The Tennessee baseball team scored nine two-out runs Tuesday during a 14-8 win over ETSU at Cardinal Park. The victory gave the Volunteers a sweep of the annual home-and-home season series with the Buccaneers.
The Vols collected 18 hits Tuesday and were led offensively by center fielder Julio Borbon and second baseman Tony Delmonico, each of whom recorded four hits. Catcher Yan Gomes and first baseman J.P. Arencibia drove in three runs apiece.
Tennessee now leads the all-time series with ETSU 55-9, dating to 1967, and the Vols also have won their last 14 Tuesday games, dating to the 2005 season.
A mammoth two-run homer by Vols left fielder Shawn Griffin in the top of the second inning gave UT an early edge. Griffin’s fourth home run of the season cleared the wall in right-center and was estimated to travel approximately 420 feet.
The Buccaneers used three walks to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the second before Justin Tramble logged an RBI hit-by-pitch to bring in ETSU’s first run of the night. Tennessee starting pitcher Nick Hernandez then issued his fourth walk of the inning — an RBI base on balls drawn by leadoff man Troy Mendez — to tie the game at 2-2. Hernandez then induced consecutive fly-ball outs to strand three Bucs on the basepaths.
Griffin was instrumental in putting the Vols back on top in the top of the fourth. The junior led off with a double before advancing to third on a base hit by Ryan Jones and scoring on an RBI fielder’s choice by Andy Simunic. Simunic’s 17th RBI of the year gave UT a 3-2 lead. Tennessee added its second of three fourth-inning runs when Delmonico drove in Borbon with an RBI single. Borbon had previously reached on his team-leading fourth triple of the season.
A two-base throwing error that put Delmonico on third base later in the fourth marked the end of ETSU starting pitcher Andrew Langston’s day. Bucs head coach Tony Skole brought right-hander Drew Story to the mound after Langston had surrendered five runs on eight hits through three and two-third innings. Gomes was quick to greet Story with an RBI base hit that scored Delmonico and put the Volunteers up by three runs.
Tennessee scored four two-out runs in the fifth to push its lead to 9-2. Borbon and Gomes each drove in one run before Arencibia collected a two-RBI single. An ETSU pitching change in the midst of UT’s hit parade brought right-hander Darren Caldwell into the game.
Hernandez settled down after his shaky second inning, retiring 10 straight batters at one point until ETSU began to gets its bats working in the fifth. Anthony Russell and Tanner Moore each drove in runs for the Bucs, trimming the UT lead to five runs. Hernandez was lifted after allowing four runs on four hits with four walks and four strikeouts through five innings. He picked up the win to improve to 3-2 on the year.
ETSU pulled to within one run after a four-run rally in the sixth. C.J. Lee and Justin Aughey delivered a two-run double and an RBI single, respectively, before Russell sent an RBI double into left field to make it 9-8.
Tennessee reliever Zane Stone absorbed all four of the Bucs’ sixth-inning runs before giving way to sophomore right-hander Danny Wiltz, who went on to work two and one-third shutout innings of one-hit ball.
The Vols put two men in scoring position in the seventh courtesy of a sacrifice bunt by Delmonico. ETSU then elected to intentionally walk Gomes and load the bases with one and Arencibia set to dig in. Caldwell issued an RBI walk to Arencibia, and pinch-hitter Jarred Frazier followed with an RBI sacrifice fly to put UT up 11-8.
Delmonico’s fourth hit of the game — an RBI base hit in the eighth — drove in the first of Tennessee’s three runs in the frame. Both of the other runs scored when Gomes singled to center and the ball got past a charging Lee. Gomes was credited with one RBI on the play, but Delmonico came home on Lee’s fielding error — one of four ETSU miscues on the night.
Freshman left-hander Bryan Powell worked a one-two-three final inning for Tennessee.