Dawgs' SEC hopes all but over

KNOXVILLE, TENN. - The 11th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers posted a 16-3 win over Georgia Friday in front of a crowd of 2,367 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Tennessee (38-16, 17-10 SEC) scored at least a run in each of the first five innings and that was plenty of support for projected first-round draft pick Luke Hochevar who entered the game with an SEC-leading 12-2 record and 1.81 ERA. He notched his 13th win, going seven innings and allowing three runs on three hits with a career-high six walks and six strikeouts. He is now 9-1 in the SEC this year.

The Vols grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first. Centerfielder Josh Alley (4-for-5, 4 RBI) smacked a leadoff double. With one out, catcher J.P. Arencibia (4-for-6, 3 RBI) lined a single to right center that allowed Alley to score. He took second on the throw home but that would be it for the Vols in that frame. Tennessee extended its lead to 3-0 in the second. With one out, Rivera was hit by a pitch. Then with two outs, first baseman Alex Suarez, the number nine hitter in the lineup drew a walk. Alley followed with a run-scoring single. Next, Eli Iorg came through with a run-scoring single to left that Jonathan Wyatt fielded and fired back into third base but it went over the head of Adam McDaniel. An alert Derek Smith backing up on the play, grabbed the ball and threw out Iorg trying to advance to second to end the frame. Earlier in the inning, Wyatt made two nice catches in foul territory.

Arencibia struck again in the third when he launched a leadoff home run to right field for a 4-0 lead. It was his 13th blast of the year. Georgia (29-24, 11-16 SEC) answered in the top of the fourth. Junior right fielder Bobby Felmy (2-for-4, 2 RBI) provided the Bulldogs with their first hit and run of the night when he connected for his sixth home run of the season. However, the Vols came right back with a four-run outburst, chasing Georgia starter Michael Hyle. Alley's two-run single with the bases loaded ended Hyle's night. Junior left-hander Rip Warren came on and the Vols added two more on a sacrifice fly by Iorg and a two-out run-scoring double by Chase Headley to make it 8-1. Georgia made two errors in the fifth including a failed pickoff attempt by Warren gave Tennesseee another run for a 9-1 lead.

Hochevar carried a one-hitter to the sixth when the Bulldogs pushed across another run. Pinch-hitter Justin Niefer reached on a leadoff walk. With one out, Josh Morris was hit by a pitch and then sophomore Joey Side lined a single to center, bringing Niefer home. With runners at the corners, Hochevar recovered to strike out Jason Jacobs and got Derek Smith to ground out to keep it 9-2 Vols. In the seventh, Felmy came through with another RBI, on a two-out run-scoring single to bring Wyatt home who led off with a walk.

Hyle (3-5) got the loss, surrendering eight runs (six earned) on eight hits through the first three frames. Warren provided a solid relief outing with a career-high nine strikeouts in nearly finishing the contest. He had allowed just one unearned run going to the eighth before the Vols struck for seven runs on five hits off of him. Junior left-hander Jason Fellows came on for Warren and recorded the final out in the eighth.

"We didn't pitch and play good defense, and it's tough to play catch-up against (Luke) Hochevar," said Georgia coach David Perno. "We need a big outing from Sean Ruthven Saturday. We'll need a win to keep our post-season hopes alive. Overall, we've been playing good defense but tonight was our worst game in the last couple of weeks. Hopefully, we will regroup and play better. We know how to rebound."

Georgia made four errors on the night. Coming in, the Bulldogs had made just two miscues in their last eight games. With the loss, Georgia saw its modest four-game winning streak snapped.

The series continues Saturday with first pitch at 7:07 p.m. The game will be televised live by CSS. The Bulldogs will start senior right-hander Sean Ruthven (2-4, 4.52) while the Vols counter with junior right-hander Craig Cobb (5-3, 4.83).

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