Tennessee, UNC-Wilmington, Illinois, and OU pick up victories

Tennessee 7 Louisville 6

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A rally by the University of Louisville baseball team fell short Wednesday, as the No. 30 Tennessee Volunteers edged the Cardinals 7-6 on a chilly evening at Jim Patterson Stadium.

For the first time this season, Louisville (9-6) has lost consecutive games.

A two-run home run by Vols (13-5) centerfielder Kentrail Davis hit a two-run home run in the top of the first to give UT a 2-0 lead.

Cardinal third baseman Chris Dominguez unloaded on a 2-1 pitch, drilling it out to center to open the second inning, cutting the lead in half. It was his team-leading fifth home run of the season.

Davis struck again for a solo shot in the third to put the lead back to two runs.

In the Cardinal third, a pair of Tennessee errors sandwiched a single by Nate Holland to load the bases, and senior Justin McClanahan belted a two-run single up the middle to knot the game at three.

Cardinal catcher Derrick Alfonso, who had already pegged two runners on the bases and sealed off the plate on a throw from right in the first, blasted his second home run of the season off the batter’s eye in center to give the Cards their first lead of the game.

Walks to Josh Richmond and Holland set up an RBI single by Andrew Clark, extending the advantage to 5-3, but the Vols responded in the top of the seventh.

Jeff Lockwood doubled and Jarred Frazier cracked a two-run home run to right, tying the game at five.

Gavin Logsdon (0-1) came in out of the pen to replace Cardinal starter James Belanger, who had allowed five runs on nine hits and two walks, striking out five in six-plus innings.

Three straight singles gave the Vols the lead, and after an intentional walk to Davis, an RBI single by Cody Brown scored what turned out to be the game winner.

UofL loaded the bases in the eighth with nobody out on another UT error and singles by Richmond and Drew Haynes, but managed just one run on a sac fly to right by Clark.

Logsdon gave up two runs on four hits and the intentional pass, striking out three in an inning of work, while taking the loss.

Neil Holland retired all four batters he faced, fanning a pair and Bob Revesz struck out the only two batters he faced, including Davis on three pitches.

UT starter Ty’Relle Harris (1-0) was the winner, despite allowing six runs, three of which were earned, on eight hits and four walks in seven-plus innings pitched. He struck out five. Danny Wiltz earned his second save of the season, striking out one in two scoreless innings of relief.

Louisville will host UConn in the BIG EAST opener Thursday at 3:00 p.m. in a weekend series that will start a day early due to the Easter holiday weekend.

Oklahoma 7 USF 5

TAMPA, Fla. — Oklahoma improved to 17-5 on the season with a 7-5 win over South Florida on Wednesday night in the final game before the Big 12 season begins this weekend. The Sooners built a 6-0 lead but the Bulls rallied late before senior Jake McCarter nailed down his sixth save. The loss dropped South Florida to 10-8 overall.

OU’s five runs in the third was the difference as it finished with 11 hits, the sixth time in the last seven games that the offense had 10 or more hits. Sophomore Aaron Baker (2-for-4) and senior Aljay Davis (1-for-3) led the way with two RBIs each.

“I was pleased with the guys’ effort tonight,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. “They are playing hard and we continue to see improvement with this young team.”

The Sooners’ offense got to work in the top of the third inning with five runs off five hits. Senior Mike Gosse scored the game’s first run on senior Aljay Davis’ RBI single to center field. Davis scored two batters later on sophomore Spencer Selby’s RBI single and was followed by a pair of doubles off the bats of sophomore Aaron Baker (two RBIs) and freshman Tyson Seng (RBI).

After OU starter C.J. Blue held USF hitless for the first three innings, the Bulls got on the board with a two-run triple by Ryan Lockwood. The extra-base hit got past a diving Casey Johnson in right field, and Lockwood attempted to record the inside-the-park home run, but was gunned down at home after the relay from Johnson to senior Mike Gosse to junior catcher J.T. Wise.

OU gave Blue extra insurance in the fourth inning on Davis’ squeeze bunt, scoring sophomore Jamie Johnson. The Sooners took a 7-2 lead in the fifth on an error charged to shortstop Addison Maruszak on Casey Johnson’s grounder with Selby scoring from third.

Blue lasted five innings in the start, facing just three batters over the minimum, and held USF to two runs and four hits. Blue (4-0) struck out two batters and did not walk a Bull and his counterpart, Junior Carlin (0-1), took the loss after surrendering five runs on six hits in the three-inning start.

South Florida cut the lead to four runs with sophomore Garrett Richards on the mound as Brandon Smith drove home Lockwood in the sixth inning. Richards allowed one run in relief and was followed by senior Ryan Mottern, who also gave up a USF run.

In the bottom of the eighth, with runners on second and third with one out, OU went to McCarter. The right-hander did his job in the eighth, forcing USF to fly out twice to end the frame. The Bulls made things interesting by plating a run in the ninth and putting the tying run on second base.

