KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee's pitching staff shined as they amassed 13 strikeouts against Cincinnati, but the team fell short in a 2-1 final as the Vols' bats went cold on a chilly Friday night in Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Cincinnati (6-6) struck first in the contest with a Connor McVey home run in the top of the first inning. Tennessee (9-2) responded in the bottom of the second with a monstrous home run off the bat of Benito Santiago, tying the game at 1-1.
After Santiago's home run, the Volunteers struggled to put runners on base. Despite the outcome, redshirt senior Jeff Moberg continued his strong hitting, going 2-for-4 on the night with a single and a double.
The Bearcats moved to a 2-1 lead when Jace Mercer dashed from third base on a fielder's choice by UT's defense in the fifth.
The Volunteers threatened the Bearcats in the bottom of the ninth as a pair of freshmen got the team in scoring position with two outs. Designated hitter Pete Derkay hit a ball into center field before pinch-hitter Will Heflin drove one up the middle to make it runners on first and second. The surge was then short lived as pinch-hitter Luc Lipcius fell into a 5-3 groundout to end the game.
Senior righty Hunter Martin got the start for UT, continuing his hot streak fanning six batters over 6.0 innings of work. Martin (3-1) took his first loss of the season as he allowed Cincinnati two earned runs on seven hits in the outing.
Making his first appearance since returning from Tommy John surgery in 2016, right-hander Kyle Serrano entered the game in the seventh inning and needed just 18 pitches to retire the side with three straight strikeouts. Sophomore Daniel Vasquez later pitched well in relief for the Vols, tallying four strikeouts over his 2.0 innings.
TENNESSEE QUICK HITS