GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Tennessee (8-6) accomplished record-setting feats on Friday night in Gainesville, blasting four home runs against No. 4 Florida to support a one-hit pitching effort by righthander Bret Marks en route to a 6-2 victory at McKethan Stadium.
Marks dealt 8.0 scoreless innings of one-hit baseball against the Gators, carrying a no-hit performance into the ninth frame. Marks issued just two walks and struck out eight batters, while his 8.0 innings pitched established a career high for the senior.
The Vols tore out of the gates in the first inning, gaining a 4-0 early lead against the Gators thanks to three individual home runs in the frame. Hitting in the two hole for Tennessee, junior A.J. Simcox connected for a deep, solo homer to left field, marking his first career home run as a Volunteer. Christin Stewart reached on a base hit to right and traded places with Nick Senzel, who reached safely on a fielder’s choice up the middle to get Stewart at second.
In the next at-bat, first baseman Nathaniel Maggio connected to send a booming, two-run fly ball over the right field wall, also the first home run of his career for the Vols. After greeting his teammate at the plate, designated hitter Andrew Lee sent a shot down the right field line and hit the foul pole for the Vols’ third home run of the inning. By doing so, Maggio and Lee became the first UT duo to knock back-to-back home runs since Khayyan Norfork and Josh Liles hit back-to-back longballs on May 18, 2010 against UNC Asheville.
Junior left fielder Christin Stewart kept the slugfest alive in the third inning, belting a solo home run to right field to give the Vols a 5-0. The home run was Stewart’s fourth of the season and the fourth for the Vols in Friday’s contest.
After four lockdown frames between the schools, Maggio drove a standup double down the right field line with two outs. Lee continued to two-out rally with an RBI-single up the middle to make it a 6-0 Tennessee advantage.
Florida fought back in the ninth, plating two runs off of reliever Andy Cox before Lee again made the move from designated hitter to the mound. Lee ended the inning for the Vols and collected his third save of the year.