April 20, 2014
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Vincent Jackson delivered a one-out walk-off RBI double in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the No. 29 Tennessee Volunteers to a 10-9 Southeastern Conference victory over the No. 8 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide on Sunday afternoon from Nelson Stadium.
Tennessee (25-13, 7-11 SEC) scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie the score at 8-8. Alabama (28-12, 12-6 SEC) answered with a run in the ninth on a solo home run from Ben Moore to regain the lead, before the Vols responded with two runs in the bottom of the ninth off Kyle Overstreet (0-1) to salvage the final game of the series.
"We broke down in the eighth inning and that's not something we've done this year," Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "We didn't throw enough strikes late in the game, but give Tennessee credit, they put a lot of good swings on pitches and got the momentum on their side offensively and we didn't have an answer at that point."
With Bama leading 8-2 heading to the bottom of the eighth inning, Tennessee scored six runs off four Tide pitchers in the inning. After starter Jon Keller went seven innings, Alabama went to the bullpen for Nick Eicholtz. The Vols scored three runs off Eicholtz and two off Jake Hubbard as the Vols scored the first four runs of the inning before an out was recorded. After the Vols cut the lead to one on an RBI single by Johnny Youngblood, Will Maddox singled to center field to drive in the game-tying run, as Parker Wormsley beat the throw home from Georgie Salem.
After Moore homered with one out in the top of the ninth, Overstreet walked Cristin Stewart on four pitches to start the bottom of the inning. Nick Senzel doubled to the left center field wall to tie the game at 9-9, then after a ground out to short by Taylor Smart, Jackson doubled to right field to drive in Senzel for the game-winning run.
"Offensively we were really good all day," Gaspard said. "To answer and get the run back in the ninth was really big. Our guys did that all weekend as they swung the bats really well.
Tennessee reliever Andrew Lee (4-1) allowed a run on two hits in the ninth inning but earned the win for the Vols after the Vincent walk-off double.
Against four Tennessee pitchers, Alabama finished the day with 11 hits as Austen Smith led the way with a pair of home runs and four RBI. Moore was 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, three RBI and two runs scored and Wade Wass was 2-for-5 with a single and his team-leading 15th double of the season to extend his hitting streak to eight games. Overstreet was 2-for-4 with two runs scored at the plate and Casey Hughston had his first career triple to extend his hit streak to seven games.
Alabama starting pitcher Jon Keller ended up with a no decision after leaving the game with an 8-2 lead. Keller posted his sixth "quality start" of the season, going seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits with six strikeouts and two walks.
Alabama took an early lead scoring an unearned run in the first inning on a two-base error when a ball hit to the right field wall by Wass was dropped, allowing Moore to score from first.
The Vols answered with two runs in the bottom of the first. After two were out, two singles and two walks accounted for the first run, before a balk on Keller pushed the second run of the inning across.
Trailing 2-1, Alabama got the first of two home runs in the game by Smith when he homered to right center field off Tennessee starter Kyle Serrano to give the Tide a 3-2 lead. Two innings later Overstreet singled on the first pitch of the inning, then on the first pitch of his at-bat Smith homered to left center field to extend the Bama lead to 5-2. The sixth inning rally continued, as Hughston tripled and scored on a single by Chance Vincent. After a one-out walk by Mikey White, Moore capped the scoring in the inning with a two-run double to right center field, giving Bama an 8-2 advantage.
Tennessee would not go away as they scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning even the score at 8-8, after Alabama pulled its starter Keller. Tennessee got a double and a single to start the inning for the first run and after a walk, Nick Eicholtz was replaced by Jake Hubbard. A double by Taylor Smart plated another run and a balk by Hubbard made the score 8-5. Pinch-hitter Vincent Jackson had an RBI single through the left side to make the score 8-6, then an infield RBI ground out by Youngblood made the score 8-7 and Will Maddox capped the inning with an RBI single to center field to even the score at 8-8.
Moore homered off the scoreboard in right field in the top of the ninth to give the Tide a 9-8 lead, before the Vols answered with two runs in the ninth to win the final game of the series 10-9.
Alabama return to action on Tuesday night when it hosts Southern Mississippi at 6:05 p.m. CT at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
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