KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Apr. 7, 2004) - East Tennessee State had an early lead against #12 Tennessee, but the Vols rallied for three runs in the middle innings to take the lead, then held on to defeat the Bucs, 6-3, from Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.
The Bucs (14-19) took the advantage with single runs in the second and third innings. Freshman left fielder Stephen Douglas (Kennesaw, Ga.) gave ETSU a 1-0 lead as he laced a line-drive solo home run over the right field wall. In the second, junior first baseman Ryan Spriggs (Crossville, Tenn.) singled to lead off the inning, moved to second on a throwing error and went to third on a balk. Sophomore center fielder Matt Traylor (Knoxville, Tenn.) brought Spriggs home with a sacrifice fly to right.
Tennessee (26-5) rallied to take the lead with three runs in the bottom of the third. Josh Alley reached on a fielder's choice with one out then moved to second as Eric King was hit by a pitch. After a double steal, Kyle Norrid grounded out to short, scoring Alley. Chris Kemp then came to the plate and hit a booming double to center, scoring King. Kemp would then score on a single up the middle by Eli Iorg.
ETSU battled right back, tying the game with a run in the fourth. Senior shortstop Andy Howdeshell (Maryville, Tenn.) worked the count for a single to right. Douglas walked then was thrown out on a double steal attempt, allowing Howdeshell to advance to third. Sophomore designated hitter then Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.) came through with a clutch single to left to score Howdeshell.
The Vols countered with two runs to take the lead back in the bottom of the fifth. Alley led off the frame with a triple to left center followed by a double by King. Traylor made excellent diving attempts at both in center, but could not come up with either. After moving to third on a fly out by Norrid, King scored on a sacrifice fly by Kemp. Buccaneer right fielder Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.) made a leaping catch for that out, saving another extra-base hit.
UT tacked on another run to their lead in the bottom of the sixth. Nick Crowe drew a two-out walk, stole second then scored on a single by Michael Rivera. The Vols threatened to score another run, but Rivera was thrown out at the plate on a strong throw by Douglas on a single to left by King.
ETSU had the tying run at the plate with two outs in the top of the ninth, but Tennessee's Dusty Johnson was able to strike out Traylor to earn his first career save.
Sophomore righty Jeremy Hall (Gray, Tenn.) started for the Bucs and pitched well, allowing no runs on two hits in two innings. Calicutt was charged with the loss (3-5), allowing three runs on five hits over two innings.
Tennessee reliever Chris Howell earned his first career win (1-0) after pitching a perfect fifth inning.
Douglas led the Bucs at the plate, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Tennessee was paced by Kemp, Alley and King who each had two hits. Kemp and Alley scored two runs each while King drove in two.
"I was proud of the way our kids came back and competed tonight," said ETSU head coach Tony Skole following the game. "But I was disappointed that we did not capitalize on some chances that we had. It was a well-played game by both teams, they just made more of their opportunities than we did."
The Bucs return to the diamond on Friday night for the opener of a pivotal three-game Southern Conference series at Wofford. First pitch from Russell King Field in Spartanburg, S.C. is scheduled for 6 p.m.