KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Brodie Leftridge and Pete Derkay hit home runs, nine Tennessee pitchers took the mound and the No. 24 Vols roared back with 18 unanswered runs to take an 18-4 victory over Austin Peay on Wednesday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Down by three runs after the fourth inning, Tennessee (12-2) battled back with six runs in the sixth inning to take an 8-4 lead over Austin Peay (9-7). The Vols poured on seven more in the seventh and three more in the eighth to post their most runs and largest margin of victory since a 20-1 win over Central Michigan on Feb. 28, 2016.
Several Vols stepped up in the UT comeback. Redshirt senior Jeff Moberg went 3-for-4 with one RBI, two runs scored, one walk and one stolen base. Senior Jordan Rodgers was 3-for-5 with one RBI, three runs and one walk. Derkay hit a solo home run in the sixth and also had three RBIs, three runs scored and two walks. Leftridge hit a two-run homer in the seventh. Junior Benito Santiago, senior Max Bartlett and senior Matt Waldren had two RBIs each.
Sophomore pitcher Daniel Vasquez (2-0) was perfect in relief in the sixth and the seventh and struck out three batters to earn the win.
Austin Peay junior Zach Neff (0-1) took the loss after allowing nine runs (eight earned) in 1.1 innings of relief work.
The Governors jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first thanks to a three-run homer by senior first baseman Dre Gleason. In the third, Gleason came through again for APSU with an RBI single up the middle to extend his team's lead to 4-0.
Moberg put the Vols on the scoreboard in the fourth, bringing home Derkay on an RBI single into left field. UT went on to load the bases with one out in the frame, but a pop out in foul territory and a line drive to left field ended the threat.
History repeated itself in the fifth, as Justin Ammons again came to the plate with bases loaded. On a 3-1 count, the freshman drew a walk to score junior Dom Thornton from third and set the table but a deep fly ball to center field was tracked down for out No. 3.
Leading off the bottom of the sixth for the Vols, Derkay smashed his first career home run over the right field wall to make it a one-run ballgame. With two outs and the bases loaded, Rodgers knocked an RBI single to the shortstop to plate Moberg and a throwing error allowed Bartlett to score and give UT at 5-4 lead. Santiago followed with a two-RBI triple to left center and Andre Lipcius added an RBI single through the right side to round out the Vols' six-run frame.
With runners on the corners and no outs in the seventh, Thornton scored on a throwing error by the second baseman. Leftridge hammered a two-run homer to left field in the next at-bat. Five batters later and with John Sparks on the mound for the Governors, Derkay was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, scoring Ammons. Bartlett followed with an RBI single to short. Waldren drew a bases loaded walk and Brandon Chinea plated Derkay with a sacrifice fly to center field, pushing Tennessee's lead to 15-4.
Freshman Connor Darling got the starting nod for Tennessee, tossing 1.0 inning as part of the Vols' staff effort vs. the Govs.
UT saw relief appearances from Will Heflin (1.0), Zach Linginfelter (1.0), Andrew Schultz (1.0), Kyle Serrano (1.0), Vasquez (2.0), Garrett Stallings (0.2), Jacob Westphal (0.1) and Jon Lipinski (1.0)
TENNESSEE QUICK HITS
- With the win, Tennessee moves to 20-4 all-time against Austin Peay.
- Connor Darling made his first career start for the Orange and White, having previously pitched 3.2 total innings over three relief appearances. With his start, he became just the second true freshman to start a game for Tennessee this season (also, Linginfelter).
- Tennessee is now 5-0 in games when freshman Pete Derkay is behind the dish.
- Wednesday's contest marked just the fourth time Tennessee's opponent has scored first in a game. In those four games, UT holds a 3-1 record.
- UT has recorded double-digit hits in 10 of its 14 games to start 2017.
- With a 3-for-4 day vs. the Govs, Jeff Moberg recorded his team-best ninth multi-hit game of the year.
- Derkay hit his first career homer for the Volunteers with a solo shot in the sixth. He became the second Vol to hit his first career home run this year (also, Justin Ammons).
- Vol freshmen have now accounted for 18 of UT's 47 extra-base hits (38 percent) this year.
- With his base hit in the sixth inning, Andre Lipcius extended his current streak of reaching base safely to 14 games.
- Brodie Leftridge hit a two-run homer in the seventh, his first home run of the season and just the second of his UT career. His last home run came on April 21, 2015 against ETSU.
- Righty Jacob Westphal made his first appearance since the 2015 season, returning from Tommy John surgery.
- On Deck for the Vols: The Vols open their 2017 Southeastern Conference schedule hosting the South Carolina Gamecocks (11-5) in Knoxville from Friday, March 17 - Sunday, March 19, marking the second consecutive year UT will begin conference play at home.
- Wednesday's attendance at Lindsey Nelson Stadium: 974