March 13, 2004
Knoxville, Tenn. - Derek Tharpe tossed a complete game three-hitter and Chase Headley slugged his second home run as the Tennessee Volunteers won their 10th straight game with a 6-2 victory over the Siena Saints in the first of three games at Lindsey Stadium.
Tharpe (4-0), who set a career-high with 8 2/3 innings pitched last week against Georgia State, threw the first nine-inning complete game of his career. He finished with a season-high nine strikeouts with two walks.
After striking out five of the first nine hitters he faced, Tharpe was touched for a single in the fourth before giving up a two-run home run to Scott King in the fifth following a Vol error. After issuing a two-out walk in the sixth, Tharpe was untouchable, retiring the final 10 batters he faced, including back-to-back strikeouts to end the game.
After taking a 1-0 lead in the first on Chris Kemp's RBI single, the Vols (14-2) broke the game open in the fourth on Headley's two-run home run off the scoreboard in right and a sacrifice fly for a 4-0 lead.
In addition to Headley's two hits, Josh Alley, Eli Iorg and Nick Crowe each collected a pair of safeties as the Vols pounded out 13 hits.
Tennessee was able to add a couple of insurance runs in the eighth off Saints closer Josh Courage who came on in relief of Joshua Bennett. Pinch hitter Rob Fitzgerald tripled by hitting a high fly ball to the deepest part of the ball park in right center that fell at the base of the fence scoring Crowe and pinch runner Alez Suarez.
Ryan Bitter (1-2) worked six solid innings in the loss, surrendering four runs on nine hits, as Siena fell to 5-7.
Game two of the series is Saturday at 2 p.m. ET, with Sunday's finale at 12:30 p.m.