Vols Strike Late To Beat Alabama

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – With Alabama leading 8-6, Tennessee scored four runs in the eighth inning en route to a 10-8 victory over the Crimson Tide in the opening game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series on Friday night from Lindsey Nelson Stadium. With the loss, Alabama falls to 9-17 overall and 1-6 in SEC play. Tennessee improves to 16-10 and 3-4 in conference play.

Alabama held the lead from the first inning through the seventh, before the Volunteers put together its second four-run inning of the game. Tennessee got a single and a walk off UA reliever Taylor Guilbeau to start the eighth, and then a hit batter by Jay Shaw loaded the bases. After a fly ball to right produced the first out, a walk pushed the first run of the inning across for the Vols. Jake Hubbard entered for Shaw, and got a ground out to third, but it allowed the second run of the inning to tie the game at 8-8. With runners on second and third, back-to-back wild pitches allowed the final two runs to score, giving the Vols the win in the first game of the series.

Shaw (0-1) took the loss for UA after allowing two earned runs with a walk and a HBP in a third of an inning. Tennessee relief pitcher Carter Watson got the win to improve to 2-0, after throwing a scoreless eighth inning and Nick Blount picked up his fourth save after allowing two hits in a scoreless ninth.

For the sixth time this season Alabama reached the 10-hit mark, getting a season-high 14 hits. Jared Reaves led the Tide with four hits, as he was 4-for-5 in the game with a run scored and an RBI. Jon Kelton was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, two RBI and a run scored and Ben Moore was 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored.

Taylor Dugas was 1-for-3, with a double a walk, a HBP and three runs scored. Dugas has reached base in all 26 games this season to extend his streak to 38 games and his double marked the 63rd of his career, tying Andy Phillips and Brent Boyd for second all time. He now needs one more double to tie Dave Magadan's school record of 64. Andrew Miller was 1-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored.

Alabama starting pitcher Charley Sullivan had his shortest outing of the season, lasting just 3.1 innings. Sullivan allowed five runs on eight hits with a walk and two strikeouts, before giving way to Cary Baxter with the bases loaded in the fourth. Baxter gave the Tide 2.2 innings, allowing one earned run on three hits with a walk and a strikeout.

Alabama got on the scoreboard in the first, as Moore drove in Dugas from third with a two-out RBI single to center field. Dugas reached on a walk to leadoff the game, and after a sac bunt and a groundout, Dugas scored for the 208th time in his career.

The Tide opened a 6-0 lead after scoring five runs on five hits in the third. A Moore single with the bases loaded pushed Dugas across, then a two-run single by Miller and a two-run double to left by Kelton followed to give the Tide a 6-0 lead after 2.5 innings.

Tennessee answered the five-run Bama third with four runs in the bottom of the inning. A leadoff home run by Ethan Bennett was the first run, then after a double by Zach Osborne, Will Maddox cut the UA lead in half, 6-3, when he hit his first home run of the season off the right field foul pole. The Vols added another run in the frame when Zack Luther, who doubled, came in to score on a pair of groundouts.

Bama got one run back in the fourth on a pair of doubles by Dugas and Reaves, as Dugas scored for the third time in the game, making the score 7-4. Tennessee got a run in a bases loaded single by Maddox in the fourth, making the score 7-5. After a pitching change for Alabama, Cary Baxter got Luther to line out to left field, and then Bennett left early and was doubled off third to end the threat. Alabama scored an unearned run in the fifth to take an 8-5 lead and Tennessee answered with a run in the sixth, when Chris Pierce stole home, making the score 8-6 in favor of the Tide.

The Crimson Tide and Volunteers will play game two of the series on Saturday, with first pitch at 12 p.m. CT from Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The game will be televised on CSS and ESPN3.com with Bernie Guenther and Rusty Ensor calling the action. Alabama is scheduled to start freshman lefty Justin Kamplain (1-1, 2.54 ERA), while Tennessee will throw senior left-hander T.J. Thornton (0-0, 5.25).

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