KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee stranded a season-high 16 runners, including 10 in scoring position, and committed three errors as it dropped a 7-5 decision to Longwood University on Tuesday afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The Vols pounded out 12 hits in the contest but were just 5-for-22 with runners on base and 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position, leaving the bases loaded twice.
“We have no one to blame but ourselves of not taking care of the baseball and not making enough plays,” UT head coach Dave Serrano said. “I don't expect our guys to make diving catches like their guy did in center field but we're just not making plays that we have to make to be a successful team and that's what's killing us. We left a lot of guys on base today, there's no way to look around that. A lot of those rallies were started with two outs, where we'd give away some at-bats early in the inning and then we'd get some guys on.
“You kind of saw it happening a little bit. I've been around this game long enough and we kept hitting some blurs and they kept getting caught by guys and those are the kinds of games when you know you're in it for a dogfight and that the game is going to challenge you. It challenged us today and we weren't up for the challenge.”
Taylor Smart posted a three-hit performance for the Big Orange, while Will Maddox and Jeff Moberg each had two hits in the loss.
Trevor Charpie (2-3) suffered the loss after allowing three runs (one earned) on two hits in 1.1 innings of work. Eric Martin stuck out a career high four batters while yielding just one run on two hits in 2.1 innings of relief for starter Trevor Bettencourt who pitched 4.0 innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits while fanning three. Zack Godley fired a perfect ninth inning in his first relief effort of the year.
After Longwood put up the first tally of the game with a sacrifice fly in the top of the second, the Vols answered with a two-out rally in the home half of the stanza as Smart and Ethan Bennett drew back-to-back walks, successfully executed a double steal and came home to score on a double to left-center by Vance Vizcaino.
The Lancers regained the lead with runs in each of the next two innings but an RBI single by Moberg brought the game back to a deadlock at 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth. The Vols threatened to add more runs to the scoreboard by loading the bases only to see a sharply-struck line drive by Andrew Lee fall into the glove of a diving right fielder to end the inning.
Following two scoreless innings, Longwood moved back in front with an RBI single in the top of the seventh by Colton Konvicka. That lead looked to be short-lived as Tennessee was able to load the bases with just one out in the bottom of the inning but a strikeout and line-out to left thwarted that threat.
A three-run eighth, which included a solo home run by LU’s Kyrie Washington, pushed the Lancers’ lead to a commanding four runs at 7-3.
The Orange and White was able to cut its deficit to two in the bottom of the inning as Pierce Bily knocked in a run with a groundout and a Longwood error allowed another Vol to cross the plate. UT then inched even closer in the bottom of the ninth, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate after back-to-back two-out singles by Maddox and Moberg, but a two-hopper to second ended the game.
Tennessee will host No. 14 South Carolina this weekend, April 5-7. The series opener is set for a 6 p.m. start on Friday. SportSouth will then televise a 12:30 p.m. showdown on Saturday before the two teams close out the weekend at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
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