Tennessee outfielders Shawn Griffin and Kentrail Davis each turned in 4-for-4 performances at the plate Wednesday as the Volunteers baseball team outlasted Presbyterian College 8-7 in a 10-inning affair at Robert M. Lindsay Field at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Vols sophomore Tanner Moore delivered a walk-off RBI double that scored Jeff Lockwood and helped the Big Orange improve to 9-4 with their fifth straight victory. Griffin drove in three runs on the day, and junior Aaron Everett notched the win out of the bullpen to improve to 1-1 on the season.
“We obviously didn’t play like we did (Tuesday against Middle Tennessee),” UT head coach Todd Raleigh said. “But to stay positive, we did come back even though we had every chance not to. I’m not happy, but I’m happy that we’re learning to fight a little bit. We had every reason to lose that game.
“(Shawn Griffin) has been huge for us here lately. Hats off to him; he carried us today.”
Tennessee third baseman Cody Brown drove in second baseman Andy Simunic—one of three runs on the day for Simunic—with an RBI fielder’s choice in the bottom of the first inning to open the day’s scoring. The Vols loaded the bases against Blue Hose pitcher Ben Dollar with one out later in the frame, and Lockwood then plated Brown with an RBI sacrifice fly.
A Presbyterian infield throwing error and a balk enabled the Vols to plate two more runs in the first, bringing the score to 4-0 after one full inning of action.
Griffin pushed Tennessee’s lead to 5-0 with an RBI basehit in the second inning.
Tennessee’s early-season fielding demons resurfaced in the top of the fourth inning, as three UT fielding errors allowed the Blue Hose to score a pair of unearned runs and make it a three-run game.
Presbyterian (5-7) later took advantage of a pair of hit batsmen in the top of the fifth, as both runners eventually scored via an RBI groundout and a wild pitch. With their second of three straight two-run innings, the Blue Hose cut Tennessee’s lead to a single run, 5-4.
And after the Vols went down in order in the bottom of the fifth, Presbyterian third baseman Jared Combs led off the top of the sixth with a game-tying solo homer—his second of the season. A host of UT relievers struggled to sit down the Blue Hose batters as the inning progressed, and designated hitter Nate Horton came through with a bases-loaded, RBI single to give Presbyterian its first lead of the afternoon, 6-5.
The Vols lineup awakened in the bottom of the seventh, converting three hits into two runs to reclaim their lead, 7-6. Simunic and Davis led off the frame with consecutive basehits, and both were moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Brown. Griffin then dropped the go-ahead, two-run single into shallow right-center, driving in his second and third runs of the game.
A leadoff double by Horton in the top of the ninth gave Presbyterian the potential tying run on base, and pinch runner Preston Simpson was promptly moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Casey Carlson. Then with one out, Blue Hose first baseman Steven Henry provided a game-tying RBI single that drove in Simpson.
Presbyterian catcher Drew Wingo followed Henry’s big hit with a double, and the Vols then opted to intentionally walk Combs—loading the bases with one out.
That set the stage for UT right fielder Josh Liles’ heroics. Presbyterian second baseman Robert Anders sent what looked like a potential go-ahead sacrifice fly into right field, but Liles made the catch and fired a missile of a throw that arrived to Vols catcher Yan Gomes just in time for Gomes to tag Henry out at the plate.
The drama continued into the bottom of the ninth inning, as Tennessee loaded the bases with one out. But Blue Hose reliever Zach Snipes induced a crucial double-play ball that forced extra innings. Entering the 10th, both teams had seven runs on 11 hits.
Everett sat down the Blue Hose in order in the top of the 10th, with Tennessee’s Nos. 6-8 hitters set to bat in the bottom of the inning. Lockwood led off with a basehit before scoring on Moore’s one-out double.
“I love the heart that everybody’s been showing,” Moore said. “That’s the one thing that’s going to help us out in the long run—coming to play everyday and showing a lot of heart. We’ve had several games now that we’ve come back in.”
Zane Stone, a senior UT pitcher from Chattanooga, Tenn., made his first career start Wednesday and worked a pre-determined four full innings in which he was touched for two runs (both unearned) with no walks and a pair of strikeouts. He was in line for the win until Presbyterian took the lead in the fifth.
Snipes took the loss for Presbyterian. Blue Hose starter Ben Dollar allowed seven runs on eight hits through 6 1/3 innings.
The Vols open Southeastern Conference play this weekend when they host LSU (11-3) for a three-game series at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Game times are set for 7 p.m. ET Friday and 1 p.m. ET on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s game will be televised regionally on SportSouth.
