Vols Outlast FIU in 11 Innings, 4-3
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -
Senior Zach Osborne scored from third on a high chopper to first by
freshman Jake Rowland in the bottom of the 11th inning as Tennessee
outlasted FIU, 4-3, on Wednesday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
the score tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the 11th, Osborne opened the
inning with a double to the gap in right-center, extending his hitting
streak to seven games. A sac bunt by Will Maddox moved him up to third
before a high chopper to first by Rowland brought him the final 90 feet
“Hopefully this continues to build steam for what we
are trying to do in this program,” UT head coach Dave Serrano said.
“There was nothing real pretty about that tonight, but the bottom line
is we found a way to get it done and ultimately that’s what we are
looking for right now. I was really proud of the way some guys stepped
up. There were some momentum changes in that game early on, but the
pitching picked up for the offense for not getting on the board early
and then the offense came back and picked up the pitching for the two
runs we gave up early.
“It was great to see some of the young
guys contribute like Jake Rowland getting a big hit and then getting
that big one at the end to score the final run, Parker Wormsley coming
off the bench and Jared Allen hitting that big gapper to score our
first run. Those are the kind of things that are exciting within a
baseball game and I’m just proud that we came out on top. I’m hoping
our guys are feeling good in there right now because we have our hands
full this weekend but I am truly excited that Kentucky is undefeated,
Sophomore Dalton Saberhagen (2-0) picked up the win,
retiring six of the seven batters he faced in two innings of hitless,
shutout relief for the Big Orange, while Christian Malbrough (0-1)
suffered the loss for the Panthers after yielding one run on one hit in
a third of an inning.
Senior Davis Morgan and junior Zach Luther
each had two hits for Tennessee, which out-hit the Panthers 9-6 in the
contest. For Morgan, it was his third multi-hit contest in his last
four games and upped his average during the month of March to .467
“I think (Morgan) is starting to feel settled and
more relaxed and that’s good,” Serrano said. “We need him. We need his
presence in our line up and we need that experience. We need a guy that
can drive a ball in a gap, get some big hits and hit some balls over
Freshmen Robbie Kidd and Conner Stevens each twirled
two shutout innings of relief for the Vols as well, while junior Nick
Blount struck out the side in his only frame and sophomore Carter
Watson fanned four batters in his 2.2 innings of work.
win, Tennessee improved its overall record to 12-8 and evened its mark
in extra-inning contests this season at 2-2. FIU dropped to 8-11 with
The Panthers wasted little time jumping out to a quick
lead, getting a two-strike, two-out, two-run home run to left by Mike
Martinez in the top of the first to go ahead 2-0.
meanwhile, stranded seven runners over the first five innings before
finally breaking through in the sixth. With one out in that frame,
Chris Fritts fought off an inside fastball, muscling it into left for a
single. Jared Allen followed by ripping an offering to left-center for
a run-scoring triple before coming home on a wild pitch just moments
later to tie the game at 2-2.
Tennessee loaded the bases with
nobody out in the seventh but was only able to get one runner home.
Morgan put the tally on the board with a sacrifice fly to center, but
FIU escaped further damage as they doubled off a runner at first on the
play before a foul-out ended the frame.
The Panthers used that
momentum to post an immediate answer, getting a two-out single from
T.J. Shantz, followed by an RBI double by Aramis Garcia to bring the
game back to a deadlock in the top of the eighth. Neither team was able
to do much offensively through the remainder of regulation, sending the
game to extra frames.
The Vols will return to action this
weekend when they continue their 10-game homestand by hosting the
nation's only undefeated team, No. 2 Kentucky (22-0, 3-0 SEC) for a
three-game series. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. on Friday, March 23, 4
p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.