March 22, 2008
ATHENS, Ga. -- The Tennessee baseball team's second consecutive two-run offensive output led to its second consecutive defeat Saturday, as the Volunteers fell to Georgia by a score of 3-2 at Foley Field. Sophomore Jeff Lockwood chipped in with a solo homer in support of another quality start by redshirt freshman pitcher Bryan Morgado, but Georgia clinched the series with its sixth straight win.
Tennessee fell to 13-7 (3-2 SEC), while the Bulldogs upped their record to 12-7 (4-1 SEC). It was UT?s first loss this season in a game decided by a single run (6-1).
Morgado was tagged with his second hard-luck loss of the season despite allowing just three runs on four hits with four walks and 10 strikeouts through a 6 2/3-inning start. The left-hander from Miami, Fla., notched his third double-digit strikeout performance of the year while falling to 3-2. His season strikeout total stands at 49 through 34 2/3 innings.
Tennessee freshman left fielder P.J. Polk gave the Vols a chance in the top of the ninth, delivering a one-out triple off of Bulldogs closer Joshua Fields, a second-round pick in last June's MLB draft. But Fields retired the next two hitters to secure his fifth save of the season.
After Georgia starting pitcher Stephen Dodson retired the Vols in order in the top of the first inning, Lockwood led off the top of the second with a solo homer off the light pole in right-center. It was Lockwood's second home run of the season and the sixth of his career.
With two outs later in the second, Polk reached on a single through the right side of the Georgia infield. It was Polk's third of four hits thus far in the series, and he was driven in one batter later when first baseman Tanner Moore roped an RBI double to the gap in right-center.
Tennessee had a chance to build on its early 2-0 lead when it loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the third, the fourth time in the series the Vols had the bases juiced with two outs, but Dodson induced an inning-ending grounder to keep the score manageable.
Bulldogs first baseman Rich Poythress made it a 2-1 game with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth. It was Georgia's second hit of the day and its fourth homer of the series. Georgia finished the day with five hits, while UT managed six.
A two-out double by UGA third baseman Ryan Peisel gave the Bulldogs two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the fifth, and Michael Demperio then drew a walk to set the stage for a bases-loaded matchup between Morgado and Georgia's preseason All-America shortstop Gordon Beckham.
Beckham produced a two-run double through the left side of the UT infield, giving Georgia its first lead of the day, 3-2. That would prove to be the final, as UGA logged its first series win over the Vols since 2002.
Dodson was lifted in favor of right-hander Dean Weaver for the top of the seventh. Through six innings, Dodson was touched for two runs on five hits with one walk and one strikeout. He picked up the win to move to 3-1 on the year.
Tennessee junior Aaron Everett threw 1 1/3 shutout innings in relief of Morgado. It was Everett's SEC-leading 13th appearance of the season.
The series concludes Sunday at 2 p.m. Sophomore left-hander Nick Hernandez (0-1, 4.95 ERA) will start on the mound for Tennessee, while Georgia sends junior left-hander Nathan Moreau (1-0, 2.01 ERA) to the hill.