Delmonico's on thin ice

Still reeling from a three-game sweep by Vanderbilt that knocked Tennessee out of the SEC Baseball Tournament, head man Rod Delmonico could find his job in jeopardy.

Delmonico guided the Vols to the College World Series in 2001 and top-10 national rankings in all of the major services. His past two teams, however, have underachieved. The 2002 squad went 27-28 overall and 12-18 in SEC play. The 2002 team went 31-24 overall but 13-17 in league play, missing the eight-team SEC tournament field for the second year in succession.

Over the past six seasons, UT's records in SEC play have been 11-17 (1998), 10-20 (1999), 10-18 (2000), 18-12 (2001), 12-18 (2002) AND 13-17 (2003). That's a league record of 74-102, a winning percentage of just .420.

Delmonico's future rests in the hands of Tennessee's athletics director, which only serves to complicate matters. Doug Dickey is the current AD but he will step down in June, giving way to Mike Hamilton. Who will decide Delmonico's fate, the outgoing AD or the incoming AD?

Regardless, last weekend's disappointment put a serious dent in Delmonico's chances of returning. After sweeping Arkansas one week earlier, the Baseball Vols needed only to win one of three games at Vanderbilt to secure a bid to this spring's league tourney. UT lost 7-4 on Friday and 9-1 on Saturday, however, and found itself in a must-win situation on Sunday.

Instead, Worth Scott's walk-off two-out, two-run homer lifted Vanderbilt to a 6-5 victory over Vols and a series sweep for the first time since 1989.

In addition to eliminating Tennessee (31-24 overall, 13-17 SEC) from the league tourney, the sweep vaulted Vanderbilt (27-26, 14-16) into the tournament as the No. 6 seed.

Vanderbilt started its game-winning rally as Warner Jones singled with one out and was erased when Jonathan Douillard reached on a fielders choice. Rucker Taylor then replaced Douillard as a pinch-runner as Scott slugged the first pitch delivered by loser Luke Hochevar (6-5) over the right field fence. It was his third home run of the season.

The Vols had taken a 5-4 lead in the eighth as Javi Herrera scored the go-ahead run on pinch-hitter Jimbo Watson's two-out single to right.

Jordan Czarniecki drove in three on the day to the lead the Vols, including a two-run double that gave the Vols 3-2 lead in the fifth.

Matt Buschmann (5-2) got the win in two innings of relief, giving up one run on two hits. Starter Ryan Mullins turned in a solid seven innings of work, allowing one earned run on eight hits with six strikeouts and one walk.


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