Johnson, Crowe are all-district

Two members of the Vol baseball team -- junior pitcher Dusty Johnson and sophomore first baseman Nick Crowe -- have been selected to the Verizon Academic all-district team.

Johnson was named to the first team, while Crowe received second-team honors. Johnson will now appear on the national ballot for the Verizon Academic All-America Baseball Team.

Johnson, who was also selected to the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll last week, boasts a 3.79 GPA in finance. He leads the Volunteers in victories and earned run average with a 6-1 mark and 3.23 ERA.

Crowe, Tennessee's third leading hitter with a .326 average, holds a 3.51 GPA in accounting.

In other baseball news ...

* Head coach Rod Delmonico announced that Eli Iorg, son of former major leaguer Garth Iorg, has transferred to UT after playing one season at Samford in 2002 and fulfilling a Morman mission this past year. The sophomore becomes the seventh signee for the 2004 season.

Iorg, who hit .296 while playing shortstop for the Bulldogs in 2002, was named to the Atlantic Sun All-Freshman team while also garnering honorable mention Freshman All-America honors. He was also an all-region and all-district selection at Karns High School in Knoxville.

His brother Isaac is currently playing with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, a Class A farm team of the Atlanta Braves in the Carolina League. Isaac was a 19th-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2001.

* The Vols (27-21, 10-14 SEC) play host to the No. 22 Arkansas Razorbacks (33-13, 13-11 SEC) in the final home series at Lindsey Nelson Stadium this weekend. Friday and Saturday's games are slated for a 7 p.m. first pitch, while Sunday's contest begins at 1 p.m.

The Vols are tied with Vanderbilt for third place in the SEC East, 1 1/2 games behind second-place Florida and three games behind first-place South Carolina. The SEC takes the top eight teams to the tournament. All six teams from the Western Division are at least three games ahead of the Vols in the standings, and South Carolina holds a three-game lead over Tennessee in the East, meaning UT must win two more than Florida and one more than Vanderbilt over the final six league contests to place second in the division and secure a spot in the field.

Tennessee will use the same pitching rotation that earned a series win over Alabama last weekend with left handers Ben Riley (3-5, 3.66 ERA) and Derek Tharpe (5-5, 3.71 ERA) taking the hill in the first two games and right hander Brandon Crowe (4-1, 5.29 ERA) on Sunday.


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