Vols drop opener against Wildcats, 5-3

Knoxville, TN. Kentucky used a three-run eighth inning to hand the Tennessee baseball team a 5-3 series-opening loss Friday night at Robert M. Lindsay Field at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Wildcats pitcher Chris Rusin held the Volunteers lineup to just four hits before UK reliever Andrew Albers came on to log his fourth save of the year.

In 7 2/3 innings, Rusin allowed just three runs (two earned) on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts. He improved to 5-2 with the win. A trio of Tennessee pitchers totaled 11 strikeouts in the setback.

Wildcats right fielder Sawyer Carroll gave UK (36-14, 12-13 SEC) an early lead with a solo homer in the top of the first inning.

Kentucky starting pitcher Chris Rusin held the Vols hitless through three innings, but Tennessee (25-25, 11-14 SEC) took the lead in the bottom of the fourth by taking advantage of a Wildcats error and plating two runs on one hit. After initially reaching on a walk, UT catcher Yan Gomes scored on an RBI double by freshman right fielder Josh Liles. Tennessee later took the lead when third baseman Cody Brown?who reached on a fielding error by Kentucky first baseman Brian Spear?scored from third base on an RBI sacrifice fly by Jeff Lockwood.

The Wildcats used another solo home run?this time off the bat of preseason All-America left fielder Collin Cowgill?to tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the sixth. It was just the fifth hit surrendered by UT starting pitcher Nick Hernandez in the game.

A well-laid bunt single by Cats designated hitter Bryan Rose in the top of the eighth gave Kentucky runners on the corners with no outs, and Carroll then drew a walk to load the bases. The base on balls snapped a streak of 33 1/3 consecutive innings without a walk by Hernandez, who was immediately lifted in favor of junior reliever Ty?Relle Harris.

Cowgill greeted Harris with a go-ahead, two-run basehit through the left side of the UT infield, and another run crossed on a wild pitch later in the frame to make the score 5-2 in favor of the Wildcats.

Vols left fielder P.J. Polk led off the bottom of the eighth with a double off the centerfield wall and later scored on an RBI sacrifice fly by Gomes to make it a two-run game.

Hernandez (1-5) took the loss after being touched for five runs on eight hits with nine strikeouts through seven innings. The sophomore still has not issued multiple walks in any of his 12 starts this season, and he boasts 55 strikeouts against just eight walks on the year.

Harris pitched one inning out of the UT bullpen before sophomore Steve Crnkovich entered to work the final frame. Neither hurler allowed a run.

Friday?s game went into a rain delay in the top of the fifth inning and resumed at 9:40 p.m. after a stoppage lasting 75 minutes.

The series resumes Saturday at 1 p.m., and the game will be televised regionally on SportSouth. Tennessee Freshman All-America candidate Bryan Morgado (5-3, 3.88 ERA) will start on the mound against Kentucky left-hander James Paxton (3-2, 3.32 ERA).

2008 TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS
#22 Kentucky at Tennessee
May 09, 2008 at Knoxville, Tenn. (Lindsey Nelson Stad.)

Kentucky 5 (36-14,12-13 SEC) Tennessee 3 (25-25,11-14 SEC)

Player AB R H RBI BB SO PO A LOB Player AB R H RBI BB SO PO A LOB
------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------------
Ryan Wilkes 2b........... 4 1 1 0 0 0 1 3 1 P.J. Polk lf............. 4 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
Bryan Rose dh............ 5 1 1 0 0 3 0 0 0 Kentrail Davis cf........ 4 0 0 0 0 3 6 0 0
Sawyer Carroll rf........ 4 2 1 1 1 0 3 0 1 Yan Gomes c.............. 2 1 0 1 1 0 10 1 0
Troy Frazier rf......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Cody Brown 3b............ 3 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0
Collin Cowgill lf........ 4 1 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 Josh Liles rf............ 4 0 1 1 0 0 3 0 1
Brian Spear 1b........... 3 0 1 0 1 1 9 0 1 Jarred Frazier dh........ 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0
Chris Wade ss............ 4 0 0 0 0 1 1 4 1 Shawn Griffin ph........ 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Spencer Korus 3b......... 4 0 1 0 0 2 0 1 0 Jeff Lockwood 1b......... 3 0 1 1 0 0 6 0 1
Keenan Wiley cf.......... 4 0 1 0 0 1 6 0 2 Danny Lima 2b............ 4 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 2
Marcus Nidiffer c........ 4 0 1 0 0 2 7 1 1 Cody Grisham ss.......... 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1
Chris Rusin p............ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Tanner Moore ph......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Brock Baber p........... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Alan Wright ph.......... 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1
Andrew Albers p......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Nick Hernandez p......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Ty'Relle Harris p....... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Steve Crnkovich p....... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Totals................... 36 5 10 4 2 11 27 9 7 Totals................... 31 3 5 3 3 8 27 6 6

Score by Innings R H E
-------------------------------------------
Kentucky............ 100 001 030 - 5 10 1
Tennessee........... 000 200 010 - 3 5 1
-------------------------------------------

E - B. Spear(9); Crnkovich(3). LOB - UK 7; UT 6. 2B - R. Wilkes(11); K. Wiley(10); Polk(10); Liles(8). HR - S. Carroll(13);
C. Cowgill(17). SH - R. Wilkes(8). SF - Gomes(4); Lockwood(3).

Kentucky IP H R ER BB SO AB BF Tennessee IP H R ER BB SO AB BF
----------------------------------------------- -----------------------------------------------
Chris Rusin......... 7.2 4 3 2 3 6 26 31 Nick Hernandez...... 7.0 8 5 5 1 9 29 30
Brock Baber......... 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 4 4 Ty'Relle Harris..... 1.0 1 0 0 1 1 4 5
Andrew Albers....... 0.1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 Steve Crnkovich..... 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 3 4

Win - C. Rusin (5-2). Loss - Hernandez (1-5). Save - A. Albers (4).
WP - C. Rusin(4); Harris(7). Inherited runners/scored: B. Baber 1/0; A. Albers 1/0; Harris 3/3.
Umpires - HP: David Savage 1B: Kevin Assman 3B: Randolph Harvey
Start: 7:03 pm Time: 3:05 Attendance: 1918
Game notes:
The game went into a rain delay in the top of the fifth inning and resumed
at 9:40 p.m. after a 75-minute delay.
Hernandez faced 3 batters in the 8th.


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