The young Tennessee baseball team finished another tough weekend with a 7-3 loss to 25th-ranked Virginia Tech on Sunday in the USA Baseball Irish Classic in Cary, N.C.
Sophomore third baseman Will Maddox had his sixth consecutive multi-hit game — and ninth multi-hit performance in UT's 11 games this season — in the Vols' 7-3 loss to No. 25 Virginia Tech on Sunday in the USA Baseball Irish Classic in Cary, N.C.
A four-run third inning and three-run eighth inning pushed the Hokies (11-2) past the Vols (4-7), who rallied to within 4-3 before the game got away from them in the eighth.
The Vols went 1-2 this weekend in North Carolina, losing a late lead in a 3-2, extra-innings setback to 22nd-ranked Notre Dame on Friday night and bouncing back Saturday with a 6-4 win over Massachusetts.
Here’s a full game report of Sunday’s game against Virginia Tech from the UT sports information department.
VOLS SUFFER 7-3 SETBACK TO #25 HOKIES
CARY, N.C. — Two big innings by No. 25 Virginia Tech proved to be too much to overcome as Tennessee dropped a 7-3 decision on the final day of the USA Baseball Irish Classic at Coleman Field at the National Training Complex.
“The third inning got away from us where they scored four runs but we fought back, we chipped away and got a run in three straight frames and that is what I think Volunteer baseball is supposed to be about,” UT coach Dave Serrano said. “We made some two-strike adjustments, put the ball in play which we haven’t been doing a great job of, and got some two-out base hits. That is the mentality we have to have.
“We need to find an identity as a baseball team. Right now, we’re a bunch of good kids that aren’t playing as a baseball team and that bothers me because this has the opportunity to be a good team. The only way we can be good is if we start playing together and start being on the same page about a lot of different things.”
UT junior closer Nick Williams (UT photo)
After the Hokies put up a four-spot in the third, Tennessee used two-out rallies in the next three innings to inch within a 4-3, only to see Virginia Tech pull away with a three-run eighth.
Will Maddox led the Vols on offense, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs. The sophomore third baseman has collected two or more hits in six consecutive games, and nine times in UT’s 11 games this season.
During his current six-game hitting streak, Maddox — a Gainesville, Ga., native — is hitting .520 (13-for-25) with seven RBIs and five runs scored. For the year, he leads the squad with a .420 batting average, nine RBIs and nine runs scored.
Freshman Aaron Quillen suffered the loss Sunday for UT, allowing four runs (two earned) while scattering eight hits over six innings of work. Junior closer Nick Williams came out of the bullpen to strike out two in 1 1/3 inning of relief.
Virginia Tech took advantage of a Tennessee error to get on the board in the third as the miscue helped extend the frame in which the Hokies got a bases-loaded, bases-clearing triple from Tyler Horan and an RBI single from Andrew Rash to jump out to a 4-0 lead.
The Vols punched right back, though, using two-out rallies in each of the next three to cut the Hokies lead down to just one run. In the third, Taylor Smart got the ball rolling with a single before A.J. Simcox was hit by a pitch. Maddox then came through with the first of his two two-out RBIs on the day, punching a single to right.
Just an inning later, a hit by pitch played a large role once again as Pierce Bily was drilled by a 1-2 pitch with two outs. He then promptly stole second before coming around the final 180 feet to score when Andrew Lee lined a single just past the glove of the diving Hokie shortstop into left for a single.
UT’s final run of the game came after two quick outs in the fifth when Simcox reached on an error by his counterpart at short, stole second and scored on a double down the right-field line by Maddox.
The two teams then traded zeroes until the eighth, when Virginia Tech broke the game open with a three-run inning featuring a two-run single and a bases-loaded walk.
UT will face Virginia Tech again on April 16 at the Hokie-Smokey Classic in Greeneville, Tenn.
Tennessee is back in action Tuesday for a midweek game against in-state opponent Belmont at 6 p.m. in Lindsey Nelson Stadium, and the Vols host Alcorn State next weekend for a three-game series.
From there, the Vols will host Western Kentucky in a two-game series on Tuesday and Wednesday before traveling to Alabama for a three-game, SEC-opening series against the Crimson Tide.