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Saturday April 5, 2008Tennessee Takes Opener Over No. 13 Baseball, 5-4

Knoxville, TN -

Tennessee (18-10/6-4 SEC) tallied three runs in the seventh to snap a 2-2 tie en route to a 5-4 victory over No. 13 Florida (20-9/7-3 SEC) in the opener of a doubleheader at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Saturday afternoon. After scoring twice in the ninth on a two-run triple by junior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.), the Gators left the tying run 90 feet away and stranded a pair of runners to end the game.


Vol sophomore left-hander Nick Hernandez (1-1) set a career high with 11 strikeouts and matched his career best of 7.1 innings pitched and junior Danny Wiltz recorded the final five outs for his third save. The clubs will play game two at 4 p.m., live on Sun Sports.


Freshman Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) provided the Gators with a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a two-out double down the right-field line. Barnes had a 10-pitch at bat against Hernandez to begin the game that ended with a single into left field. Barnes swiped his team-leading 14th stolen base, advanced to third on a balk and scored on Adams’ 10th double.


Sophomore Billy Bullock (Balm, Fla.) retired eight-straight Vols before freshman Josh Liles reached on a fielding error by sophomore first baseman Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) with two down in the fifth. After Liles swiped second base, the right-hander had sophomore Cody Grisham ground out to third.


The Gators used consecutive one-out doubles in the sixth to build a 2-0 margin. Sophomore Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) doubled through the left side of the infield and Adams connected on his second two-bagger of the day and fourth in the past two games just inside of the third-base bag for a two-run advantage.


Senior Shawn Griffin tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the inning with a two-out, two-run homer deep to right field. Senior Andy Simunic had led off with a base-hit and moved over on grounders by Davis and sophomore Yan Gomes. Griffin smacked a 2-0 offering from Bullock out of the yard for his third round-tripper of the campaign.


Bullock departed after six innings in which he gave up three hits and two runs, with two walks and two strikeouts. Lockwood had a flare into center field off senior reliever Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) (2-1) to start the home part of the seventh and was sacrificed into scoring position by freshman P.J. Polk. Liles pushed his teammate to third with a fly ball to straightaway center and Lockwood scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball by sophomore catcher Buddy Munroe (Miami, Fla.). Grisham followed with a double and Simunic walked before Davis rocked a two-run double off the left-field wall for a 5-2 lead.


Things started promising for Florida in the eighth, as Barnes doubled and senior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) drew a walk. Hernandez finished his afternoon by having Figueroa fly out, leaving runners on the corners for Wiltz. The righty caught Adams looking on strikes and jammed senior Dustin Bamberg (Winter Haven, Fla.) on an infield fly to preserve the 5-2 lead.      


Tennessee’s bid to pad its lead in the bottom of the stanza was stymied. Griffin slammed a double off the wall in right center off freshman Travis Lawler (College Station, Texas) and went to third on junior Cody Brown’s fly out. Lockwood grounded out to third baseman Townsend, who fired a bullet home to junior Teddy Foster (Jacksonville, Fla.) to hold the deficit at three runs.   


Florida narrowed the gap to 5-4 in the ninth on a two-out, two-run triple by Barnes but could not move closer. Sophomore Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) singled and classmate Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) drew a one-out walk to give the Gators two runners aboard. Senior pinch hitter Bryson Barner’s (Pensacola, Fla.) fielder’s choice forced den Dekker at second and Barnes came through with a clutch triple to clear the bases, as Pigott and freshman pinch runner Chris Freshcorn (Tampa, Fla.) scored. Townsend was hit by a pitch for runners on first and third and Figueroa tagged a 2-0 pitch from Wiltz to third that was scooped up by Brown and thrown over to first to end the game.


Led by Barnes (3-for-5) and Adams (2-for-4), Florida held a 9-7 advantage in hits. Davis and Griffin were each 2-for-4 for UT. Freshman RHP Tommy Toledo (Tampa, Fla.) (4-1, 2.70) will oppose redshirt freshman lefty Bryan Morgado (3-2, 2.54) in the nightcap.




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