April 28, 2007
BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Tennessee baseball team dropped a 4-2 contest to LSU Saturday at Alex Box Stadium as the Tigers evened their weekend series at one game apiece. The Volunteers (24-19, 7-11 SEC) look to win their first-ever series in Baton Rouge with a triumph in Sunday's series-finale. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. CT, and UT will send freshman left-hander Jeff Lockwood to the mound for his first Southeastern Conference pitching start.
As Tennessee's designated hitter Saturday, Lockwood went 4-for-4 with a run and an RBI. The Knoxville, Tenn., native is now 7-for-8 in the series and has hit safely in each of his last seven plate appearances.
Fellow Vols freshman Nick Hernandez had one of his brightest outings of the season, working six innings of relief and allowing one unearned run on three hits with three walks and a career-high six strikeouts.
The Vols put men on second and third with two outs in the top of the ninth, and UT head coach Rod Delmonico brought sophomore Cody Brown - Tennessee's leading hitter with runners in scoring position - into the game as a pinch-hitter. But LSU pitcher Jared Bradford recorded his eighth strikeout of the game to put the finishing touches on a nine-hit, complete-game victory. Bradford improved to 8-2 on the season, while LSU now stands at 24-19-1, (9-10-1 SEC).
After totaling just three hits in Friday's series-opener, LSU needed only one inning to match that total Saturday. Among the Tigers' trio of first-inning hits was an RBI double by first baseman Sean Ochinko that drove in Michael Hollander.
After Hollander led off the bottom of the third with a basehit, LSU designated hitter Blake Dean homered to right field to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead. Tennessee starting pitcher Craig Cobb was lifted two batters later in favor of freshman left-hander Nick Hernandez. Cobb took the loss to fall to 6-4 after giving up three runs on seven hits.
Hernandez took the mound with two runners in scoring position and no outs, but he worked out of the jam nicely, stranding three runners and allowing none to score.
The Vols managed just two hits off Bradford in the first three frames but began to figure out the right-hander in the top of the fourth. Tennessee led off the inning with four consecutive basehits and totaled two runs on five hits in the frame. Lockwood logged an RBI single on his fifth hit in as many plate appearances, and left fielder Shawn Griffin also singled to bring in a run and trim LSU's lead to a single run.
Tigers leadoff man Chris Jackson scored from second base on an infield error in the bottom of the fourth to give LSU a 4-2 edge.
Sunday's game will be televised regionally on Cox Sports Television. LSU will send left-hander Ryan Byrd (5-1, 4.20 ERA) to the mound. Lockwood owns a 2-2 record and a 1.86 ERA in 14 mound appearances for Tennessee this season.