The BaseVols won 1 of their 3 games this past weekend at # 10 Oregon State. Friday Night was horrible and it appeared the Vols were in for a long a weekend. However Sunday’s loss was very close and the Vols showed their defense off nicely. Saturday the Vols played great and came out with a win to further improve February 27th as the Day of the Vol (see basketball post).
Zach Osborne provided Tennessee’s only hit of the game as Oregon State proved to be a formidable opponent and much better than Xavier last week. Although Xavier did beat Georgia Tech today which is good for us. The Vols had trouble getting Oregon their third out in the 5th and 6th innings when Oregon scored 11 of their 17 runs to beat the Vols 17-1. Cody Hawn did play so that is good. Pitcher Brian Morgado played 3.2 innings allowing 5 hits and 8 runs. “I thought Bryan actually pitched pretty well for the most part,” Head Coach ToddRaleigh said. “He was electric, but you have to play the game one pitch at a time. Sometimes you can get away from what you are trying to do and try to do too much. I thought that was the case tonight.” The loss was the first on the young season for what coach Raleigh calls his best team to date. “It was just one of those nights,” UT Head Coach Todd Raleigh said. “It just got away from us. Luckily, it’s just one game and we have another one tomorrow. We were hitting the ball hard, just right at people. We got two quick outs in both of their big innings and just couldn’t find a way to get the third one.”
Sophomore Steven Gruver came to the rescue for the Vols after the embarrassment on Friday. A 6-1 left-hander, Gruver twirled seven scoreless innings, throwing 65 strikes in 97 pitches, striking out a career-high nine while allowing just three hits and walking one. “My goal today was just to throw strikes and make them beat me rather than beat myself,” Gruver said. “I just tried to pound the zone and make them do something with it. Teams as good as Oregon State really punish you if you fall behind, so I just tried to get ahead as much as possible and make them hit my pitches.” After Morgado playing not so well on Friday it was encouraging to see the Vols pitching come back strong the next day. Oregon State had 10 pitchers returning from last year so we know this series would be tough. I was really impressed with Gruver’s play when we needed him most. Behind Gruver’s play the Vols won 9-2.
While Gruver was dealing on the mound, the Volunteer offense found its rhythm in the batter’s box after struggling in the first game of the series. Junior Matt Duffy led the way with three hits and three RBIs, while fellow classmate Blake Forsythe added a pair of hits of his own, including a grand slam to cap off the team’s seven-run eighth inning. Also picking up a pair of base knocks each were sophomores Zach Osborne and Charley Thurber, as well as freshman Chris Fritts. After not hitting much in the first outing it was great to see the Vols doing things right on this end. I think this helped boost the teams confidence and will help in the long run at other away game sites.
“I thought yesterday was an aberration,” UT Head Coach Raleigh said. “We’re a much better team than we showed yesterday and I thought we turned around and played probably our most complete game of the year today. Obviously, (Steven) Gruver was unbelievable. To do what he did really set the tone and we played outstanding defense and got some timely hits. We just battled. It was a lot closer than what the final score might indicate, but I was really pleased with how we played today.”
(Photo by Utsports.com)
For the second consecutive day the Vols had great pitching from a guy name Steven, except this time it was Stephen. The 6-4 right-handed Stephen McCray threw seven terrific innings, allowing just one run on three hits with four strikeouts and two walks in the tough-luck loss. McCray threw 85 pitches during his time on the mound with 57 going for strikes. The Oregon State Pitcher Peavy threw the entire game allowing only 3 hits. The Vols never could capitalize though and lost 1-0. The game was scoreless all the way through most of the game.
“You don’t see many games played that well in February,” UT Head Coach Todd Raleigh said. “The defense and pitching for both sides was fantastic. Sometimes early in the year the pitching is a little ahead of the hitting, but I thought our guys battled hard and hit the ball pretty hard. Oregon State is a great team though and they don’t give you anything. You have to earn everything. I thought this was a regional-type atmosphere and a regional-type game in terms of the high-level of play.”
The Vols will take the mound again Wednesday at 4pm at Lindsey Nelson vs Eastern Kentucky University.