The No. 22 Vol men's tennis team (12-5 overall, 6-5 Southeastern Conference)

lost to No. 2 LSU 4-3 on Friday. The Vols began the match outdoors on the

Varsity Courts but were forced to move to the University of Tennessee Indoor

Tennis Center because of rain during singles play. LSU is undefeated in

the SEC with a 10-0 record in the conference and a 19-1 overall record.

Tennessee head coach Michael Fancutt was pleased with his team's effort.

"This team has come a long way," he said. "Today we were

one match away from beating the No. 2 team in the nation. This team is improving

every week. If we continue to improve, this team can achieve anything at

the SECs and at the NCAAs."

LSU struck first by winning the doubles point. The Vols got the upset

win at No. 1 doubles as No. 17 Chad Copenhaver and Mark Way beat No. 6 Michal

Chmela and Tom Hand 8-6. However, the Tigers won both the No. 2 and 3 doubles

matches to win the point.

In singles action, both squads took three wins each. First to finish

was No. 1 singles where No. 8 Chmela defeated Mark Fitzpatrick 6-0, 6-4.

At No. 3 singles, No. 71 Pedro Braga beat Paul Podbury 6-4, 6-3. However,

Way got the upset win over No. 37 Pedro Escudero 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 to keep the

Vols in the match at 3-1.

LSU's Zak Blanchard clinched the win for the Tigers, though, by defeating

Copenhaver 6-3, 6-3.

LSU retired the final two matches to give Tennessee two wins and make

it 4-3.

The Vols' next test comes Thursday-Sunday at the SEC Championships in

Auburn, Ala. Four of the nation's top five teams (No. 2 LSU, No. 3 Georgia,

No. 4 Mississippi State and No. 5 Ole Miss) will be there. Tennessee will

Grindstaff to Transfer

Tennessee head coach Jerry Green announced Thursday that Jenis Grindstaff

has decided to transfer to the University of Tennessee from Virginia Tech.

Grindstaff, who will sit out next season due to the transfer, signed with

the Vols and will have three years of eligibility remaining, beginning with

the 1999-2000 season.

Grindstaff, a 6-2 guard, started in the Hokies' backcourt last season

as a freshman and was the team's second-leading scorer, averaging 10.5 points.

He was named to the Atlantic-10 Conference's All-Rookie team following the

1998 season.

"We are excited about Jenis' decision to transfer to the University

of Tennessee," Green said. "We look forward to working with a

player of his talent and having a person and student like him in our program."

He ranked as Virginia Tech's leader in assists per game (3.6), was third

in free-throw shooting (.764) and was second on the team in three-point

field goals with 39. He scored double figures in 16 games and led the team

in scoring eight times last season.

A native of Spruce Pine, N.C., Grindstaff was voted North Carolina's

Class 4-A "Mr. Basketball" by the Charlotte Observer following

his senior season at McDowell High School when he averaged 27 points and

6.7 rebounds. During the 1996-97 campaign, he became the school's first,

and just the 15th North Carolina high school player to score 2,000 career

Diamond Vols Struggle

After clobbering Middle Tennessee State 15-5 on Thursday in Murfreesboro,

the Tennessee Diamond Vols traveled to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to take on the

Alabama Crimson Tide.

The three-game Southeastern Conference series (the results of Sunday's

game were unavailable at press time) was all Alabama.

The Tide took Friday's game 4-2 behind strong pitching from Justin Smith,

who gave up eight hits but just two runs as Matt Frick's two home runs were

the difference for Alabama (29-7, 11-5 SEC).

On Saturday, Alabama won a 16-12 slugfest with the Vols. Kurt Scott and

Jeremy Brown were roughed up by the Tide hitters for 14 runs on 13 hits

in the first five innings.

Tennessee got home run support from Justin Parker (third of the season),

Sonny Cortez (17) and Donnie Ross (11), but Alabama hit four round-trippers

of their own.

Pete Fisher (4-3) got the win despite giving up nine runs and 11 hits

in 6 2/3 innings for the Tide. Scott (4-4) picked up the loss for Tennessee,

which fell to 26-13 overall, 7-10 in the SEC.

Tennessee next faces Tennessee Tech on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Lindsey

Nelson Stadium.

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