April 26, 2008
STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Tennessee baseball team erupted for seven runs in the seventh inning Saturday while posting a 12-9 win over Mississippi State at Dudy Noble Field. The Volunteers evened the series while improving to 25-18 (11-9 SEC). Eight different players logged hits in the game for UT.
The Bulldogs fell to 17-26 (5-15 SEC) with the loss.
Tennessee redshirt freshman Bryan Morgado upped his record to 5-2 with a six-inning start in which he allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits with three walks and eight strikeouts. The Miami, Fla., native ran his season strikeout total to 86 in 64 2/3 innings of work—maintaining his impressive average of 12.0 Ks per nine innings this season to rank among the national leaders.
Sophomore shortstop Cody Grisham—the lone Mississippi native on Tennessee’s roster—collected a career-high three hits Saturday with an RBI and two runs scored. The Booneville, Miss., product has four hits and a pair of RBI through the first two games of the series.
Back-to-back homers by Tennessee freshmen outfielders Josh Liles and Kentrail Davis in the top of the first inning Saturday gave the Big Orange an early 2-0 lead. Each was a solo shot. Liles’ longball was his fifth of the season, and Davis’ blast was his ninth of the year.
The Vols stretched their lead to 5-0 with two runs on three hits in the second inning. Third baseman Danny Lima recorded an RBI single before two Vols scored on a two-out Bulldogs infield error.
A Tennessee miscue coupled with an RBI fielder’s choice in the bottom of the second enabled MSU to plate its first two runs of the game. And Bulldogs first baseman Tyler Moore hit a solo homer in the fourth inning to cut UT’s lead to two runs, 5-3.
Vols catcher Yan Gomes drew a bases-loaded, RBI walk in the top of the seventh. The call for ball four on a full count by home-plate umpire Danny Everett drew the ire of MSU head coach Ron Polk, and Polk was quickly ejected from the game.
After Polk finally left the playing field, the Bulldogs brought left-hander Andy Wilson out of the bullpen to face UT designated hitter Jeff Lockwood in a one-out, bases-loaded situation. Lockwood plated one run with an RBI sacrifice fly, but Tennessee’s seventh-inning scoring surge was just getting started.
After freshman left fielder was hit by a pitch to reload the bases, Vols first baseman Cody Brown ripped a three-run double past a diving MSU third baseman Russ Sneed. Lima promptly drove in Brown with an RBI double of his own, and Grisham then brought Lima home with a hard-hit RBI single that put Tennessee up by nine, 12-3.
The Vols’ seven-run seventh saw them send 12 batters to the plate and score five two-out runs.
The Bulldogs added six late runs against the UT bullpen, with three RBI coming on a seventh-inning double by MSU designated hitter Cody Freeman. State twice brought the potential tying run to the plate in the eighth, but Lockwood—who moved to the mound for that inning—limited the damage to a single run.
The loss was credited to Bulldogs starter Ricky Bowen (2-5), who was tagged for nine runs in 6 1/3 innings.
The series concludes Sunday at 1:30 p.m. CT. Tennessee’s starting pitcher likely will be junior right-hander Ty’Relle Harris (2-0, 3.25 ERA), while MSU will send senior left-hander Justin Piggott (2-1, 4.38 ERA) to the hill.