March 2, 2014
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - No. 28 Tennessee raced out to a seven-run lead through the first two innings and held Quinnipiac (0-6) to just five hits, as the Vols recorded their third-consecutive weekend series sweep with a 9-4 victory on Sunday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The Volunteers moved to 10-0 on the season - improving on the best start in program history - and recorded their third-consecutive weekend series sweep for the first time since the 2005 season.
"I'm never going to complain about a sweep, ever, ever, ever," said head coach Dave Serrano. "We haven't won enough, nor will we ever win enough, to ever complain about a sweep. Friday was a one-sided game, yesterday was a great character-game of coming back to the last swing and getting a base hit to tie it and win it in the 10th. Today, we jumped out early on them, but I was a little disappointed because I thought we got bored with winning. We got complacent in the middle innings - a lot of lazy fly balls, some miscues on defense - and I continue to remind these guys that we can't ever win enough to ever get bored.
"Winning feels too good and I will not allow us to ever get satisfied with anything but our best every single time. It's another learning process for this team. Fortunately we're 10-0 - I'm proud of that - and we'll go to the next game which will be La Salle on Tuesday. We're not looking past La Salle. They're the next road block in our way and then we move on to the next weekend."
Freshman right-handed pitcher Kyle Serrano earned his second win of the campaign, allowing just two hits in six innings of work and striking out five batters, the most of his young career. Junior college transfer Peter Lenstrohm was strong on the mound in his 1.2 innings of late-game relief, retiring all five batters he faced.
Sophomore outfielder Christin Stewart gave the Vols the early lead in the bottom half of the first, blasting a 2-0 pitch off the stadium scoreboard in right center to put UT on top 3-0. It was Stewart's first and the team's fourth home run of the season.
Tennessee scored four more runs on two hits and an error by the Bobcats in the second to extend its lead to 7-0. Vincent Jackson delivered a sac fly, while Taylor Smart had a RBI single in the frame. Smart bumped his average up to a team-best .448 with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate. UT's Will Maddox also had a three-hit day on Sunday, going 3-for-5 with three runs scored.
Quinnipiac strung together back-to-back doubles and plated its first run of the game in the fourth, cutting UT's lead to 7-1. The Vols got it back in the bottom half of the sixth frame with three-straight singles from Nathaniel Maggio, Smart and Tyler Schultz.
The Bobcats were able to score two runs off Trevor Bettencourt in the seventh and hit a solo homer to lead off the ninth inning to bring their scoreboard total to four. Tennessee also scored a run off a Jackson groundout in the seventh.
The Orange and White hosts La Salle (1-8) for two midweek games on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, before heading to Tempe, Ariz., for a three-game series with No. 19 Arizona State (5-4) on the weekend. Freshman Hunter Martin, who started the season opener, will return to the mound for the Vols on Tuesday.