No. 11 Vols Drop First Game of the Year in 5-4 Loss to Wright State
No. 11 Tennessee was unable to overcome a slow start in a 5-4 loss to open its weekend series against Wright State on Friday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The loss was the Vols' first of the 2020 season after starting the year 13-0.
Sophomore infielder Jake Rucker led Tennessee (13-1) at the plate with three hits, a run and an RBI while Alerick Soularie was the only other Vol with multiple hits, finishing the day 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI.
Chad Dallas got the start but was chased after 4.1 innings after allowing three runs on seven hits. Sean Hunley was effective in his 3.1 innings of relief, allowing one run on four hits while striking out three.
Redmond Walsh was the hard-luck loser for the Vols, falling to 1-1 on the year after giving up an unearned run in the top of the ninth inning.
Jake Schrand got the win for Wright State (4-8) after striking out five in three innings of relief. Raiders' starting pitcher Daniel Kreuzer did well to keep UT's hitters off balance during his five innings of work, allowing just two runs on four hits to the nation's highest-scoring offense.
Connor Pavolony gave UT a 1-0 lead in the second inning with a solo home run to straightaway center field. It was the fourth of the year for the Vols' sophomore catcher, who is now tied for the team lead in homers.
However, the Raiders were able to hold Tennessee's potent lineup in check after Pavolony's homer and scored the game's next three runs to take a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth. Jay Luikart doubled in a run to tie the game in the third before Zane Harris hit a 2-run single into center field to put Wright State ahead in the fifth.
UT responded with a run in the bottom of the fifth to cut the deficit to one, but the Raiders regained their two-run advantage on an RBI groundout by Alex Alders in the seventh.
It looked like the Big Orange would earn their third comeback win of the year after scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game at four, but UT ended up leaving the bases loaded to end the inning. Soularie and Luc Lipcius both drove in runs for the Orange and White in the inning to tie the game.
Wright State took advantage of a UT error and scored an unearned run in the top of the ninth as Alders singled to center field to drive in Gehrig Anglin for what turned out to be the game-winning run. The Vols went down in order in the bottom of the ninth to end the game.
Tennessee will look to bounce back tomorrow in game two of the series. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m.
Win Streak Ends at 13
Tennessee's 13-game win streak to start the year was snapped on Friday. This was the second straight year that the Vols started the season with a double-digit win streak after going 15-0 to start 2019.
Home Run Streak Continues
One streak did continue on Friday thanks to Pavolony's solo home run in the second inning. Tennessee has hit at least one homer in all 11 of its home games this season.