The No. 11 Tennessee Volunteers lost their first game of the season on Friday night. The Vols were beaten 5-4 by Wright State. With the loss, Tennessee falls to 13-1, while Wright State improves to 4-8. The winning pitcher was Jake Schrand (1-0), and the losing pitcher was Redmond Walsh (1-1).
“He struggled with his rolling breaking ball and for whatever reason, he is falling off towards his glove side,” said head coach Tony Vitello. “[Wright State] came hungry to win an SEC game. They have played seven of them now and that was the first one they won.”
Jake Rucker finished the game for the Vols with three hits, a run, and an RBI. Alerick Soularie was the only other Tennessee player to record multiple hits. The Vols outfielder went 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI.
Chad Dallas got the start on the bump for Tennessee and lasted just 4.1 innings after surrendering three runs and seven hits. Sean Hunley came in relief and pitched 3.1 innings. The righty gave up four hits, a run, and struck out three batters. Walsh took the loss for the Vols after giving up an unearned run in the top of the 9th.
“He was throwing strikes and doing his job,” said Rucker. “We just started off slow and didn’t do our job. We just couldn’t get anything going.
Wright State’s starter, Daniel Kreuzer went five innings, gave up four hits and two runs (both earned), while walking two and striking out three. Schrand earned the win after three innings of work. He allowed two runs, walked two batters and struck out five.
Connor Pavolony drove in the first run of the ball game after hitting a solo homerun to dead center. With the longball, Pavolony now stands tied for most homeruns on the Vols with four.
Wright State’s staff was able to prevent Tennessee from scoring until the fifth inning. During that span, the Raiders scored three unanswered runs. Jay Luikart tied the game with an RBI double. Zane Harris followed that up with a 2-run single into center field to give Wright State the lead in the top of the fifth.
The Vols finally got back on the board after scoring a run in the fifth. Wright State was able to increase their lead in the seventh after Alex Alders clubbed an RBI single to put Wright State up 4-2.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Soularie and Luc Lipcius drove in two runs to tie the game at four for Tennessee. The Vols were eyeing their third comeback of the season until Wright State scored the go-ahead run after Alders singled to center to drive in Gehrig Anglin who turned out to be the game winning run.
“We have to respond to this,” said Rucker. “Like I said earlier, it feels awful to lose. This feeling we have is pretty bad so we are gonna have to bounce back from this to get back on track.”
Tennessee and Wright State will play game two of their weekend series at 2 p.m.