After the Tennessee football Orange and White Game, it appeared that many fans remained on campus to watch the baseball game between the Vols and No. 14 Texas A&M.
The 2,946 fans marked the largest attendance of any game this season, and former Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The Vols were unable to live up to the atmosphere, however, losing 8-3 in the second game of the series at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Texas A&M scored five runs in the first inning and the Tennessee bats could not get going until it was too late.
“There’s no doubt we did not put our best foot forward,” head coach Tony Vitello said. “I think we totally missed an opportunity to capture some fans that aren’t normally at our ballpark that were coming over from the orange and white game.”
The Aggies used five hits to put up five runs in the top of the first against Tennessee sophomore pitcher Garrett Stallings. An error led to the fifth run that was scored.
Stallings pitched 5.2 innings, allowing eight runs on ten hits and one walk. He also struck out two.
“It was almost like he got his bell rung,” Vitello said. “He kind of had a glazed look in his eyes was the quote that coach Anderson used.”
Michael Helman made it a 6-0 game in the third inning when he reached on a throwing error. Texas A&M scored two more in the sixth to go up 8-0.
Tennessee committed three defensive errors in the game and two of them led to runs for the Aggies. It is the seventh time this season that the Vols have had at least three errors.
“You feel dumb,” Vitello said. “That’s not us. We are a lot of things, positive and negative, but that’s not us … for a lot of the game we got exposed that we were not ready to play.”
Sophomore Jay Charleston put Tennessee on the board in the eighth inning when he hit an RBI-single and Benito Santiago scored to make it 8-1. Andre Lipcius added a sacrifice fly that scored his brother, Luc Lipcius, later in the inning.
Charleston was walked with one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to cut the Aggies lead to 8-3. Justin Ammons struck out and Pete Derkay grounded out to end the game.
Derkay was Tennessee’s best offensive player in the game, going 2-for-4 at the plate with a walk. The rest of the team combined to hit 4-for-26.
“I am just trying to stick with my approach of getting ready for a fastball and then just go off of that,” Derkay said.
Freshman left handed pitcher Redmond Walsh relieved Stallings in the sixth. Walsh threw 2.1 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out two. Andrew Schultz and Zach Linginfelter combined to pitch a scoreless ninth inning.
Walsh has pitched in 12 games and holds a 1.88 ERA.
“He’s always composed,” Vitello said. “He’s got a great sense of gratitude because he’s been through three surgeries. Any opportunity to pitch is a great opportunity to pitch.”
Tennessee and Texas A&M will play a series-deciding game three Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.
“I might have to watch some Vince Lombardi or Miracle or something and give a rah-rah speech,” Vitello said. “I say that facetiously … these guys should be going home with a bitter taste in their mouth and should come out pretty determined tomorrow.”