JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (release) -- Freshman Will Maddox posted his team-leading fifth three-hit contest of the season but it wasn’t enough as East Tennessee State held off Tennessee, 4-3, on a chilly Wednesday night at Thomas Stadium.
“They took advantage of our miscues,” UT head coach Dave Serrano said. “We throw the ball away to centerfield on a pick to second base, a (wild pitch) that led to the guy to second base and then all they have to do is hit a groundball to score their first run. Little things like that (add up) in a one-run game. When you are having a tough time scoring runs, those things are magnified.
“I didn’t think we took very good at-bats tonight. You have to give credit where credit is due. Their starting pitcher, who has gone 17 innings all year, goes a career-high seven innings in one game and keeps us at bay. We just have to get back to work tomorrow and get ready for a tough series this weekend against Florida.”
Maddox finished 3-for-5 in the contest and scored two of UT’s three runs. Zach Luther added two hits of his own as the duo matched the Buccaneers’ hit total as a team. The Vols had eight hits on the night, but couldn’t string them together at the right times, leaving the bases loaded in the seventh and two on in the eighth.
ETSU closer-turned-starter Kerry Doane (3-1) turned in 6.2 strong innings, striking out seven while scattering seven hits and allowing two runs to pick up the win. In his first relief appearance of the year, Jake Long claimed the save for the Bucs, yielding one run on a hit and two walks over the final 2.1 frames.
Sophomore Carter Watson (3-2) suffered the loss after giving up two runs on two hits in two innings. Drew Steckenrider twirled two shutout innings out of the bullpen and Nick Blount added another for the Big Orange.
An RBI groundout by Clinton Freeman put ETSU on the board in the bottom of the first and Dylan Pratt tacked on another in the second with a run-scoring double to the gap in left-center.
The Vols cut the lead to one in the third. With one out in the frame, Maddox looped a single to left and then moved to second on a groundout. UT put the pressure on with Steckenrider at the plate as he punched a two-strike, two-out double to left with Maddox in motion on the basepaths to give the Big Orange its first tally of the game
The Buccaneers got the run back on a solo home run to right by Pratt in the fourth but the Vols had an immediate answer. Once again it was a one-out single by Maddox that got the rally started as he bunted his way on. He then moved to second on a wild pitch before scoring on a single to left by Luther.
The back-and-forth affair continued in the home half of the frame as ETSU pushed its lead back to two with a two-out RBI single by Andrew Greene.
The Orange and White had a prime opportunity slip away in the seventh as it loaded the bases only to see a pop-up in foul territory end the threat. UT loaded the bases once again in the eighth, this time with just one out, but could only get one run home on a sacrifice fly by Zach Osborne before a strikeout left two runners stranded.
Trailing by a run in the ninth, Long retired the Vols in order with a pair of groundouts and a strikeout to close out the contest.
Tennessee will look to return to the win column this weekend when it hosts a three-game set against No. 4 Florida. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. on Friday, 3 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. The Saturday contest will be televised on SportSouth with Dave Neal and Larry Conley on the call.
For the most up-to-date information about the Tennessee baseball program, visit UTSports.com/baseball and follow @Vol_Baseball on Twitter. To purchase tickets, visit UTTix.com.
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