June 19, 2005
OMAHA, Neb. -- Arizona State used a three-run eighth inning to propel itself to a 4-2 win over Tennessee in the first elimination game of the 2005 NCAA College World Series Sunday afternoon at Rosenblatt Stadium. The loss marked the end of the Volunteers' outstanding 2005 season, which saw them break numerous team and individual records while posting a final mark of 46-21.
"For me as a coach, to see these men grow up and see how each has improved (this year) has been a blessing to me," UT head coach Rod Delmonico said after the game. "This is the best year I've had as a coach. What this team has meant to me will be hard to top."
Both teams had at least one base runner in every inning except the ninth, and Tennessee out-hit ASU 10-9. The Vols struggled at the plate with runners in scoring position, however, going 1-for-11. Juniors Michael Rivera and Eli Iorg each recorded two hits for UT.
Freshman All-America J.P. Arencibia gave Tennessee some early momentum with a solo home run to left field in the bottom of the first inning. It marked Arencibia's first career postseason homer and extended his UT freshman home run record to 14.
Tennessee was 0-2 with runners in scoring position - failing to capitalize in both the third and the fourth innings - until an RBI double to left-center by junior outfielder Josh Alley drove in senior Alex Suarez from second base to give the Vols a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Suarez had previously reached on a double down the left-field line, and Alley's two-bagger was his 19th of the season.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, ASU right-hander Pat Bresnehan entered the game in relief of starter Erik Averill.
The Sun Devils spoiled all hopes of a shutout when J.J. Sferra scored from third on an RBI single by All-America outfielder Travis Buck in the top of the seventh inning.
Trailing by one run in the top of the eighth, ASU put runners on the corners with no outs. Third baseman Joey Hooft then tied the game with an RBI double down the right line that plated catcher Tuffy Gosewich, and the Devils took their first lead of the game when pinch runner Rocky Laguna scored on a double by Seth Daenens.
An RBI sacrifice fly by Sferra later in the inning gave Arizona State a 4-2 lead with a man on third and just one out. Devils shortstop Andrew Romine then reached on a fielder's choice that allowed Tennessee to putout Daenens in a rundown between third base and home plate. Jeff Larish then flied out to end Arizona State's three-run, go-ahead eighth.
The Sun Devils drew back-to-back walks to load the bases with two outs in the top of the ninth, but Buck ended the inning when he was caught attempting to steal home plate.
Left-handed freshman James Adkins (10-5) started for UT and suffered his first loss in four postseason appearances. The Mt. Juliet, Tenn., native allowed four runs on eight hits while walking five and striking out eight in 7 1/3 innings.
Sophomore Sean Watson pitched the final 1 2/3 innings for UT and gave up no runs on one hit.
Averill gave up two runs on eight hits in his 5 2/3 innings of action. Bresnehan allowed no runs on two hits with one strikeout while earning the win to improve to 5-4 on the year.
Tennessee's berth in the 2005 College World Series was the fourth in program history and the third under Delmonico.