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Saturday April 10, 2010Tennessee Evens Series With No. 8 Baseball, 12-4

Knoxville, Tenn.

Behind the strong pitching of senior Stephen McCray (4-3) and an opportunistic offense that scored seven runs with two outs, Tennessee (16-16/3-8 SEC) evened its weekend series with a 12-4 victory over No. 8 Florida (22-8/7-4 SEC) on Saturday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Junior Cody Hawn (2-for-4) tallied four RBI with a pair of two-run doubles for the Vols, while Gator freshman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) (3-for-5) clubbed a couple of solo shots.


Maddox belted his team-leading eighth homer with two down in the first inning off McCray to break the ice. The solo shot landed in “The Porch” seating area overlooking left field.


The Vols evened the score in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single into left field by junior P.J. Polk (3-for-5, three runs) off freshman Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) (3-2). Junior Khayyan Norfolk led off with a base-hit through the right side and moved over on a grounder by sophomore Zach Osborne before scoring on Polk’s hit.


Tennessee seized the lead in the second on an inside-the-park home run by sophomore Matt Ramsey (2-for-3, two runs) that occurred when freshman right fielder Kamm Washington (Boynton Beach, Fla.) crashed into the wall trying to make the catch and was injured on the play. It was Ramsey’s third four-bagger of the year and the Vols’ first inside-the-park round-tripper of the year. Johnson walked junior Blake Forsythe on four pitches and a single by senior Matt Hamaker resulted in runners on the corners with one down. Freshman catcher Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) gunned down Hamaker trying to steal second and Johnson fanned Norfolk to end the inning.


In the third, Polk singled with one out and swiped his team-leading 16th stolen base before junior Josh Liles (1-for-2, two runs) stroked an RBI single into left field for a 3-1 lead. Johnson worked out of further trouble by having junior Matt Duffy (2-for-5, two runs) hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.


Johnson had Osborne line out to left field to start UT’s fifth and was replaced by sophomore Justin Poovey (Granite Falls, N.C.). Over 4.1 innings, Johnson gave up six hits and three runs, with a career-high three walks and two strikeouts. The Vols then exploded for four runs on four hits and an error with two down to take a 7-1 lead. Poovey issued a two-out walk to Liles and a base-hit to Duffy before Hawn roped a two-run double to expand the Vols’ advantage to 5-1. Ramsey had an infield single and freshman shortstop Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) committed his first error of the season with an errant throw over to first base that allowed Hawn to score the sixth run. Forsythe bashed a double into left center to put the Vols ahead by six runs.


After Poovey retired the first two Vols in the sixth, the hosts rallied for three runs on three hits and a walk to build a 10-1 cushion. Polk legged out an infield hit to start the rally, stole second and Liles walked on four pitches for two runners aboard. Duffy poked an RBI single down the left-field line and Hawn launched a two-run double into left center that plated both of his teammates.


McCray limited the Gators to one run on seven hits over 6.1 innings and matched his career high of seven strikeouts without walking any batters. Sophomore Ben McMahan (Windermere, Fla.) (2-for-2) had a pinch-hit single off redshirt junior D.J. Leffler with two down in the seventh but was stranded when the righty struck out sophomore Jerico Weitzel (Ridgway, Pa.).


Leffler gave up one hit over 1.1 innings before being replaced by freshman Nick Blount (1.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER). The right-hander yielded Maddox’s second homer of the contest with two down in the eighth to deep left field. UT countered with a two-run, pinch-hit homer by senior Cody Grisham in the home part of the inning off Poovey (3.2 IP, 9 H, 9 R, 3 BB, 2 K) for a 12-2 margin.


Sophomore Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) connected on a two-run pinch-hit double in the ninth that scored McMahan (single) and senior Hampton Tignor (Sarasota, Fla.) (reached on error) to complete the scoring at 12-4. The Vols had a 15-12 edge in hits and both squads committed one fielding miscue. Senior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and sophomore Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.) also chipped in with two hits apiece for UF.


The Gators and Vols will wrap up the series tomorrow at 12:30 p.m., live on CSS and on Cox Channel 21 in Gainesville. Freshman right-hander Hudson Randall (Atlanta, Ga.) (2-3, 4.68) will oppose Vol sophomore lefty Steven Gruver (1-1, 5.27).


Game Notes

·          The win by Tennessee ended a five-game losing streak to the Gators dating back to a 12-6 triumph on April 5, 2008.

·          Florida is seeking its first series victory in Knoxville since taking two of three games over April 12-14, 2002.

·          Austin Maddox had the first multiple-homer game of his career.

·          Nolan Fontana did not commit an error in his first 127 chances of his collegiate career at shortstop.

·          Preston Tucker had a pinch-hit single in the sixth inning that extended his hitting streak to five games.




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