Monthly Archives: April 2016

Vols drop first game of important series against Missouri

Dustin’s Note: Written from watching on SEC Network. I was not in Columbia. 

WHAT HAPPENED: Missouri scored two runs in the eighth inning to take the lead from Tennessee and held on to win 5-4 in Columbia Mo., taking the first game of a three-game series between the teams at the bottom of the SEC East.

The Vols fell to 24-19, 6-13 in the SEC. Missouri improved to 22-21, 5-14.

Missouri took a 1-0 lead in the third on an RBI double by shortstop Ryan Howard, but Tennessee tied the game on a squeeze bunt by catcher Tyler Schultz in the fourth that brought home Nick Senzel. The Tigers took a 3-1 lead in the fifth on a two-run single by Howard, but the Vols tied the game in the sixth when third baseman Jared Pruett’s push bunt went past Missouri second baseman Connor Brumfield and allowed Vincent Jackson and Jordan Rodgers to score.

The Vols took the lead in the seventh. Center fielder Brodie Leftridge led off the inning with a double, went to third on a balk and then scored on an groundout by Chris Hall, breaking on the throw to first and scoring thanks in part to an errant throw home.

Missouri got to reliever Andy Cox in the eighth, however. Center fielder Jake Ring and Howard began the inning with singles, then first baseman Zach Lavy singled to right to bring in Ring. Two batters later, catcher Brett Bond hit a roller to short, but Howard just beat the throw home from Senzel to give Missouri a 5-4 lead.  Continue reading

Alicea, Alabama State shut out Tennessee 3-0

WHAT HAPPENED: Alabama State junior right-hander Angel Alicea threw seven shutout innings to lead the Hornets to a 3-0 win over Tennessee in front of 1,274 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Vols fell to 24-18. The Hornets, who are 18-0 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, improved to 28-14 overall.

Tennessee failed to score with the bases loaded in the first and Alabama State scored all of its runs in the second. Junior first baseman Chris Biocic led off with a double down the left field line. Sophomore third baseman Ray Hernandez was hit by a pitch, and they moved to second and third on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore catcher Hunter Allen. Freshman shortstop Eriq White lined a single up the middle to score Biocic. Hernandez held at third, but center fielder Brodie Leftridge’s throw went over the backstop and through the netting behind it, allowing Hernandez to score and White to go all the way to third. White then scored on a squeeze bunt by freshman second baseman Oscar Prioleau.

Tennessee never got a runner past second base the rest of the game. Continue reading

Chris Hall, Vols beat Eastern Kentucky 4-3 on walk-off hit

WHAT HAPPENED: Senior right-fielder Chris Hall’s walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Tennessee a 4-3 win over Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday in front of 1,187 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium

The Vols improved to 24-17. The Colonels fell to 17-25.

Tennessee took a 1-0 lead when Hall doubled in the first and then scored on an RBI groundout by senior left fielder Vincent Jackson, but Eastern Kentucky scored two runs in the third on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Mandy Alvarez and an RBI single by designated hitter Kyle Nowlin.

The Vols tied the game in the sixth with a solo home run over the right field wall by Jackson and took a 3-2 lead in the seventh on a bases-loaded balk. Eastern Kentucky tied the game on an RBI single in the eighth by shortstop Cole Warrenfeltz, but UT third baseman Jared Pruett led off the bottom of the ninth with an infield single to short, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored when Hall laced a 2-1 change up to left field.

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: Hall was 2-for-4 with the game-winning RBI and reached base in three of his five plate appearances. Jackson was 1-for-4, but had two RBI.

Sophomore right Hander Eric Freeman struck out four batters in 5 1/3 innings, and the bullpen was better than usual Hunter Martin pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings and had two key strikeouts Jon Lipinski gave up a walk and a hit, but got four outs without giving up a run.

WHY DID IT HAPPEN: The Vols appeared lethargic early and seemed to be pressing through the middle innings, but the pitching staff and defense were good enough to keep them in it, and they got just enough hits to get a win

WHAT DOES IT MEAN: The Vols have to get a lot accomplished to return to the NCAA tournament discussion, and a lot of that has to happen on the weekends. To even get back on the radar, the Vols have to not only have success on the road against Missouri and Georgia, which are with them near the bottom of the SEC East, but against powerhouses Florida and LSU.

It remains important, though, that the Vols not sabotage themselves with bad mid-week performances. They’ve kept from doing that so far, and haven’t lost a mid-week game since March 8. This kept the streak going.

Cox pitches four hitless innings of relief to lead Vols to 2-1 win over Vandy

WHAT HAPPENED: Tennessee senior left-hander Andy Cox pitched four hitless innings of relief to help the Vols hold on to a 2-1 win over No. 5 Vanderbilt on Saturday in front of 2,620 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

The Vols improved to 21-17 overall, 4-12 in the SEC. the Commodores fell to 30-8, 10-6.

