rob Catapano. A Knoxville native, Catapano (2-5, 6.65) will actually get the start for the Big Orange, while Auburn will counter with Slade Smith (2-1, 6.39).