KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - With a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 13th inning, the University of Tennessee handed the Western Kentucky University baseball team an 8-7 loss on Tuesday afternoon at Robert M. Lindsay Field at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
WKU (1-3) saw the Volunteers (4-0) rally from single-run deficits in the ninth and twelfth innings before coming away with the victory in the 13th.
After Tennessee third baseman Zach Luther led off the 13th with a single, he advanced to third on a fielding error by Hilltoppers right fielder Ryan Hutchison. UT third baseman Davis Morgan followed with the sacrifice fly to right to send home the winning run.
WKU right-hander Taylor Haydel (0-1) took the loss despite throwing shutout innings in the ninth and tenth. The junior allowed two runs - one earned - on three hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 3-2/3 innings.
UT sophomore Dalton Saberhagen (1-0) worked a pair of scoreless innings with two walks and two strikeouts to earn the win.
WKU took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when center fielder Jared Andreoli scored from third on a wild pitch. Andreoli reached base on an error to start the game.
The Hilltoppers tallied a run in the top of the second inning on a solo home run by Dykes.
Tennessee jumped in front 3-2 with three runs in the bottom of the second inning. A two-run double by catcher Ethan Bennett tied the game before an RBI groundout by left fielder Richard Carter put UT on top.
The Volunteers added to their lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth. First baseman Drew Steckenrider hit a solo home run to left field with two outs followed by right fielder Chris Pierce scoring on a wild pitch to make the score 5-2.
WKU rallied for four runs in the top of the seventh to take a 6-5 lead. Cessna led off the inning with a solo home run to left field followed a pair of errors that allowed shortstop Steve Hodgins to reach third where he scored on a failed pickoff throw. Hartle tied the game on an RBI single to left field and catcher Ryan Huck put the Hilltoppers in front with a sacrifice fly to right.
UT tied the game at 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth on a sacrifice fly by Pierce.
The Hilltoppers took a 7-6 lead in the top of the 12th inning when Hodgins drew a bases-loaded walk to drive home Hutchison. The senior was hit by a pitch with no outs in the inning.
Tennessee again knotted the score at 7-7 on a two-out RBI single by pinch hitter Wes Walker in the bottom of the 12th inning.
WKU starter GJ Strauss, making just his second career start, allowed three runs on three hits with a strikeout and three walks in three innings. Six additional pitchers saw action out of Hilltopper bullpen including Andrew Zimmerman, Brennan Pearson, Colton Satterlee, Austin Clay, Ross Hammonds and Justin Hageman.
Tennessee starting pitcher David Horne worked two innings, giving up two runs - one earned - a walk and striking out one. The Volunteers used a total of eight pitchers.
The Hilltoppers return to action this weekend with a three-game series against Southern Illinois at Nick Denes Field. Game times are scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.