"You have to give Tennessee a lot of credit for the way they played," said head coach Pat McMahon. "They have an outstanding offensive club, and Craig Cobb is one of the great competitors in our league. I thought we responded very well, but unfortunately, we had to chase runs and that makes it tough. We were picked to finish last in our league, and it is a great compliment to our guys and their improvement to play themselves into the SEC Tournament."
Tennessee banged out 18 hits and socked four homers, led by four hits apiece by juniors J.P. Arencibia (4-for-5, three RBI, two runs) and Julio Borbon (4-for-6, three runs, two RBI). Senior Craig Cobb (8-5) went 6.1 innings for the win and freshman Jeff Lockwood notched his eighth save with 2.2 hitless frames in which he gave up one unearned run. Freshman Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) went 3-for-4 and homered to lead the Gators.
Tennessee totaled five hits and plated five runs in the first off freshman Billy Bullock (Valrico, Fla.) (2-7), courtesy of a two-run homer by Borbon and a three-run blast by junior Shawn Griffin. Junior Andy Simunic walked on four pitches to start the game and Borbon followed with his third round-tripper of the season to right field. Arencibia singled through the left side and Lockwood roped a one-out double for a pair of runners in scoring position. With two down, Griffin cranked a three-run blast over the wall in right for his sixth homer to give the Vols a 5-0 lead. After a single up the middle by sophomore Cody Brown, Bullock was replaced by sophomore Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.).
UT added another run in the second on a sacrifice fly by Arencibia. Borbon legged out an infield hit with one down, stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error by sophomore catcher Cody Neer (Orlando, Fla.).
A wild pitch by Keating in the third frame enabled Griffin to score Tennessee's seventh run. Griffin had drawn a one-out walk and moved over on Brown's infield hit. After a grounder by sophomore Danny Lima advanced the runners, Keating's pitch eluded Neer and Griffin came racing home.
Florida closed to within 7-3 in the fifth on five hits and an error. Sophomore Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) led off with a single but was thrown out on the play trying to take second. Consecutive hits by Neer, senior Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) and den Dekker loaded the bases, and freshman Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) delivered a two-run single for a 7-2 margin. Cobb had junior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) pop up and the Vols elected to walk senior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) intentionally for the eighth time in the series to load the bases with two down. Delmonico misplayed senior Brian Leclerc's (Clearwater, Fla.) grounder, allowing den Dekker to score and Cobb worked out of further trouble by having senior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) fly out to the warning track in center field.
"Our goal was to win two-of-three this weekend to try to get us closer to a regional," Figueroa said. "It makes it a little tougher on us now. We battled today and scored seven runs. Even though we were down early, we didn't give up. I think everyone's feeling pretty good. Now, we just need to concentrate on winning in Hoover."
Tennessee added four more runs on five hits in the sixth to build an 11-3 advantage. Senior David Hurst (Jacksonville, Fla.) took over for Keating (4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R) at the outset of the frame and Borbon beat out an infield single with one down. Arencibia tagged his eighth round-tripper of the year into the left-field bleachers and Gomes followed with his eighth big fly to right center. After Hurst (0.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R) issued a two-out walk to Delmonico, junior Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) came out of the bullpen and was greeted by a smash from junior pinch hitter Chad Maddox for two runners in scoring position. Brown's third hit of the afternoon, just beyond third base, put the Vols ahead by eight runs.
Florida countered in the home part of the seventh with three runs on two hits to pull within 11-6. Den Dekker began the stanza with his seventh homer, a rope that ricocheted off the scoreboard overlooking right field. Figueroa doubled with one down, LaPorta was walked intentionally again and Leclerc earned a free pass to fill the bases. Cobb walked Pride for an 11-5 margin and was replaced by Lockwood. Over 6.2 innings, the right-hander yielded 10 hits and six runs (five earned) with four walks and three K. Barnes lofted a sac fly to center to score LaPorta and reduce the deficit to five runs. Lockwood had Neer fly out to right field to strand the pair of runners.
A bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the eighth by freshman Hampton Tignor (Sarasota, Fla.) brought UF within 11-7 but it could get no closer. The Gators had filled the sacks on a leadoff walk by freshman Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.), Figueroa reached on an error and Townsend earned another free pass. After Tignor's first career sac fly, Lockwood fanned Leclerc to end the inning.
Five Tennessee players turned in multiple-hit outings, while den Dekker, Barnes (2-for-4) and Figueroa (2-for-5, two RBI) provided the majority of Florida's 10 hits. Freshman Kevin Chapman (Coral Springs, Fla.) threw the final 2.1 innings on the hill for the hosts and did not allow any runs.
Courtesy UF Sports Information