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KNOXVILLE – The Tennessee baseball team ran its non-conference home winning streak to seven games Tuesday with a 12-4 triumph over Appalachian State at Robert M. Lindsay Field at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Seven of UT’s runs initially reached base via walk, while another run reached on a hit-by-pitch.
The Volunteers’ record now stands at 24-16 on the year, including an impressive 19-4 mark at home. Appalachian State fell to 20-22. Tennessee’s eight-run margin of victory matched its largest of the season. Not reflected in the final score was the fact that each team totaled nine hits on the night. But the Vols made the most of the 10 walks issued by four Mountaineers pitchers.
Vols sophomore and Knoxville, Tenn., native Jeff Lockwood made his second pitching start of the season Tuesday and held the Mountaineers to two runs on three hits through six innings. Lockwood struck out four while upping his record to 2-1 on the year.
“We did a lot of good things,” UT head coach Todd Raleigh said. “I thought (Jeff Lockwood) pitched as well as he has all year. He was outstanding, which is really good for us. He’s been struggling lately, but he was the difference (in this game).“
Right fielder Josh Liles and first baseman Yan Gomes each totaled three RBI to lead the Vols offensively, and shortstop Cody Grisham scored a career-high three runs. Gomes is currently enjoying a 12-game hit streak, which is the longest by a Vols on the year. He is batting .438 during that span.
Tennessee leadoff hitter Andy Simunic drew a walk in the bottom of the first inning and later scored on a balk by Mountaineers starting pitcher Nick Terry to open the game’s scoring.
Liles put the Big Orange up by two with a solo home run to right field in the second inning. It was the freshman’s fourth ASU’s third hit of the night, trimming Tennessee’s lead to five runs and spoiling hopes of UT’s first shutout of the season.
Gomes extended Tennessee’s lead in the bottom of the sixth with a bases-loaded, two-run single, and left fielder Shawn Griffin followed with an RBI basehit for UT’s 10th run of the game. Liles capped Tennessee’s four-run sixth with an RBI fielder’s choice that brought the score to 11-2.
Tennessee sophomore Mike Moore closed out the Vols’ scoring when he ripped an RBI single through the right side of the Mountaineers infield in the eighth.
Mountaineers catcher Jerod Faggart logged an RBI single in the seventh, and Rubinstein added an RBI basehit in the ninth.
Vols junior D.J. Leffler pitched a one-run seventh inning in relief of Lockwood. UT senior Zane Stone and sophomore Bryan Powell worked the eighth and ninth innings, respectively. Stone was perfect while facing the minimum.
The Big Orange now lead the all-time series with Appalachian State 11-2, dating to 1977.
Tennessee hosts ETSU (11-29, 8-16 A-Sun) Wednesday at 7 p.m. The game will be televised regionally on SportSouth.