KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee's pitching staff threw a combined 13 strikeouts and allowed just three hits against UNC Asheville on Wednesday night, leading the Vols to a 5-2 victory at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Although hits were hard to come by in the early stages of the game, Tennessee (19-15, 4-11 SEC) scored three runs in the third inning and held the Bulldogs (15-22, 5-7 Big South) scoreless through the first seven frames.
Redshirt junior reliever Eric Freeman (1-0) earned the win for the Vols, striking out four batters over 2.2 innings. Starter Will Neely went 2.1 innings with three strikeouts, while Andrew Schultz, Daniel Vasquez, Zach Linginfelter and Jon Lipinski closed out the final four frames.
In the bottom of the third, Moberg got the Tennessee offense going with a double to the right field gap to advance outfielder Matt Waldren to third. Waldren then put the Vols on the board, scoring on a passed ball. Luc Lipcius added to the lead with a single to left center that brought home Moberg, and Jordan Rodgers scored on another passed ball to put the Vols ahead, 3-0.
Dom Thornton increased the lead to 4-0 in the sixth, tagging up from third on Waldren's deep fly ball to left field.
With two outs in the top of the eighth, an errant throw by Linginfelter to first base allowed Joe Tietjen to score from second, cutting the deficit back to three for UNC Asheville.
Moberg singled in the bottom of the eighth, bringing home Max Bartlett to make it 5-1 in favor of UT. Moberg's 21st RBI of the season ties him with Rodgers for the team lead.
In the ninth, the Bulldogs' Tanner Bush hit an RBI single to center field, scoring Joe Gruszka to bring the score to 5-2.
UNC Asheville starter Blake Brown went 2.0 innings, yielding zero runs and recording two strikeouts. Reliever Nick Boyles (0-5) was charged with the loss.
The Bulldogs came knocking on the door in the top of the third, loading the bases with just one out. However, Freeman worked his way out of the jam, throwing a strikeout and forcing a groundout to second that stopped the scoring threat.
TENNESSEE QUICK HITS
- With the win, Tennessee moves to 26-7 all-time against UNC Asheville, including a 22-7 mark in games played in Knoxville.
- Wednesday's lineup featured twin brothers Andre Lipcius (1B) and Luc Lipcius (DH) both starting for the first time this season since Feb. 17 at Memphis.
- Luc Lipcius drew his first career start as designated hitter for Tennessee, going 2-for-3 with one RBI. He also became the third true freshman to start in the clean-up spot of the order this year (also, Pete Derkay and brother Andre Lipcius).
- On Deck for the Vols: Tennessee begins its second half of SEC play this weekend, visiting the Texas A&M Aggies (26-12, 8-7 SEC) for a three-game series from Friday, April 21 - Sunday, April 23. Each game is available for viewing via SEC Network+ online stream.
- Wednesday night's attendance: 1,205