Tide tops Vols in SEC opener

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The University of Alabama baseball team answered every Tennesee run on Friday night and then delivered the knockout punch with a four-run seventh inning to post a 7-3 win in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

The Crimson Tide scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, aided by three walks, a balk, a throwing error and a wild pitch. The four-run inning snapped a 3-3 tie and extended UA's win streak to six straight games.

Carlos Sosa, Jeremy Brown and Brent Boyd walked to load the bases and Beau Hearod delivered a two-run single to left to give Alabama a 5-3 lead. Travis Garner followed with an infield single and a wild throw by UT shortstop Walter Sevilla allowed Boyd to score from third on the play. Garner later scored on a wild pitch by losing pitcher Joey Andrews (2-3) to cap the four-run inning.

"We answered every time Tennessee scored," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "I like the way our team battled back and won the game. To start the SEC season with a win is huge for us."

Alabama (17-2, 1-0 SEC) has won six of its eight SEC openers under Wells, but suffered a 12-4 loss to Vanderbilt at home last year and eventually lost the series.

Tennessee (10-11, 0-1 SEC) tied the game in the seventh inning when Dennis Gomez homered over the scoreboard in left field to lead off the inning.

Alabama took its first lead of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning on a two-run home run by Brown. It was his seventh of the season and sixth in his last seven games.

Peter Stonard started the rally as he reached on infield hit, beating the throw from first baseman Dennis Gomez with a head-first dive. Brown then crushed a 3-2 fastball over the left field wall to give the Crimson Tide a 3-2 lead.

"We got big hits from Brown and Hearod and I thought Cormier was very good," Wells added.

UT starter Ben Riley worked five innings and allowed three runs on seven hits. He walked three and struck out two batters. He did not receive a decision after the Vols tied the game in the seventh inning.

Alabama senior Lance Cormier notched his second consecutive complete game and eighth of his career going the distance for Alabama. The Lafayette, La., native allowed three runs on six hits en route to his fifth career win over the Vols. Cormier also added five strikeouts and one walk.

The win was Cormier's 26th career win at Alabama, leaving him one shy of the all-time record of 27 career wins held by Mike Innes (1968-71).

Tennessee scored an unearned run of Cormier in the bottom of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. Nick Crowe singled up the middle with one out and moved to second on a passed ball by Jeremy Brown. After a balk by Cormier sent Crowe to third base, Cormier got a ground out from Brandon Hopkins for the second out.

Adam Smith then grounded to short but reached first base when Zac Welch dropped the throw from Adam Pavkovich. Crowe scored from third on the play to give UT a 1-0 lead.

Alabama tied the game in the bottom of the first inning with a pair of two-out hits. Peter Stonard doubled down the left field line with two outs off Riley. Jeremy Brown walked and then Brent Boyd followed with an RBI single to right, scoring Stonard with the tying run.

The Volunteers regained the lead with a run in the top of the fifth inning as Chad LeGate's safety squeeze bunt scored Walter Sevilla from the third base. Sevilla led off the inning with an infield single and moved to second with a stolen base.

The run was the first allowed this year by Alabama in the fifth inning.

After moving to third on a wild pitch by Cormier, LeGate's laid down a safety squeeze bunt to score Sevilla with the go-ahead run.

Alabama and Tennessee continue their three-game series with a 3 p.m. game Saturday and a 2 p.m. start on Sunday.

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