The Sooners will continue the six-game road trip this weekend with a trip to Lincoln, Nebraska where they will battle the Cornhuskers in the Big 12 series opener. Nebraska (15-3) overall began the Big 12 season last weekend with a three-game sweep of Kansas State.

Illinois 11 Kansas 9

BRADENTON, Fla. – Illinois bounced back from an early deficit with 10 unanswered runs and held on late for an 11-9 win over Kansas at the IMG Academies. First baseman Ryan Hastings was 4-for-4 with a home run, a triple, three runs and two RBI, while center fielder Kyle Hudson, shortstop Brandon Wikoff and second baseman Joe Bonadonna each had two hits.

“We played a good team today and did a very, very good job against them offensively,” Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. “We had some big innings and took advantage of a few errors.”

Illinois fell behind early when Kansas used two hits and a walk to take a 2-0 lead in the first inning. But the Illini got on track in the second when Hastings led off with a single and, one out later, catcher Chris Montgomery singled to left-center. All three runners were safe when the Kansas shortstop mishandled a double-play turn on right fielder Craig Lutes’ grounder, then second baseman Joe Bonadonna took advantage with a two-run single to left-center and centerfielder Kyle Hudson singled to right-center to reload the bases. Left fielder Casey McMurray then was hit by a pitch to force in a run, pushing Illinois ahead, 3-2.

After starter Kevin Manson worked an eight-pitch 1-2-3 inning in the second, Hastings led off with a home run that hooked just behind the foul pole in right. One out later, Montgomery walked on four pitches and Lutes pounced on a 3-2 pitch for his first homer of the year, giving the Illini a 6-2 lead.

Illinois added a run in the fourth when shortstop Brandon Wikoff laced a one-out single and moved to second on a groundout. Hastings then walked and Wikoff scored on a single by DH Daniel Webb, making the margin 7-2.

The Illini continued to put distance between themselves and the Jayhawks in the sixth when Wikoff legged out a one-out bunt single and advanced to second on a throwing error by the third baseman. Third baseman Dominic Altobelli reached on a throwing error by the shortstop that allowed Wikoff to score and Hastings drove in Altobelli with a triple down the right-field line. Hastings came in on Montgomery’s sacrifice fly, pushing the lead to 10-2.

Kansas got three runs back in the seventh, using three hits, two walks and a hit batter to end Manson’s stint on the mound as Hartleb brought in freshman Nick Chmielewski. After the Illini went down in order in the eighth, the Jayhawks struck again, scoring two runs on two hits, a walk and a hit batter before sophomore Mike Sterk relieved Chmielewski and finished the inning.

Illinois got one run in the top of the ninth when Bonadonna ripped a one-out double down the left-field line and advanced to third on Hudson’s groundout. McMurray then doubled down the left-field line to extend Illinois’ lead to 11-7. Kansas scored twice in the ninth and had runners on first and second before junior Ben Reeser coaxed a groundout to end the game with the Illini winning, 11-9.

UNC-Wilmington 5 Coastal Carolina 2

WILMINGTON, N.C. – Senior Mark Carver belted a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning and the UNC Wilmington bullpen allowed just one run over the final six innings, as the Seahawk edged No. 18 Coastal Carolina in college baseball action Wednesday at Brooks Field.

The Seahawks tied a school record with their 13th consecutive win and improved to 14-4 with the non-conference victory. The Chanticleers, meanwhile, dropped their second straight and stand at 15-4 on the season.

Senior Allen Flood (2-0) picked up the win with three innings of 3-hit, 1-run relief for the Seahawks. Freshman lefthander Cameron Roth picked up his second save of the season, throwing three innings of no-hit, 4-strikeout relief.

Freshman Rich Witten (0-1) was saddled with the loss for the Chants. Witten, who made his second career start, was roughed up for four runs on four hits and a pair of walks in 2 2/3 innings.

UNCW opened the bottom of the first with a walk to sophomore Rhett Miller and consecutive hits by seniors Daniel Hargrave and Jason Appel (2-for-3) to load the bases for Carver, who launched hit sixth homer of the season, and the Seahawks first grand slam of the season, over the left center field wall for a 4-0 lead.

Coastal narrowed its deficit to 4-1 in the top of the third when junior Adam Rice fought off an inside fastball for a single to center that scored Chase Gilmore, who led off the inning with a walk.

In the CCU fourth, junior David Anderson, who led the Chants with two hits, lined a home run to left to move the Chants to within 4-2.

The Seahawks tacked on a run in the seventh to give them a 5-2 lead. CCU junior reliever Jason Richard hit freshman pinch hitter Alex Hill to lead off the inning and later hit sophomore Mike Rooney and loaded the bases when he issued a free pass to Miller. CCU junior reliever Pete Andrelczyk almost escaped the jam, but Appel drew a RBI walk with two outs to force in Hill.

Roth, who entered the game in the seventh, retired all nine batters he faced.

UNCW returns to Colonial Athletic Association action on Friday when they host a red-hot William & Mary club at 7 p.m.