UT sophomore Steven Gruver
Oct. 24, 2009
By Cameron Harris, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Led by strong efforts on the mound by sophomore Steven Gruver and junior Rob Catapano, the Orange team clinched victory in the University of Tennessee's Orange and White World Series, winning the fifth game by the score of 25.3 to 25.18, as determined by the team's production scoring method, Saturday afternoon at Lindsey-Nelson Stadium. Gruver and Catapano combined to toss seven innings of one-run ball to give the Orange squad a 4-0 lead in the series.
"The Orange team has simply outplayed the White team all series," UT Head Coach Todd Raleigh said. "They've been able to capitalize on mistakes and get clutch hits and solid pitching. I thought both teams pitched extremely well today and it was probably our best pitched game this fall. Both sides threw a lot of strikes and only really got hurt when they fell behind in the count.
"I also thought we played pretty well on defense," Raleigh said. "Zach Osborne had a good day in the field and Cody Hawn turned one of the best double plays I've seen in quite some time. This format also allowed us to see a lot of players at a number of positions which helps us as we continue to evaluate all of our available options for the upcoming season."
The Orange and White teams were both split into two offensive groups, with players from both sides used in a variety of different defensive lineups. Players were awarded points for positive plays such as a hit, or stolen base and had points taken away for negative plays like a strikeout, missed sign or failed sacrifice bunt. The final score was determined 75 percent by the production of the position players with the other 25 percent coming from the pitching staff.
Gruver started the game for the Orange squad and twirled four strong innings, allowing just four hits and one unearned run while striking out three and walking two. In relief, Catapano came in and continued the work Gruver had started, tossing three shutout frames with four strikeouts and just one hit. Sophomore Matt Ramsey finished off the contest with a strikeout in two-thirds of an inning for his second save of the fall. Offensively, four different members of the Orange squad tallied two hits each in the victory.
For the White squad, starter junior Bryan Morgado faced the minimum through the first three innings before giving up four runs, three earned in the fourth. Overall, he allowed five hits and struck out five while walking just one. Junior Spencer Clifft also pitched well for Bradley LeCroy's White team, allowing just two hits and striking out one in two shutout innings. Sophomore Will Locante pitched a perfect eighth inning, notching two punchouts.
The White team was the first to crack the scoreboard Saturday, taking advantage of an error to jump ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning. After Gruver sat down the first two batters of the frame, junior Cody Hawn laced a two-out single to right and promptly stole second to put a runner in scoring position for sophomore Adam King. A transfer from Young Harris College in Georgia, King hit a slow roller down the third-base line that freshman Cody Stubbs threw past the first baseman, allowing Hawn to score. That would be all the White would get though, as Gruver got junior P.J. Polk to fly out to right to end the threat.
A leadoff double to left by sophomore Zach Osborne looked to have the White squad in position to score once again the following inning. After Gruver got junior Josh Liles swinging for the first out, sophomore Charley Thurber lined a ball to the left-side of the infield that was snagged by a diving Hawn who then tossed the ball to junior Khayyan Norfork at second to double up Osborne and end the inning.
The play seemed to get the Orange team going as it scored four in the top of the fourth to take a lead it would not relinquish. Freshman Drew Steckenrider got the rally started with a leadoff walk and a stolen base. Stubbs then advanced him 90 feet with a groundout to third and sophomore Matt Ramsey tied the score with an RBI single up the middle. Steckenrider put runners on second and third with a double to left before Stubbs smacked another single to center for two more runs.
Morgado had Stubbs picked off just moments later, but a throwing error by Hawn allowed him to advance to second. Another single by Ramsey put runners on the corners with just one out, setting up a double steal that saw Ramsey get caught at second, but allowed Stubbs to race home from third to make the score 4-1 in favor of the Orange. Morgado finally got out of the inning by striking out Steckenrider.
After the White team went quietly in the bottom of the inning, the Orange squad added a pair of insurance runs off senior Aaron Tullo in the top of the fifth. After Tullo got junior Tyler Hannah to fly out to left center to open the frame, freshman Chris Fritts reached on a throwing error by Hawn. Junior Blake Forsythe followed with a double down the third-base line and Hannah lifted one to right to record a sacrifice fly that plated Fritts. Forsythe then added his second hit of the inning, a single to left, to bring home the runner from second.
Catapano then came on in relief for the Orange team and shut down the White team for the next three innings to give his team a 6-1 advantage heading into the eighth and final frame. With freshman Nicholas Blount on the mound, Polk drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Osborne then kept a hit off the board by ranging far to his right where he made a sliding grab and a strong throw to nab Norfork at first. After falling behind the next batter 2-0, Blount caught a little too much of the plate and Hawn smoked a line drive over the wall in right to cut the White squad's deficit to jus three at 6-3.
First year pitching coach Jason Beverlin then called on Ramsey to close out the contest. Although he allowed a single to King, he was able to catch Polk looking at a 3-2 fastball for the second out of the frame. He then got Norfork to swing at the first pitch and fly out to center to end the game.
The Orange and White teams will meet again at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon for the sixth game in the Volunteers' fall series. The seventh and final contest will take place on Friday, Oct. 30. Fans are encouraged to attend and admission to all games is free.