Tennessee took the lead on a double-steal that scored junior first baseman Jordan Rodgers in the second and an inside the park home run by catcher Benito Santiago in the third. Santiago hit a fly ball to the wall in right field and Vanderbilt right fielder Jeren Kendall crashed into the wall and didn’t stand up until the play was over.  Continue reading

Vanderbilt at Tennessee, Game 2

Top 9th: Andy Cox retired the side in order and struck out the last two batters to end the game. Tennessee wins 2-1 and improves to 22-17 overall, 5-12 in the SEC.

Bottom 8th: Nick Senzel doubled to lead off the eighth and Jordan Rodgers and Derek Lance drew walks to load the bases, but Jared Pruett grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning. Tennessee leads 2-1.

Top 8th: Andy Cox retired the side in order. Tennessee leads 2-1.

Bottom 7th: Vandy left-hander John Kilichowski retired the side in order in the seventh. Tennessee leads 2-1.

Top 7th: Andy Cox walked two hitters but struck out two more to get out of the seventh. Vols still lead 2-1.

Bottom 6th: Jordan Rodgers reached with a two-out double and took third on a wild pitch. Matt Waldren and Derek Lance walked to load the bases. Jared Pruett struck out looking to strand them, however. Tennessee leads 2-1.

Top 6th: Andy Cox walked the first batter he saw in relief, but retired the next three. Tennessee leads 2-1. Continue reading

Sheffield, Vanderbilt shut out Vols 6-0

WHAT HAPPENED: Vanderbilt’s Jordan Sheffield pitched eight shutout innings and the Commodores cruised to a 6-0 win over Tennessee in front of 2,084 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Friday night.

The Vols fell to 21-17 overall, 4-12 in the SEC. No. 5 Vanderbilt improved to 30-8, 10-6.

Vanderbilt jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first before Tennessee recorded an out. Junior left fielder Ro Coleman doubled to the left center field gap, sophomore right fielder Jeren Kendall reached on an error by UT second baseman Derek Lance, and junior center fielder crushed a 2-0 fastball from Aaron Soto over the left center field wall for a three-run home run.

Soto got in a groove after that and retired 21 of the next 23 batters he faced. However, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Sheffield never got out of a groove. The Vols never got a runner past second base all night.  Continue reading

Defense beats offense 70-63 in Orange and White Game

WHAT HAPPENED: Running back John Kelly and wide receiver Jeff George scored touchdowns, but the defense was ruled a 70-63 winner in the Orange and White Game according to Butch Jones’ scoring system.

The game was attended by 67,062, which makes it the third most well-attended Orange and White Game in Tennessee history.

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: Linebacker Quart’e Sapp recorded a team-high nine tackles and nickel back Marquill Osborne recorded eight including a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss. Defensive ends Corey Vereen, Charles Folger and Darrell Taylor and linebacker Colton Jumper each recorded sacks. Safety Todd Kelly Jr. had an interception.

Running back John Kelly rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Preston Williams caught three passes for 77 yards and wide receiver Jeff George caught four passes for 28 yards and a touchdown.

Tight end Ethan Wolf caught three passes for 67 yards including a 57-yarder early in the game that led to Kelly’s touchdown. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs completed five of nine passes for 116 yards. Quarterback Quinten Dormady completed 10 of 15 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown.

WHY DID IT HAPPEN: Tennessee coach Butch Jones said there were 24 players missing from Saturday’s game due to injury, and some of the team’s best players were limited even while healthy. Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara combined for just 13 carries, and when they did rush the ball, Jones made it full go-up, meaning they weren’t tackled to the ground. The Tennessee wide receiving corps was decimated by injuries as was the defensive line, so that made for a less than thrilling scrimmage.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN: Not much. Saturday’s game showed how far the Vols were from 100 percent all spring. Saturday showed that the Vols need a lot of healing between now and September to match the expectations of an SEC East championship.

Tennessee beats Auburn 13-4 in first game of series

Senior left fielder Vincent Jackson drove in three runs and juniors Jordan Rodgers and Nick Senzel drove in two each to lead Tennessee to a 13-4 win over Auburn on Thursday night in the first game of an SEC series at Plainsman Park.

The Vols improved to 20-14 overall, 4-9 in the SEC. Auburn fell to 15-19, 3-10.

Tennessee starter Aaron Soto struck out six batters and allowed just one run on six hits in 6 1/3 innings. Senior Derek Lance had three hits, three runs and an RBI. Sophomore Benito Santiago had two hits, two runs and an RBI, catcher Tyler Schultz had two hits and an RBi and right fielder Chris Hall scored two runs.

Rashaan Gaulden Q and A

A feature on Rashaan Gaulden and his move to safety runs in tomorrow’s paper. You can find it here. 

I sat down with Gaulden for a one-on-one interview earlier this month. Figured that was interesting enough for everyone to read. It follows. My questions are edited for brevity and clarity.

Q: Last year had to break your heart after having a good spring and fall and being injured. What is it like to be back on the field? 

A: It’s a great feeling to be back out there with your teammates. I’m just really relishing this opportunity after being injured last season, being out and being able to benefit them. My goal right now is just to stay healthy so I can benefit my teammates with my coaches. Continue reading