Freshman centerfielder Kentrail Davis logged a career-high three hits while reaching base safely in all four of his plate appearances Friday to help lead the Tennessee baseball team to a 6-2 win over Eastern Michigan at Robert M. Lindsay Field at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Davis drove in two runs on a 3-for-3 day at the plate, and junior third baseman Cody Brown also added a pair of RBI for the Volunteers (5-4), raising his team-leading total to nine. Davis, meanwhile, raised his season batting average to a team-best .417 (10-for-24).
After posting wins in his first two starts as Vol, sophomore Steve Crnkovich enjoyed yet another impressive outing Friday. The Downers Grove, Ill., native allowed two runs on just four hits with a walk and four strikeouts through seven innings. Crnkovich improved to 3-0 on the year and now owns a solid 2.21 ERA in 20 1/3 total innings.
“(Steve) did an unbelievable job again today,” UT head coach Todd Raleigh said. “He’s given us three quality starts this year.
“I thought our at-bats were much better, too. And it was nice not to make any errors.”
Vols junior Aaron Everett pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning for UT before junior Ryne Simpson took the mound for the ninth. Simpson issued one walk and struck out a pair to put an end to the Vols’ three-game losing skid.
Davis and Brown each drove in runs for Tennessee in the bottom of the first inning to spot the Vols an early 2-0 lead.
The Eagles (0-11) went hitless against Crnkovich through 2 2/3 innings until Michael Boyd belted a solo homer over the left-field fence, trimming UT’s lead to a single run.
But UT freshman left fielder P.J. Polk led off the bottom of the third with a double, and he was driven in one batter later by Davis’ second RBI basehit in as many trips to the plate.
Polk later scored his career-high third run of the game to give Tennessee a 4-1 lead when he scampered home all the way from second base on an RBI sacrifice fly by Brown in the fifth.
Eagles designated hitter Aaron Powell smacked a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning to make the score 4-2 in favor of the Big Orange. It was Eastern Michigan’s fourth and final hit of the game.
Yet another Vols freshman—right fielder Josh Liles—quickly erased Powell’s long ball with an RBI sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh that plated Davis. Liles’ fifth RBI of the season pushed UT’s lead to three runs.
Tennessee first baseman Tanner Moore added an unearned insurance run in eighth when he scored all the way from second base on a two-out infield error.
Eastern Michigan starting pitcher Kevin Sikora took the loss in his first decision of the season.
The series is scheduled to resume Saturday at 2 p.m., with left-hander Nick Hernandez (0-1, 3.75 ERA) taking the mound for UT opposite Eagles right-hander Sean Hoffman (0-2, 17.65 ERA). In the case of inclement weather, fans may call (865) 974-5555 to receive the most up-to-date information regarding the game’s status.
Story Courtesy: UT Sports Information
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