FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
Strong pitching and a timely comeback were crucial as the Orange & White World Series kicked off Friday night at Robert M. Lindsay Field at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The game ended in an 8-8 tie after the White team staged a four-run, ninth inning rally.
Friday’s contest marked the first of a seven-game intrasquad series that coincides with the beginning of the team’s fall season. Tennessee coach Todd Raleigh thinks the competition between the two squads is important.
“I don’t know if you can duplicate spring intensity, but I think this is the best way you can try to do it,” Raleigh said. “To see the crowd we had here today and see our kids play the way they did, it is as close as we can get to a real game. I don’t know if it is quite there, but you need to have this kind of intensity.”
Leading the way offensively on the night was junior third baseman Tyler Horne, who went 4-for-4 with four singles, an RBI and two stolen bases. The first-year Vol was also hit by a pitch.
The White Team got off to a good start on the mound with Bryan Morgado striking out the side in the first inning. In his one inning of work, the sophomore struck out two batters swinging and another looking.
Nick Hernandez got the start for the Orange Team and threw two solid innings, allowing no runs on just one hit while striking out two.
“I thought we pitched well at times,” Raleigh said. “We didn’t throw our whole arsenal tonight, but I was pleased. I thought the battle was really good tonight. I was probably more pleased with that than anything. We have only been out a week. I don’t expect our pitchers to be sharp, but I did like was I saw from them tonight.”
Senior outfielder Jarred Frazier broke the game’s scoreless tie with a home run over the left field wall to lead off the top of the fourth inning. The Orange Team increased its lead to 2-0 on a single by Horne that drove in shortstop Cody Brown.
Third baseman Gary Wilson tied the game with a sacrifice fly, scoring first baseman Cody Hawn, who reached via a walk. Catcher Matt Hamaker then gave the White Team a brief 3-2 lead when he scored on a wild pitch thrown by right-handed pitcher Steve Crnkovich, who came in to relieve Hernandez at the start of the third inning.
Designated hitter Jeff Lockwood came to bat in the top of the fifth inning with the bases loaded and the chance to put his team ahead. Lockwood delivered a bases-clearing double to put the Orange Team on top 5-3.
Dylan Hochevar took the mound for the first time as a Tennessee Vol after sitting out last season with an arm injury. The redshirt freshman threw a scoreless fifth inning for the Orange Team, retiring all three batters he faced.
“It was good to see him,” Raleigh said of Hochevar. “To be honest with you, it’s only the second time I think I have ever seen him pitch. I thought he did a great job, it was very nice to see him out there.”
The Orange Team extended its lead to three runs in the sixth inning on a Stephen McCray sacrifice fly that scored Horne from third. Horne was initially hit by a pitch, moved to second on a single by Matt Ramsey, before advancing to third on a wild pitch.
The Orange Team scored its second run via a sacrifice fly to take a 7-3 lead in the eighth inning. Horne singled and then stole second and third to put himself in position to be driven in off the bat of second baseman Cody Grisham.
Freshman All-America Kentrail Davis added to his 2-for-2 night with an RBI triple in the eighth inning that scored designated hitter Andy Shuford and brought the White Team to within three runs of the Orange.
“I am feeling good right now,” Davis said. “I am just trying to get my confidence back in my swing. I’m swinging pretty good.”
In the top of the ninth inning the Orange Team added one more run as Lockwood scored on a passed ball thrown by pitcher Danny Wiltz. Lockwood previously reached on a quirky play that featured two outfield errors.
Down 8-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, the White Team put up a fight. It reduced the deficit to 8-6 on a two-run triple by freshman Charley Thurber. That play scored Cody Hawn and Hamaker, who reached on an error and fielder’s choice, respectively. After Shuford was hit by a pitch, the potential game-winning run came to the plate in Zach Osborne. The second baseman grounded to second, driving in Thurber to make it 8-7. Then with a runner at second base, Mike Hornsby ripped a single to left field to bring in Shuford and tie the game at eight.
The next batter, Davis, walked, prompting the Orange Team to make a pitching change and bring in freshman left-hander Josh Allman to face sophomore outfielder Josh Liles with the go-ahead run on first base. Allman was up to the challenge and struck out Liles to end the game.
With the score tied at the end of nine full innings, the coaching staff decided not to take the game into extra frames.
The Orange & White World Series resumes Friday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m.