CARY, N.C. (release) -- Tennessee senior Zack Godley fired a career-high 8.1 innings but it wasn't enough as No. 22 Notre Dame outlasted the Vols, 3-2, in 12 innings at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., on Friday night.
Ryan Bull ended the game and gave the Fighting Irish the win in the bottom of the 12th with a walk-off single to right after a leadoff base hit and a walk opened the frame.
"Tough loss, but I'm kind of getting a little tired of saying that," UT head coach Dave Serrano said. "Coaching-staff wise, player-wise, we have to figure out how to win games. We continue to do a lot of things that don't allow us to be successful. I thought Zack [Godley] did pitch well. The difference in the game was that later in the game they executed pitches down that made us not look good at the plate and we left some balls up in some big situations to allow them to score some runs.
"We are nine games in now and there are no excuses that we are still green. We have been through some battles and some tough games and we need to start learning how to win these games. I will take full credit for why we are not doing that because this team is not prepared to start winning these games and that bothers me to say that. We have to come ready to play [tomorrow]. We have to get a mindset to get tougher. We need to become mentally tougher and we need to become relentless in everything we do. I will continue to demand that because losing can become contagious and I don't like the feeling right now."
Godley allowed just two runs, one earned, while scattering eight hits and striking out four during his 8.1 innings on the mound. His effort was aided by the UT defense, which turned three double plays during his time on the mound, matching its season total for twin-killings entering the contest.
Notre Dame closer Dan Slania retired all 10 Vols that he faced to pick up his first win of the 2013 campaign. The loss was the Orange and White’s second in extra innings and fourth one-run defeat this season.
Tennessee got the scoring started in the top of the second when Vincent Jackson recorded an RBI on a groundout to first after a walk, hit batter and an infield single loaded the bases.
Notre Dame answered right back though with Blaise Lezynski tying the game with a run-scoring double in the bottom of the inning.
From there, the starting pitchers for both teams took over with Godley and ND's Sean Fitzgerald both putting up zeroes over the next six frames before the Vols finally broke through again in the top of the ninth.
With Fitzgerald out of the game, Jackson came through for UT once again, punching the first and only pitch from Christian Torres into left field for a leadoff single. Three batters later, Will Maddox roped a 2-1 pitch into the corner in right for an RBI single that gave Tennessee a 2-1 lead.
The Big Orange would move within one out of the victory in the home half of the 10th after a big strikeout by freshman Drake Owenby with two on, but Lane Richards would tie the game on the very next pitch with a two-out single to left.
UT relief pitcher Nick Williams would escape that jam and freshman Trevor Bettencourt did the same in the bottom of the 10th, working out of a one-out bases-loaded quandary with a strikeout and a groundout.
Bettencourt did it again an inning later, getting another huge punchout and a flyball to right after the Fighting Irish put runners on second and third with just one out.
Tennessee’s battle with fire would catch up to it the following frame as Bull brought the game to its end.
Tennessee will return to the diamond at 3 p.m. on Saturday when it takes on UMass. Freshman southpaw Andy Cox (1-1, 6.48) will get the nod on the mound for the Vols, while the Minutemen will counter with a lefty of their own in sophomore Conor LeBlanc (0-0, 0.00).