TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (release) -- Tennessee scored in the first inning for the sixth consecutive game but Alabama answered with 12 unanswered runs as the Volunteers (9-8, 0-1) dropped their Southeastern Conference opener, 12-1, to the Crimson Tide (10-8, 1-0) on Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
“I thought we got out-mentalitied tonight,” UT head coach Dave Serrano said. “It doesn’t make me very proud to say that, but they were tougher than us tonight. They fought through some adversity and overcame it, put better swings on pitches, played better defense and made better pitches when they had to. That was the name of the game.”
The Big Orange wasted little time getting on the scoreboard, manufacturing a run without a hit in the top of the first. Taylor Smart led the game off with walk, stole second, moved to third on a sac bunt by Will Maddox and scored on an RBI groundout by Scott Price. Over the course of the last six games, the Vols have scored 13 runs in their first at-bat of the game.
It was all Alabama after that though, as the Crimson Tide took advantage of a season-high four errors to score seven unearned runs, plating four in the second, two in both the fifth and seventh innings and four more in the eighth to account for the game’s final score.
Senior Zack Godley suffered the loss for Tennessee, falling to 1-2 on the year after allowing eight runs – four earned – in six innings of work. Sophomore Eric Martin came out of the bullpen to throw the final two innings for UT, yielding just one earned run – four total - on three hits.
Alabama starter Charley Sullivan went the distance, striking out seven and allowing just the one run on three hits to record his first win of the season.
All three hits for the Vols were singles with Maddox, Price and Christin Stewart notching one each. For Maddox, it extended his career-long hitting streak to 12 games.
The loss snaps a five-game winning streak for UT, as well as a program-best five-game streak over Alabama, dating back to the 2011 campaign.
Tennessee will look to get back into the win column in the second game of the series with Alabama at 7:05 p.m. ET on Saturday. Freshman right-hander Aaron Quillen (1-1, 4.05) will get the start for the Vols, while the Crimson Tide will send sophomore southpaw Jon Keller (2-2, 3.00) to the mound.