BASEBALL: Hochevar, Vols drop Gators 11-5

Luke Hochevar became the first SEC pitcher to win ten games as Tennessee blasted Florida 11-5 in front of 4,023 at McKethan Stadium Friday night. Hochevar (10-2) scattered four hits and three earned runs in eight innings, while striking out seven. Offensively, the Vols ripped Florida for 18 hits on the evening. With the win, Tennessee closed the gap to 1.5 games on the first place Gators.

This was a terrific baseball game for the first six innings. The Volunteers (31-13, 11-7) scored one run in each of the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, while Florida (30-11, 13-6) scored two in the third and one in the fourth. With the Vols leading 5-3, the wheels fell off for the Gators in the seventh.

Tennessee right fielder Eli Iorg singled off of reliever Connor Falkenbach. J.P Arencibia then hit a bouncer that third baseman Brandon McArthur couldn't come up with the handle. Third baseman Chase Headley then followed with a single to right scoring Iorg. Arencibia advanced all the way to third as right fielder Brian LeClerc misplayed the ball. Designated hitter Kelly Edmundson was hit by a pitch. Shortstop Eric King then flew out to right scoring Arencibia. Freshman Julio Borbon singled to right scoring Headley. Three hits, two errors and most importantly three runs later the Vols led 8-3.

The Vols scored three more in the top of the ninth to move the game to 11-3. To their credit, Florida battled back. With Hochevar having thrown 126 pitches, Tennessee Coach Rod Delmonico went to his closer, who struggled mightily.

The Gators ripped Sean Watson for four consecutive hits, including a two-run home run by Justin Tordi. However, Watson struck out Gavin Dickey on a full count with a very questionable outside pitch. Adam Davis reached on a fielder's choice that took Jeff Corsaletti out at second and Matt LaPorta grounded out to end the game.

The Vols had four hitters (Iorg, Headley, King, and Borbon) record three hits apiece. The 18 hit barrage marked the most hits given up by the Gators in a single game this season. Florida was led at the plate by designated hitter Stephen Barton who went two for four with two RBI's and Corsaletti who was two for five with an RBI.

The teams will meet again tomorrow at 4pm at The Mac. Tennessee will throw freshman sensation James Atkins (6-1, .227 OBA) against Florida's hard throwing right hander Alan Horne (4-2, .313).

Atkins, who is third in the conference in strikeouts with 75, was selected in the 13th round by the Philadelphia Phillies last spring. The southpaw is currently fifth in SEC individual pitching ranks.

Horne has more strikeouts per inning (.94) than any other Florida starter. He struck out a career high eight batters last weekend in Auburn.

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