KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee dug itself an early hole and was unable to climb out in a 4-2 loss to Morehead State on Tuesday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The Eagles scored a pair of runs in the first and led 4-0 after five as the Volunteers struggled to get the bats going against MSU starter Garret Rogers, who went five scoreless innings while allowing just two hits to earn his first win of the season.
UT rallied in the ninth, scoring a run to cut the lead to two, and had the bases loaded with two outs but were unable to get the big hit they needed to tie or win the game.
UT starter Sean Hunley picked up his first-career loss after giving up two runs on three hits in just one inning of work.
Benito Santiago went 2-for-4 with an RBI while Andre Lipcius and Evan Russell both had two hits and scored a run for the Vols.
Braxton Morris and Eli Boggess both had two hits and two RBI to lead Morehead State offensively. Cory Conway got his third save of the year despite walking two batters in the bottom of the ninth.
The Eagles jumped on Hunley early with three straight hits to start the game. Morris singled to drive in Reid Leonard before Niko Hulsizer came in to score on a sacrifice fly by Boggess to put UT in an early 2-0 hole.
MSU put together a two-out rally in the top of the third with a double and back-to-back singles to score a run and take a 3-0 lead. The Eagles made it 4-0 in the fifth when Leonard scored on a ground out after leading off the inning with a double.
The Vols were finally able to break through and get on the board in the seventh, scoring a run to cut their deficit to three. Russell led off the inning by ripping a ball into the corner in right field for a triple and came home to score on a bloop single by Santiago a couple of batters later to make it 4-1.
The Big Orange started the ninth with three consecutive singles to load the bases with no outs before Santiago grounded into a controversial double play to score a run. Back-to-back walks to pinch hitters Zach Daniels and Brandon Trammell reloaded the bases, but Conway got Jay Charleston to strike out swinging to end the game.
Tennessee welcomes No. 13 Kentucky to Lindsey Nelson Stadium this weekend for a crucial SEC series.