Whatever many critics thought was missing from the Tennessee baseball
equation that produced 52 wins and an SEC championship last season, must
have returned to the lineup for the first two games of this weekend's
series against defending Big 10 champion Ohio State.
In Friday's opener the 10th-ranked Vols exploded offensively, as every
Tennessee starter collected a hit in 10-3 blowout of the Buckeyes in front
of 826 at Lindsey Nelson stadium.
Junior righthander, Ryan Myers, had a productive day -- going eight
innings, with 10 strikeouts. Myers did allow nine hits and three earned
Jason Franklin, Ray Espinosa and Lance Smith accrued two hits each in the
balanced Tennessee attack. All-American Todd Helton went 1-for-2 with a
pair of RBI's.
Head coach Rod Delmonico said it was a complete performance by his
Delmonico's gambling-style of baseball was the theme of game two on
Saturday, as the Vols' scored five straight unanswered run and knocked off
Ohio State in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the ninth.
The Buckeyes jumped out to an early 4-0 lead on the strength of Scott
Kaczmar's double, producing two runs. Mike Estep went 3-for-4, scoring
twice -- as Tennessee ace R.A. Dickey once again struggled early.
In front of a 2,300-plus crowd Ohio State ace, Mike Biehle, seemed firmly
in control, leading 4-1 heading into the sixth inning when Todd Helton dove
into first safely on an error by second baseman Mark Carek.
With two outs, freshman Jason Franklin ripped a Biehle fastball over the
left-field fence cutting the Buckeyes edge to 4-3.
Then "Rod Ball," "Vol Ball," or whatever you want to call it, took
Trailing 4-3 in the seventh, another error allowed Lance Smith to advance
all the way to second base. A sacrifice bunt by Matt Whitley pushed Smith
to third, and a sacrifice bunt by Bryce Christensen brought Smith
Both teams were held scoreless in the eighth, and the Buckeyes were unable
to push one past in the their portion of the ninth.
Freshman Eduardo Figueroa led off the ninth with a single up the middle. An
attempted sacrifice by Smith in the next at bat turned into a single as the
ball hugged the foul line and stayed in fair territory. With Figueroa on
second and Smith on first, again the Vols attempted to advance the runners
with a sacrifice bunt by way of Whitley.
Whitley put down another good bunt and the third baseman attempted to throw
him out at first, but the throw was wild and Figueroa was able to sprint
home with the winning run.
Todd Helton (2-1) came in the ninth to notch the win. Dickey went eight
innings, giving up 13 hits and four earned runs -- while walking 3 and
striking out five.
Centerfielder Scott Shroeffel had a big day in the box, going 2-for-4 with
Biehle (0-3) took the loss for Ohio State, despite giving up only one
earned run through eight and one-third innings.
In the series' final matchup on Sunday, it was Tennessee's turn to play
shaky defense -- dropping it to the Buckeyes 7-6, on the strength of three
Tennessee took an early 3-1 lead, but the Buckeyes answered with six runs
of their own.
With Ohio State holding a commanding 7-3 lead in the eighth, Tennessee cut
the lead to one, as it looked like the Buckeyes would self-destruct once
again -- giving up three runs on a hit-by-pitch, a walk and a wild pitch
Bob Spears came on in the ninth to close for the Buckeyes, as the Vols fell
to 10-4 on the season. Ohio State is now 2-8.
Sunday's attendance was a series high 2,660.
Freshman Eduardo Figueroa was 2-for-3 on the day with two RBI's.
Darlington (0-1) took the loss for Tennessee, giving up 3 hits, 3 runs --
while walking 5 and striking out 3.
"We put ourselves in too big a hole early," Delmonico said. "We had to
really fight back to get into the game. We just couldn't stop the bleeding
with our pitching staff.
"(Brad) Greene came in and shut the door to give us a chance to win."
Greene pitched the last inning and two-thirds, giving up two hits, no runs,
striking out three and walking no one.
Buckeyes deny Vols series sweep
Published: Mon Mar 13, 1995 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 12:49 p.m.