#14 Vols Fall To Auburn, 3-2, At Lindsey Nelson Stadium

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The #14 UT Vols scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth and loaded the bases in the ninth inning, but couldn't plate the game-tying run as No. 29 Auburn held on to beat the Vols, 3-2, in front of a season-high 2,742 fans at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Friday night.

The loss was the first of the season at home for the Vols, who are now 18-3 overall and 2-2 in Southeastern Conference play. The Vols are now 12-3 at home after dropping the SEC home opener. Auburn improves to 16-7 on the season and 3-2 in league play. The Tigers have won 10 of their last 11.

"Everything is magnified on a Friday night; everything is magnified in the SEC," said head coach Dave Serrano. "Every game is important. I've seen this coming; this coaching staff has seen this coming. We are very proud of what [our players] have accomplished, but little things have started to sneak in that have made even victories tougher for us. For example - on Tuesday night - we're giving teams too much and it is allowing them to stay close or get back in the game. We have to get that out of our personality right now because we are making it a lot tougher on ourselves."

The Vols have now lost three Friday night games in a row, but rebounded to win the previous weekend series at Arizona State and Missouri.

"We put our backs against the wall again," said Serrano. "I don't like to feel that way, but we are down one. Our goal is always to sweep. The sweep was taken away from us tonight. Now, our next goal is to take the series, and we've got a lot of fighting and clawing to do to get that done."

Down 3-0 heading to the bottom half the eighth inning, the Vols' 2-3 hitters A.J. Simcox and Will Maddox got the rally going with back-to-back singles. Following a Nick Senzel groundout, which moved both runners into scoring position, Vincent Jackson came through with a RBI groundout to cut the Tigers' lead to 3-1. Sophomore outfielder Christin Stewart then roped a single into right field, bringing home Maddox to trim the deficit to 3-2.

Relief pitchers Andy Cox and Peter Lenstrohm held Auburn off the board in the ninth, setting the table for the Tennessee comeback.

The Vols were able to load the bags quickly in the ninth as Tyler Schultz led off the frame with a bouncing single up the middle. Taylor Smart laid the sac bunt down the first baseline to move him into scoring position. Two walks from Auburn's Terrance Dedrick, who was seeking his second save of the season, loaded the bases for UT. The Big Orange, which entered the contest with three walk-off wins, was unable to bring the runs home as Maddox ground into a fielder's choice at the plate and Senzel flew out to right field to end it.

The Vols were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base Friday. Tennessee left the bags loaded in the first, fifth and ninth innings.

Stewart and senior Scott Price led the Vols with 2-for-4 efforts at the plate. Stewart and Jackson picked up the UT RBIs. Auburn leadoff man Jordan Ebert had two hits and the Tigers' catcher Blake Austin was 1-for-3 with a two-RBI double.

Auburn got on the board in the first off a two-out, two-RBI stand up double to right-center field by Blake Austin. Vols' starter Nick Williams got the first two Tigers out, but gave up a full-count walk and a single to put two on with two down. Austin sent the 1-1 pitch from Williams all the way to the right-center wall, bringing in two of his teammates to give AU the early 2-0 lead.

Williams pitched a season-high eight innings for the Vols, giving up six hits, three runs and walking two. The Knoxville native also struck out four in the 106-pitch outing.

The Vols got their first two base runners on in the bottom half of the first, and would later load the bags with one out following a walk to Jackson - his team-leading 13th of the season. Stewart battled in his at-bat, fouling off four pitches from Auburn starter Dillon Ortman, but the Tigers got the groundout to get out of the first unscathed.

Ortman kept the Vols off-balance all night, striking out seven over seven innings of work. Ortman improved to 5-1 on the season with the win.

Following a leadoff single to left field by the Tigers, Williams and the Vols worked out of the third frame behind the glove of Smart. The Maple Valley, Wash., native made a great play on an Auburn sac bunt, tossing over to Price to get the first out, and followed that up by creating a double play. Smart fielded a grounder down the line, ran over to tag Auburn's Jordan Ebert trying to reach third base and then fired over to first for the third out.

Tennessee used singles from Smart and Price and a walk drawn by Maddox to load the bags again in the bottom half of the fifth, before Senzel ripped an inside pitch right at Auburn center fielder Ryan Tella, who made the grab for the final out.

Williams hit Austin to start the sixth - his second hit batter of the contest - and the Tigers were able to move him over with a sac bunt. Auburn first baseman Keegan Thompson tacked on another run for the Tigers as he drove a grounder through the left side of the Tennessee to give his squad a 3-0 advantage.

The Vols and Tigers return to action on Saturday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium for game two of the series. The game will be broadcast live on CSS and online on ESPN3 with Mike Morgan and former Vol Rusty Ensor on the call. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. ET. A radio broadcast with John Wilkerson, "The Voice of Tennessee Baseball," and Vince Ferrara will be available for free on UTSports.com/allaccess.

Willerson, Georgia Northwestern Ready For 2014 Golf Season

Most second-year college golf programs are too busy laying a foundation to concern themselves too much with results. Jared Willerson isn’t thinking that way. In fact, the head coach of the Georgia Northwestern Bobcats is thinking in complete opposite terms when he talks about his team’s goals for the 2014-2015 season. “I don’t think I’m being unrealistic ... (click for more)

Georgia Northwestern Splits Volleyball Tri-Match At Crown College

Head Coach Carrie Powell and the Georgia Northwestern Lady Bobcats volleyball team traveled to Powell, Tenn. on Saturday for a season-opening tri-match against Alice Lloyd College and host Crown College. The Navy-and-White lost their first match of the day to the home team in heartbreaking fashion, three games to one. GNTC claimed a 25-22 victory in the first set and had their ... (click for more)

Bradley, 24, Charged In Death Of Boy, 3; Child Had Numerous Injuries After Left With Boyfriend; Mother Was In Workhouse

Justin Dale Bradley has been charged with criminal homicide in the death of a three-year-old child, who was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday and later died. Police said Dakota James Arndt had numerous injuries over his body. Authorities said Bradley, 24, is the boyfriend of the child's mother, Brianna Kwekel, who was in the Workhouse at the time. Ms. Kwekel was serving 48 ... (click for more)

Helen Burns Sharp Asks Recovery Of Legal Fees In Successful Black Creek TIF Lawsuit

Helen Burns Sharp, citizen activist who sued to try to stop a $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and won, is seeking to have her legal expenses paid by the city and the developers. Ms. Sharp said in a court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka are $74,427 thus far. Chancellor Frank Brown ruled in favor of Ms. Sharp, saying the Sunshine ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)

Insurance Burden Should Not Fall On The Teachers

I have attended several Hamilton County School Board meetings over the past few months, including the recent special called meeting" to vote on teacher insurance changes. First, let me say I am very impressed with Superintendent Rick Smith and his staff at the Central Office.  Mr. Smith is a very dedicated public servant, working hard to provide services to our community ... (click for more)