May 26, 2005
HOOVER, Ala. -- The No. 3 seed Tennessee baseball team defeated No. 2 seed LSU 5-1 Thursday in the SEC tournament's first elimination game at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. The Volunteers improved to 40-18 with the win, which gave 16th-year head coach Rod Delmonico his ninth career 40-win season.
Tennessee now plays Friday at 1:30 p.m. CT, against the loser of Thursday's first winner's bracket game, which features South Carolina and Mississippi State.
Tennessee's All-America pitcher, Luke Hochevar, allowed just one run on eight hits while striking out eight batters in seven innings versus the Tigers. The Fowler, Colo., native improved to 14-2 on the year and moved into a tie for second place on UT's all-time single-season wins list.
Offensively, the Vols rebounded from a five-hit outing in their tournament-opener Wednesday to out-hit LSU 11-8. SEC Freshman of the Year J.P. Arencibia went 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI, and junior designated hitter Kelly Edmundson drove in a pair of runs with his eighth homer of the season.
Senior shortstop Eric King moved up to the No. 2 slot in the Vols' batting order Thursday, as Tennessee was playing without first-team All-SEC right fielder Eli Iorg (foot injury). After pitching two innings in relief against South Carolina Wednesday, senior Joey Andrews replaced Iorg in right field versus LSU.
King reached base on a single in the bottom of the first inning and scored one batter later when Arencibia doubled to deep right-center. Arencibia advanced to third base on that play and later gave UT a two-run lead when he came home on an RBI single by junior third baseman Chase Headley.
LSU (38-20) got basehits from Clay Harris, Chris Jackson and Derek Hebert in the top of the third inning to load the bases with two outs. Hochevar then got Tigers catcher Dustin Weaver to groundout and end the inning. LSU out-hit Tennessee 5-4 through the first three innings, but the Tigers stranded six runners while failing to record a run during that span.
A two-out fielding error by LSU first baseman Blake Gill in the bottom of the fourth inning allowed UT to extend its lead to three runs. Vols junior Michael Rivera advanced to second base on Gill's error and was later driven in on an RBI double by Andrews.
Gill made up for his defensive blunder when he hit a solo home run in the top of the fifth to put the Tigers on the scoreboard. The homer ended Hochevar's streak of 11 scoreless innings pitched against LSU, dating to a May 13 regular-season meeting.
Tennessee put two men on base with no outs in the bottom of the fifth. LSU then brought in left-handed reliever Jason Determann, who escaped the inning without allowing a run to score.
Arencibia led off UT's half of the seventh with his second double of the game. The two-bagger down the left-field line marked his third hit of the day and the fourth time he reached base in as many plate appearances. Edmundson brought Arencibia in to score with a two-run homer over the wall in left field. The home run was Edmundson's second of the year versus an SEC opponent and gave the Vols a 5-1 lead.
Hochevar gave way to sophomore right-hander Sean Watson in the top of the eighth. Watson held the Tigers hitless while striking out two and walking out two in the final two innings.
LSU starter Clay Dirks left the game after giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts in four innings of work. He took the loss and fell to 10-3 this season. Determann was touched for two runs on four hits through four innings.
The win was UT's first all-time victory over LSU in the SEC tournament.