June 5, 2004
Kinston, N.C. - Tim Preston and Jonathan Batts slugged a pair of home runs as the UNC Wilmington Seahawks powered their way past the Tennessee Volunteers, 8-5, in the first game of the NCAA Kinston Regional at Grainger Stadium.
Tennessee (37-23) falls into the loser's bracket and will play the loser of the East Carolina-Stony Brook Sunday at 11 a.m. ET. The Vols must win twice, playing again at 7 p.m. if they win, to advance to Monday's 1 p.m. final. UNCW will play in the winner's bracket at 3 p.m. against either ECU or Stony Brook.
With the scored tied 2-2, Preston led off the seventh with his sixth home run of the season, keying a four-run rally as Wilmington took a 6-2 lead. With one out, the Seahawks (39-21) ripped off four consecutive singles chasing Vol starter Patrick Hicklen (4-3). John Raynor, who singled with one out and took third on Matt Poulk's hit, scored on a wild pitch. Chip Grawey and Lee McLean followed with back-to-back RBI singles.
Hicklen, who suffered his first postseason loss in four starts, would be roughed up for six runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings with three strikeouts and two walks.
Winner Zach Kimball (8-5) would be lifted after pitching six solid innings. He gave up two runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and one walk.
Jeff Moore, who threw two innings of relief, would be touched for three runs as Eli Iorg hit a solo home run in the seventh and Kelly Edmundson added a two-run homer in the eighth to cut the lead to 8-5. In between, Batts' hit a two-run home run off Joey Andrews to give the Seahawks an 8-3 lead.
The Vols were able to get two runners aboard in the ninth via a walk and an error against Seahawk relief ace Blake Cross, but he induced Kyle Norrid into a game-ending double play to pick up his 12th save.
The Seahawks grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second on an RBI double by Preston and a single by Raynor. Neal Eichhorn started by getting hit by a pitch and scored on Preston's one-out double to left center. Preston then plated on a Raynor's two-out hit to right.
After leaving the bases loaded in the first, Tennessee mounted a two-out rally to tie the game 2-2 in the third. Iorg led off with a single and took third on a balk and wild pitch before scoring on Norrid's second hit of the day, a double off the wall in left center. Norrid would come around to score on Chase Headley's hit.
Norrid, Iorg and Alex Suarez each had two hit to lead the Vols who were out-hit 10-9.