Athens, GA. (WVLT/SUBMITTED) -- No. 21 Tennessee had three hits and scored a run in the first inning, but Georgia southpaw Ryan Lawlor settled in, allowing just two more hits and no runs from the Vols over a nine-strikeout complete game as Georgia evened the series with a 4-1 win at Foley Field on Friday night.
The loss snaps a four-game winning streak and drops the Vols' record to 23-10 overall and 6-8 in Southeastern Conference play. Georgia picked up win No. 20, improving to 20-14-1 and 6-7-1 in league action.
Freshman right-hander Hunter Martin (2-2) took the loss in one of his best outings of the season. The Murfreesboro, Tenn., native kept the Vols in it with a career-best seven-inning performance. Martin allowed just four hits, including just one out of the infield, and four runs. Martin struck out three and walked none in his seventh career start. Martin retired the Bulldogs in order five times on the night.
"I thought he pitched well; he gave us a chance," said head coach Dave Serrano on Martin. "There were some situations where I felt he lost his focus a little bit, but I thought he gave us a chance. He didn't have his best stuff, but he gave us an opportunity to win.
"Unfortunately, we had too many breakdowns in many areas. First and foremost, offensively, but you have to tip your hat to [Lawlor]. He's a good college pitcher; left-handed pitcher that is crafty. He did a good job and went 125 pitches. I think if we had sustained at-bats earlier in the game we probably get to their bullpen, which would have been key to see a different look."
Offensively, Tennessee had five different Vols record singles in the outing. Freshman Nick Senzel was 1-for-2 with UT's lone RBI, while Will Maddox was also 1-for-2 with two walks and he scored the Vols' lone win.
The story of the night was Lawlor (3-2). He pitched his first career complete game for Georgia, allowing just one run, three walks and five hits while striking out a career-best 10. The crafty lefty held the Vols' potent offense hitless for the final five innings.
The Vols played a little small ball in the first inning on Friday night and it paid off. Maddox opened the game with the Vols' 19th bunt single of the season, a hard-hit and well-placed drag between the pitcher and first baseman. A.J. Simcox followed by laying down his SEC-leading 12th sac bunt, moving Maddox into scoring position with one out. Maddox got a great jump off Lawlor, sliding in safely at third under Hunter Cole's tag for his team-leading 13th stolen base of the season. Scott Price then put Tennessee on the board with a sac fly to left field, bringing Maddox home. Senzel and Christin Stewart also singled in the inning, but Stewart was picked off first to end the threat.
Georgia took its first lead of the series with two runs on two infield hits in the second inning. The Bulldogs loaded the bases with no outs and brought home the runs on a groundout and a fielder's choice to take a 2-1 lead.
After giving up the pair of runs in the second, Martin retired eight-straight for UT, including five via groundouts to Vol infielders.
Georgia picked up its first hit out of the infield in the fifth inning as Cole drove an RBI single through the left side to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead. UGA then extended its lead to 4-1 with a sac fly to left field. Through five frames, Georgia had just four hits but led the Vols by a three-run margin.
The Orange and White brought the game's tying run to the plate in the form of Senzel in the eighth, but he flew out to deep center field to end the threat.
Tennessee will go for the series win on Saturday at Foley Field at 4 p.m. ET. Coming off his best outing of his career against Vanderbilt last week, freshman Kyle Serrano (3-1) will take the mound for UT. He will be opposed by fellow frosh Robert Tyler (3-2) of UGA. John Wilkerson, "The Voice of Tennessee Baseball" will be on the call for the Vol Network. Saturday's broadcast can be heard live on WNML "The Sports Animal" at AM 990 in Knoxville and online via www.UTSports.com/allaccess.