May 22, 2005
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The No. 11 Tennessee baseball team's bat fell silent Sunday afternoon as the Volunteers dropped their series finale to Georgia 4-1 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The Vols conclude the regular season 39-17 (18-11 SEC) and finished in second place in the Southeastern Conference standings, marking their best regular-season conference finish since tying for second place in 2001.
Georgia improved to 30-25 (12-17 SEC) and snapped a five-game losing streak to Tennessee. The Vols won the series 2-1.
It was a frustrating day for the Vols offensively, as they managed just five hits and stranded eight runners. Tennessee was 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, with the lone hit not producing any runs.
Tennessee put runners at first and third base with two outs in the bottom of the first inning, and plated their first run of the day when UGA third baseman Adam McDaniel bobbled a grounder by King and then threw the ball over the head of first baseman Josh Morris. Vols junior Josh Alley scored on the play to give UT an early 1-0 lead.
After homering to give the Bulldogs their only two runs Saturday night, Justin Jacobs singled through the left side of the Tennessee infield to drive in Matthew Dunn in the top of the third.
Georgia took its first lead of the series when Dunn scored on an RBI double to left-center by outfielder Kyle Keen in the top of the fifth inning. Dunn made it home all the way from first on the play to give UGA a 2-1 lead.
Dunn scored again in the top of the seventh. His third run of the game came on an RBI single to left field by Jacobs. An RBI fielder's choice by Bobby Felmy then plated Keen to give the Bulldog's a three-run advantage.
Tennessee mounted a rally in the bottom of the seventh when junior Michael Rivera led off with a single to center field. Fitzgerald was then hit by a pitch, and both he Rivera moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Suarez.
Georgia then called left-hander Will Startup out of the bullpen to face Alley with one out. Startup got Alley and junior Eli Iorg both to groundout, preserving UGA's three-run cushion.
The Bulldogs went three-up, three-down in the top of the eighth, and Tennessee stranded one runner in the bottom half of the inning.
Freshman All-America candidate James Adkins (7-4) started on the mound for UT and allowed four runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings. The Mt. Juliet, Tenn., native struck out six batters and took the loss.
Tennessee sophomore right-hander Sean Watson replaced Adkins in the top of the seventh and scattered three hits while striking out two Bulldogs in 2 2/3 innings of action.
Georgia starter Brooks Brown was efficient through 6 1/3 innings, giving up just one unearned run on five hits. He got credit for the win and improved to 4-2 on the year. Startup was perfect through the final 2 2/3 innings and logged his fifth save of the season.
Tennessee heads to Birmingham, Ala., as the No. 3 seed in the 2005 SEC tournament, which runs Wednesday through Sunday at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. The Vols face No. 6 seed South Carolina (37-19, 16-14 SEC) Wednesday at 1 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on CSS.