Tennessee Rallies to Defeat Austin Peay, 7-5, in NCAA Regional Action

Freshman catcher J.P. Arencibia's first career triple keyed a three-run eighth inning

J.P. Arencibia

J.P. Arencibia

June 3, 2005

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Freshman catcher J.P. Arencibia's first career triple keyed a three-run eighth inning that saw the Tennessee baseball team take the lead for good while downing Austin Peay 7-5 Friday night on the opening day of the 2005 NCAA Division I Baseball Championships at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Tennessee improved to 42-19 and faces Friday's game-one winner Winthrop Saturday at 7 p.m. Austin Peay dropped to 38-23 with the loss and squares off against Wichita State in Saturday's 2 p.m., loser's bracket game.

"I thought Austin Peay was a well coached, very competitive ballclub," UT head coach Rod Delmonico said. "Our guys just found a way to win. We got some timely hits and had great battles at the plate."

Vols ace Luke Hochevar worked eight innings and gave up five runs on nine hits while recording nine strikeouts and four walks. The first-team All-America picked up the win and improved to 15-2 on the year. His 15 wins ties him with former UT standout and current Texas Rangers pitcher R.A. Dickey for first on Tennessee's all-time single-season victories list.

Arencibia and senior shortstop Eric King finished with three hits and two RBIs in the winning effort, while sophomore right-hander Sean Watson logged his team-leading seventh save of the season.

Austin Peay opened the game's scoring when designated hitter Chris Hyde hit a solo home run to right center in the top of the second inning. Tennessee answered in the bottom of the third, as an RBI single by Arencibia scored outfielder Josh Alley to tie the game at one.

The Vols' bats started to heat up in the fourth inning, during which they plated a pair of runs on three hits to take a 3-1 lead. Alley drove in fellow junior Michael Rivera with an RBI sacrifice bunt, and first baseman Alex Suarez later crossed home plate on an RBI basehit to centerfield by King.

Vols designated hitter Kelly Edmundson gave UT a three-run advantage when he drove in All-America third baseman Chase Headley with an RBI sacrifice fly in the fifth. Headley had previously reached on a triple off the wall in right field.

The Govs put runners on second and third base with one out in the top of the sixth for cleanup man Hyde, but Hochevar got both Hyde and Jake Peterson to strike out swinging and end the threat.

Austin Peay broke loose for four runs on four hits in the seventh inning and took a short-lived 5-4 lead. Brett Luther drove in one run with an RBI single, Ryan Kane brought in two runners with a well-placed RBI double to right field, and Jared Walker's RBI groundout closed out the Govs' scoring for the rest of the night.

Tennessee entered the game with an 0-16 record when trailing at the end of the seventh inning, but King triggered a go-ahead rally in the bottom of the eighth that proved to reverse those fortunes. After Suarez was hit by a pitch to leadoff the frame, King drove him in with an RBI single. King took second on the throw to the plate and then went to third on a throwing error by Walker.

With the score knotted at five, Arencibia delivered a clutch RBI triple that brought in King from third. Headley then provided an insurance run by plating Arencibia with an RBI basehit.

Austin Peay starter Rowdy Hardy left the game after allowing seven runs (six earned) on 15 hits through 7 1/3 innings on the hill. He took the loss and fell to 11-6. The left-hander struck out six and issued one walk before giving way to right-hander Brad Daniel, who tallied one strikeout while tossing the final 2/3 inning.

Watson came in for Hochevar in the top of the ninth and posted two walks and two strikeouts while earning the save.

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