Dennis Gomez slugged his fourth home run of the season, and Tennessee got a solid 7 2/3 innings out of starter Patrick Hicklen as the Volunteers rallied to defeat the No. 19 Auburn Tigers, 5-2, to even the series at a game apiece at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The win snapped Auburn's 12-game winning streak over the Vols as well as being the first Southeastern Conference victory of the season for Tennessee, which improved to 13-14 overall and 1-4 in the league. Auburn fell to 19-6 and 3-2 in league action.
Hicklen (4-3), who retired 12 straight at one point, struck out seven while holding the Tigers to two runs on seven hits.
He was touched for a run in the first on a double by Mike Mueller, and gave up a solo home run to Scott Schade in the fourth for the two Tiger runs.
With runners on first and third, Joey Andrews struck out pinch hitter Matt Grooms for the final out to notch his first save.
Eric Brandon (3-1) suffered his first loss of the season after giving up three runs (two earned) on three hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Trailing 2-1, Tennessee took the lead for good in the fifth at 3-2 as it took advantage of Auburn's wildness. Brandon started the inning by hitting the first two batters, Matt Sternberg and Jordan Czarniecki, who moved up on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by Nick Crowe.
Brandon was lifted for reliever Arnold Hughey who retired Brandon Hopkins on a ground out that allowed Sternberg to score and tie it 2-2 as Czarniecki took third. Hughey then committed a balk as Czarniecki attempted a straight steal of home as the Vols grabbed the lead.
Walter Sevilla scored on a passed ball in the sixth after tripling with one out, before Gomez's home run leading off the eighth capped Tennessee's rally at 5-2.
The Vols answered the Tiger run in the first with one in the bottom of the inning as an Auburn error kept the inning alive that allowed Adam Smith to score on Sevilla's single.
Softball falls to Bama
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Trailing 2-1 entering the final inning, the University of Alabama used a clutch two-out, two-run single by freshman Jackie Wilkins to pull out a 3-2 decision over the Lady Vol softball team on Saturday afternoon. The victory enabled the No. 17 Crimson Tide (25-11, 9-2 SEC) to take both ends of the day's double-dip following a 6-0 whitewash of Tennessee (28-12-1, 5-5 SEC) in the opener.
Sophomore Angela Johnson punched a leadoff single off junior Stephanie Humphrey (18-8) to start things off in the seventh before the Knoxville native caught pinch hitter Casey Cockrum looking for the first out.
Next, Humphrey induced a grounder by pinch hitter Emily Currie that forced Johnson at second base for out number two. A single into right center field by Jennifer Reach left UA with runners on the corners with two down before Reach swiped second base as Wilkins was at the dish. The Tide rookie hit a shot in the infield that Lady Vol junior second baseman Blaine Teasley speared and fired over to freshman first baseman Amber Rhinehart.