Friday April 29, 2005No. 18 Vols Take Opener from No. 3 Gators, 11-5
No. 18 Tennessee used an 18-hit attack and the pitching of junior Luke Hochevar to grab an 11-5 victory over third-ranked Florida on Friday night in front of 4,023 fans at McKethan Stadium. The Vols (31-13/11-7 SEC) scored single runs between the second and sixth innings before erupting for three scores in both the seventh and ninth to end the Gators’ (30-11/13-6 SEC) modest three-game winning streak.
UT also closed to within 1.5 games of the Eastern Division lead with the triumph. The nation’s leader in victories, Hochevar (10-2) worked eight innings in which he allowed four hits, three runs and registered seven strikeouts. Five different Vols turned in multiple-hit outings, with freshman Julio Borbon leading the way by going 3-for-5 with a career-high five runs batted in. Eight of Tennessee’s nine starters contributed at least one hit, as Florida’s pitching staff surrendered its most hits since April 16, 2004 - when Mississippi State totaled 19 hits during an 11-2 win in Starkville.
Tennessee opened the scoring in the second on an RBI single to right field by Borbon. Junior Chase Headley (3-for-4, three runs) started the frame with a single up the middle before junior Kelly Edmunson popped up to sophomore first baseman Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.). Senior Eric King (3-for-4, two runs) sliced a base-hit into right and Headley stole third to give the Vols runners on the corners with one down. Following Borbon’s single, the Gators turned a 6-4-3 double play on junior Michael Rivera’s grounder to prevent further damage.
A two-out single in the third by Headley gave UT a 2-0 advantage. Junior Josh Alley reached on an infield hit with one down before senior Tommy Boss (Dunnellon, Fla.) had junior Eli Iorg (3-for-5, two runs) fly out to center field. Freshman J.P. Arencibia punched the Vols’ fifth hit of the game to left and Headley followed by driving Boss’ 1-1 offering into left center to bring across Alley.
Florida answered with two runs on two hits in the bottom of the inning to tie the game. Hochevar had retired the first six Gators before sophomore Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) drew a leadoff walk. A grounder by junior Justin Tordi (Orlando, Fla.) advanced Jeroloman and junior Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) lined a double into left to narrow the gap to 2-1. Senior Jeff Corsaletti (Port Charlotte, Fla.) extended his hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI single into center to score Barton. A fielder’s choice by sophomore Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) forced Corsaletti at second and sophomore Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) earned a two-out pass from the right-hander. After a wild pitch by Hochevar moved the runners into scoring position and LaPorta was walked intentionally to load the bases, sophomore Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) popped up the next pitch to close the frame.
Tennessee seized a 3-2 lead in the fourth on a single into left by Rivera that brought home King. King had led off with single to right and Boss responded by catching Borbon looking on strikes. King stole second and wound up taking third when Jeroloman’s throw ended up in center field. Rivera’s one-out base-knock moved the visitors back in front before Boss set down senior Rob Fitzgerald and Alley on flyouts.
Florida knotted the game at 3-3 in its next turn at the plate on a groundout by Barton that drove in McArthur. McArthur smashed a double off Hochevar to begin the inning and advanced to third on a grounder by Jeroloman. Tordi reached on a fielder’s choice, keeping his teammate on third, and Barton nudged a 3-2 pitch to the second base to even the score.
Iorg blasted his team-leading 13th homer to start the fifth, chasing Boss (5-3) and giving Tennessee its third lead of the night. The right-hander equaled his season-high by allowing nine hits over four innings and threw 63 pitches. King’s rifled a triple down the right-field line off senior Connor Falkenbach (Parkland, Fla.) to open the sixth and Borbon followed with a ground out to give the Vols a 4-2 lead.
UT broke the game open in the seventh with three runs on three hits and two Gator errors to build an 8-3 cushion. Iorg reached on an infield hit and swiped second with one down and Arencibia came aboard on an error by McArthur. Headley stroked an RBI single into right field to score Iorg and Arencibia went to third on a bobble by Leclerc. Edmundson was hit by a pitch to fill the sacks and King lofted a sacrifice fly to give Tennessee a 7-3 lead. Borbon legged out an infield hit to score Headley with the Vols’ eighth run.
Tennessee tallied three runs on three hits in the ninth to take an 11-3 lead. Headley drew a leadoff walk from senior Mike Pete (Brandon, Fla.), prompting a pitching change. Edmundson greeted freshman Bryan Augenstein (Sebastian, Fla.) with a single to left before King fouled a bunt to Jeroloman. A wild pitch from the right-hander advanced the runners into scoring position and Borbon scored both of his teammates with a two-bagger just inside the left-field line. Rivera punched an RBI single into center to plate Borbon.
Tordi connected on his fourth home run of the year off sophomore Sean Watson to reduce UF’s deficit to 11-5. Jeroloman had led off with a sharp single off the Vol third baseman and Tordi swatted a 1-2 pitch to left field. Florida lashed four hits in the stanza but put just two runs on the board. Barton (2-for-4, two RBI) and Corsaletti (2-for-5) had half of the hits for the Orange and Blue. Falkenbach allowed four runs (two earned) and four hits over three innings, Pete gave up two hits and a run in one inning and Augenstein was charged with two runs on three runs in the night. Junior Alan Horne (Marianna, Fla.) (4-2, 4.41) will oppose freshman James Adkins (6-1, 2.00) tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m.