April 29, 2008
KNOXVILLE -- A three-run homer by Western Carolina senior Blake Murphy proved to be the difference Tuesday as the Tennessee baseball team fell to the Catamounts 5-2 at Robert M. Lindsay Field at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The loss dropped the Volunteers to 25-20 on the season and was just UT's sixth setback at home this year.
"It hurts that we didn't win and didn't play well," first-year UT head coach Todd Raleigh said. "We've been struggling. I don't know if it hurts any more (because Western Carolina is my alma mater)."
"We're just not playing well right now. It seems like we out-hit our opponent every single game, and we just don't score runs. It's indicative of a young club."
Tennessee out-hit the Catamounts Tuesday 10-9.
Drew Saberhagen, son of former MLB All-Star and Cy Young Award winner Bret Saberhagen, earned his fourth win of the season while giving up just two runs (one earned) on nine hits through six innings. Cats reliever Garrett Ozar held the Vols scoreless through the final three innings to log his first save of the year.
Jeff Lockwood took the loss for the Vols to fall to 2-2 on the year. Tennessee junior Ryne Simpson held WCU scoreless while pitching the game's final two innings.
Western Carolina (20-24) used Murph's three-run blast to jump out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. It was his 15th homer of the season.
Vols third baseman Danny Lima put Tennessee on the board with a solo home run in the bottom of the second. The junior's second blast of the season was UT?s 49th homer of the year?matching the team's 59-game total from a season ago.
Tennessee centerfielder Kentrail Davis made it a one-run game in the fifth when he scored from third base on a failed pickoff attempt to first by Saberhagen. But the Catamounts increased their cushion to three runs in the top of the seventh courtesy of an RBI walk and a wild pitch. That would mark the end of the night's scoring.
With a third-inning single, Tennessee catcher Yan Gomes extended his active hit streak to 17 games, giving the sophomore the longest such streak by a Vol since Matt Sternberg hit safely in 18 straight games during the 2002 season. Gomes-who was named to the Johnny Bench Award watch list Tuesday-finished the day 2-for-3 with a walk. He also threw out his 11th baserunner of the season.
Vols junior Cody Brown hit his first career triple Tuesday, belting a Saberhagen offering off the top of the centerfield wall in the sixth.
Tennessee hosts Southeastern Conference rival Vanderbilt (31-13, 11-9 SEC) for a three-game series this weekend. Game times are set for 7 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Saturday's game will be televised regionally on FSN South as the "SEC Game of the Week."