For the second consecutive day, Tennessee rallied from an early deficit only to see Louisiana-Monroe answer late as the Warhawks defeated the Volunteers, 7-4, on Sunday afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
"Today was about opportunities," UT Head Coach Dave Serrano said. "I'm more disappointed in myself for what I haven't been able to relay to my pitchers about what's important for success. The pitchers aren't performing at the level that they need to be and I take full responsibility for that. They need to get better. You are only as good as your pitching and right now we aren't getting it done at the level we need to get to and then it carries over to some stuff offensively. We just didn't play good baseball the last two days and I'm disappointed about that.
"I was very impressed with the way the team did fight back and put three on the board, but we still have a ways to go to get to where we need to be mentality-wise. It needs to be a pressing issue each and every day to be the best team on the field and I don't see that consistently enough right now."
After coming on in relief with one out in the bottom of the first inning, ULM pitcher Cale Wine (3-1) went the final 8.2 innings, allowing two runs on five hits and striking out five.
Junior Hunter Daniel (0-1) suffered the loss for the Big Orange, yielding three runs on three hits in his debut on the mound this season. Freshman Conner Stevens added 3.1 innings of scoreless relief for the Vols, while fellow classmate Eric Martin, senior T.J. Thornton and sophomores Dalton Saberhagen and Carter Watson worked at least one shutout frame each.
Will Maddox and Ethan Bennett led the way at the plate with two hits each, while Jared Allen launched the first home run of his career in the sixth inning.
The Warhawks struck early and often on Sunday, scoring four runs on three hits, a walk and a hit batter in the top of the first inning, forcing UT starter Robbie Kidd out of the game after recording just two outs.
The Vols got two of the runs back in the home half of the inning, however. Maddox led off the frame with a single to extend his hitting streak to eight games, the longest by a UT player this season, and promptly came home to score just seconds later on a double down the left-field line by Zach Osborne. An error by the ULM shortstop then allowed Osborne to cross the plate and cut the deficit to two at 4-2.
With the combination of Stevens, Martin and Thornton holding the ULM offense hitless for the next 5.1 innings, Tennessee was able to inch closer in the fourth when Davis Morgan came home to score on a single to center by Bennett after being hit by a pitch and stealing second.
With one out in the sixth, Allen completed the UT comeback, crushing a first-pitch fastball from Wine onto "The Porch" in left field for his first career home run to tie the game at 4-4.
The Warhawks answered in the very next frame though, putting together a three-run, two-out rally featuring an RBI single by Brandon Alexander and a two-run home run by Judd Edwards to jump back ahead 7-4.
From there, Wine cruised as he faced just one over the minimum over the final three innings to close out the Warhawk win.
Tennessee falls to 10-5 with the loss while ULM improves to 11-6. The Vols will be back in action at 7 p.m. on Tuesday when they host Tennessee Tech. That contest will be televised on FOX Sports South/FOX Sports Tennessee.
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