Tennessee rallies from six-run deficit, walks off against No. 19 Alabama
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- A laced line drive down the right field line by Vincent Jackson gave Tennessee its fifth walk-off victory of the 2014 season, as the No. 29 Vols rallied from six down to defeat No. 17 Alabama 10-9 on Sunday afternoon in front of 1,845 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
"I'm very proud of the team," head coach Dave Serrano said. "I wasn't so sure about an hour-and-a-half ago that I would be standing here saying that in front of you guys, but boy, we have a way of doing things.
"Like I said to them after, if we're not learning from the way the game is treating us and the things that are going on then we just aren't focused. We gave up a 6-1 lead last night and feel horrible at the end of the game. Then it's 8-2 in the middle innings [today] and I think we were kind of feeling sorry for ourselves a little bit and all of a sudden something just clicked and a lot of good things happened for the Vols. I felt our at-bats started turning and we got more confident. That was a big, big win - a much needed win for this this program to keep us alive in what our dreams of doing are at the end of the year."
Jackson, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning, finished 2-for-2 on the day with two RBIs, including the game winner.
The Vols (25-13, 7-11 SEC) came back from an 8-2 deficit in the eighth inning putting six on the board behind hits from A.J. Simcox, Christin Stewart, Taylor Smart, Jackson and Will Maddox to tie the game up at 8-8. The Big Orange batted around in the frame, with three of the five hits going for extra bases.
Alabama (28-12, 12-6) retook the lead in the top of the ninth off a solo home run to set up the Vols for the walk-off win.
Stewart started the ninth off by drawing a four-pitch walk, reaching base for the fourth time on the day. He came around to score in the next at-bat on a beast of a double to deep left center by freshman Nick Senzel. With one out, Jackson took the first pitch of his at-bat and sent it to the right field corner scoring Senzel to give the Vols the victory.
Alabama, which used-up its closer Thomas Burrows in the opening two games of the series, turned to middle infielder Kyle Overstreet in the ninth. Overstreet, who had one inning pitched and a save to his name this season, suffered his first loss. Sophomore right-hander Andrew Lee got the win for UT, improving to 4-1 on the year.
Stewart finished the game 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a triple. He hit .428 (6-for-14) with three RBI and two extra-base hits on the weekend. A Lawrenceville, Ga., native, he leads the Vols with 15 multi-hit games. Senzel also had a pair of hits on Sunday, while Maddox extended his hit streak to eight games with the RBI double in the eighth. UT out-hit the Crimson Tide 13-11 in the finale.