BATON ROUGE, La. (utsports.com) --- A season-high five errors led to five unearned runs on Saturday afternoon as the Tennessee baseball team suffered an 8-1 loss to LSU at Alex Box Stadium.
“We didn’t play good defense and that’s usually one of the things we do well,” UT Head Coach Todd Raleigh said. “We got exposed a little bit today. We have some guys playing out of position because of injuries and it caught up to us today. We usually make those plays. The ball kept finding us. They are just out of position. It’s not their fault. It’s not like they aren’t playing hard, they are. In this league, you can’t win with the injuries we’ve had or when you give a team more than three outs in an inning.”
Junior Charley Thurber was 2-for-3 at the plate for the Volunteers with a single and a double high off the right field wall in just his second game back after missing 14 contests with a wrist injury. Sophomore Chris Fritts knocked in the only UT run of the day with an RBI single in the second.
Sophomore Nick Blount tossed a career-high 6.2 innings, but suffered the loss for the Big Orange to fall to 1-4 on the season. He allowed eight runs, but just three were earned, while striking out three. Fellow classmate Zack Godley finished out the game for UT, allowing two hits and striking out a batter in 1.1 scoreless frames of work.
“I thought Nick Blount pitched a lot better than it might look like in box score,” Raleigh said. “He got a lot of groundballs which is key for him. When he is doing that, he is really good. I thought this was the best he has pitched since Alabama. I kind of knew (the defensive mistakes) were going to happen. I kind of sensed that because of the type of pitcher he is. This field is hard too. It has that second hop that is a little tough and that made it tough on some of our infielders.”
LSU was the first to crack the scoreboard, plating an unearned run in the bottom of the first on a single by Mikie Mahtook. The Vols got the run right back, however, tying the game at 1-1 in the very next frame. Sophomore Drew Steckenrider drew a leadoff walk, but a strikeout and fly out threatened to leave him stranded at first. Junior Davis Morgan and Fritts followed with back-to-back two-out singles though to bring him around to score.
Unfortunately for fans of the Orange and White, the Tigers grabbed the lead back with two runs in the home half of the second and never let go. LSU also added a run in the fourth, a tally in the fifth and scored three times in the seventh to bring the final count to 8-1.
Senior southpaw Rob Catapano (2-5, 6.31) is tentatively slated to start the series final for the Vols at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday. Freshman right-hander Ryan Eades (3-1, 4.13) will get the nod for LSU.
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Tennessee falls to 23-26 overall and 5-21 in the SEC with the loss…UT is now 21-49 all-time against LSU, including a 7-30 mark in Baton Rouge…The Vols committed a season-high five errors…That is the team’s highest error total since committing six at Coastal Carolina on Feb. 27, 2009…LSU stranded nine runners, while UT left four men on base…The Big Orange managed just four hits for the second consecutive day…The UT pitching staff did not walk a batter for the fourth time this season…Official game time was two hours, 19 minutes.