Story Courtesy: UT Sports Information
Paced by the fourth home run of the season from freshman Jen Lapicki, the No. 6 Lady Vol softball squad (23-3) finished off a doubleheader sweep with a 4-1 victory over in-state rival Tennessee State Wednesday night at Lee Softball Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. The Oldwick, N.J., native put together a 2-for-3 effort, notching a pair of RBIs and scoring two runs in the game.
Junior left fielder Lillian Hammond also had a solid day at the plate for the Big Orange, punching out a pair of singles in three at-bats, in addition to knocking in a run and stealing a base. With four solid innings of work in the circle, freshman Ashton Ward moved her record to 13-2 on the season. She allowed just one hit and struck out five before giving way to senior Megan Rhodes who went the final three innings to earn her fourth save this year.
Ward got off to a blistering start in the circle for the Big Orange by striking out three consecutive batters spanning the first and second innings. The Charlotte, N.C., native retired six of the seven Tennessee State batters she faced over the initial two frames.
A Tiger infield miscue granted UT its initial base runner with one down in the bottom of the second as a ground ball off the bat of designated player was thrown low and outside of first to pull Royesha Goodman off the bag. With Lapicki at first, sophomore center fielder Erinn Webb drove a shot to left center for a double as the runner advanced to third. Following a Lady Vol K, Hammond singled to deep short as Lapicki crossed for a 1-0 Tennessee lead. With runners at the corners the Big Orange attempted to pull off the double steal. Hammond successfully swiped second, but Webb was gunned down attempting to reach home plate ending the inning.
The strikeout total for Ward reached five through three innings of work as center fielder Jill Gardner and second baseman Jennifer Gregory each went down swinging in the top of the third against Tennessee’s 6-0 right hander.
TSU threatened in the top of the fourth with two down as first baseman Royesha Goodman and left fielder Nicole Vincent each battled Ward to draw consecutive walks. Tiger catcher Jalisa Bradley battled to a full count before weakly grounding out to senior Kenora Posey. The Los Angeles, Calif., product fielded the sphere and threw on to sophomore Tiffany Huff at first to end the threat.
With one retired in the bottom of the fourth, Huff ripped an offering from TSU hurler Amanda Vaught back up the middle for a single. Freshman pinch runner Kelsey Stander entered at first to add some speed to the base paths and the move paid off. Lapicki ripped a shot that traveled just inside the bag and down the left field line into the corner for an RBI double, improving the Tennessee advantage to 2-0.
Tennessee State designated player Melanie Cruz christened the fifth with a walk against reliever Rhodes. The Big Orange’s 5-8 right hander rebounded by catching a pop-up off the bat of center fielder Jill Gardner and throwing behind the runner at first for a double play. A groundout off the bat of Gregory ended the inning as UT maintained its two-run lead.
Hammond delivered a lead-off single to open the bottom of the fifth and started another Big Orange scoring threat. Following a foul out and a fielder’s choice, Posey swiped second to reach scoring position. Senior third baseman Tonya Callahan ripped an RBI base knock back up the middle to score Posey and make it 3-0. The RBI was the 202nd of her career moving the Holden, Mo., native within just one of tying former Lady Vol Kristi Durant’s program mark (203). Senior catcher Shannon Doepking followed with a double into the left field corner as Callahan raced into third. Huff got a lot of bat on a Vaught offering but flew out harmlessly to left field as the inning concluded.
The lead grew to 4-0 leading off the bottom of the sixth as Lapicki blasted a solo home run to deep left field, her fourth of the season.
Down to the last chance in regulation, left fielder Nicole Vincent christened the top of the seventh with a walk against Rhodes. Pinch hitter Chelsea Brown joined her on the base paths via a free pass placing runners at first and second with still no one down. Rhodes managed to strikeout Cruz for an important first out, bringing pinch hitter Caitlin Eaton to the dish in the vital situation. With a 1-0 count, she was struck by a pitch to load the bases and bring the potential tying run to the plate in the form of TSU’s Gregory. She hammered a deep fly to center, but Webb tracked it down to record the second out as Vincent crossed the dish on a sacrifice fly cutting the deficit to 4-1. With runners at first and third, right fielder Tamara Perkins struck out swinging to end the game.
No. 6 Tennessee will return to Southeastern Conference action on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET with a doubleheader against Kentucky at Lee Softball Stadium. Live stats will be available through utladyvols.com and, as always, periodic updates of the UT game will be recorded on the Lady Vol Hotline (865-974-8700, box #6).
Story Courtesy: UT Lady Vols Sports Information
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