Wednesday, May 23, 2007

First Professional Home Run Hit off of Major Leaguer Lance Cormier of the Atlanta Braves

Holliman takes down Braves
May 20, 2007

Mark Holliman tossed eight shutout innings and stroked his first professional home run to lead visiting Tennessee to a 6-1 victory over Mississippi on Saturday.

It was another strong outing for the 23-year-old right-hander, who has held the opposition without a run in five of his eight starts. His performance at the plate was a different story, since Holliman was 1-for-8 entering the game.

The strong outing for Holliman (6-1) is no surprise to him, as he has five scoreless outing so far this season, but the home run - a two-run shot in the second - was certainly unexpected.

"Yeah, I guess you could say I was definitely surprised that it went out," Holliman said. "I was down in the count, 1-2, and [Mississippi starter Lance Cormier] challenged me with a fastball. All I was trying to do in that situation was put the ball in play since I was behind in the count.

"A lot of my friends and family had come down from the Memphis area and, luckily, my dad was able to get the ball."

Holliman (6-1) took a no-hitter into the sixth before Braves pitcher Francisley Bueno broke it up with a one-out single up the middle. The University of Mississippi product issued a leadoff walk to J.C. Holt in the bottom of the first, then retired the next 16 batters.

"After that walk, I definitely got into a good rhythm early on," he said. "I was doing well locating my pitches and mixing them up, but once I had that momentum going early, my confidence really kicked up and I was able to ride that for a while."

Holliman ended up allowing two hits and a walk while striking out five. He has given up one run or fewer in seven of his eight starts and leads the Southern League in wins and with a 1.17 ERA.

Geoffrey Jones came on to pitch the ninth and surrendered an unearned run on one hit with one strikeout.

Tennessee grabbed the lead in the second when Josh Kroeger hit a leadoff double and scored on Casey McGehee's single to right field. Gary Gates drove in McGehee with a single before Holliman homered.

Kroeger had two doubles and a run scored, while McGehee was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

The Braves (29-14) avoided the shutout when Brandon Jones doubled home Brent Lillibridge in the ninth.

Cormier (0-1), working his way back to the Atlanta Braves, took the loss in his first rehab start. He gave up four runs on four hits with two strikeouts in three innings. --Michael Echan/

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