March 8, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee offense exploded for a season-high 17 hits and three pitchers combined on a three-hit shutout as the Volunteers cruised past Alcorn State, 16-0, on Friday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
"I don't think one game creates an identity, but I think one game can create some confidence, and that's definitely what a lot of guys in that locker room are probably feeling right now," UT head coach Dave Serrano said. "They're pretty confident and feeling pretty good about their night and that's a good thing because we've put them through a tough test so far and it was kind of nice to have a little bit of a breather tonight and see the pitching do so well and see a lot of guys contribute offensively, and see a lot of guys play.
"As a coach, you make class distinctions with players and with a starting lineup and there are a lot of guys that are working hard every single day also that aren't getting a lot of playing time, so when you have these kinds of games, you reward a lot of guys for hard work. I think everybody played except for the guys that are a little dinged up right now but I don't think one game is an identity. I think the identity is created over a course of time. I saw a lot of good things tonight. There are still some things we need to work on but in a 16-0 game with all the hits, the thing that goes unnoticed are the spectacular plays by Will Maddox and A.J. Simcox. That's how shutouts are formed is when you have defensive plays like that behind you."
Leading the offensive outburst were the first three hitters in the UT lineup - Taylor Smart, Will Maddox and Scott Price - as they combined to go 6-for-9 with nine RBIs, four walks and four runs scored. All three Vols posted 2-for-3 efforts with Price driving in two, Smart plating three runners and Maddox tying his career high with four RBIs.
In all, 12 different UT players recorded at least one hit in the contest, including all nine starters. Vance Vizcaino was the best of the rest, going 2-for-4 with four runs scored, two RBIs and a pair of walks.
Lost in the offensive onslaught was another fantastic effort from senior Zack Godley who fired seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out eight to pick up his first win of the year. Freshmen Michael Flax and Matt Esparza closed out the game with one scoreless inning each to complete Tennessee's first shutout of the season.
The Vols scored in all but one of the innings in which they went to bat, including batting around in both the fifth and sixth innings.
UT grabbed a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first thanks to an RBI double by Price and a perfectly executed safety squeeze by Pierce Bily. After a scoreless second inning, the Vols tacked on another tally in the third with Price doing the damage once again, punching an RBI single to left.
Maddox added two more runs to the scoreboard with a base hit in the fourth before the floodgates opened for the Big Orange as they scored four runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to take a commanding 13-0 lead. Two more runs in the seventh and an RBI single by Vizcaino in the eighth accounted for the final score.
The Vols and Braves will return to the diamond for the second game of the weekend series at noon on Saturday afternoon. Freshman southpaw Drake Owenby will get the nod on the mound as Tennessee goes for its first series win of the season.