April 30, 2011
By Cameron Harris, Assistant Media Relations Director
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee freshman Ethan Bennett swatted his fifth home run of the season, but that was the only run the Volunteers could manage on Saturday afternoon in Nashville as No. 3 Vanderbilt clinched the weekend series with a 10-1 victory at Hawkins Field.
"We actually swung the bats pretty good today," UT Head Coach Todd Raleigh said. "I know it's hard to believe when you only score one run. I think we had the leadoff hitter on five times in nine innings. It's hard to only score one when you do that. Some of the balls were hit hard too. We had some really good swings. I think the last couple of weeks offensively have been much, much better. When you fall behind, it is a vicious cycle. The other team can throw more breaking balls and has a little more wiggle room."
The Big Orange managed eight hits in the contest, including two each from Bennett and sophomore Drew Steckenrider. Bennett launched a leadoff blast in the second inning and picked up a single in the ninth, while Steckenrider, making just his second start in the field this season, had an infield single and a double off the wall in straight-away center.
Bennett's home run was his fifth of the season, tying him with senior Matt Duffy for the team lead. It was also his first in an SEC contest. Redshirt freshman Jon Reed (1-2) suffered the loss for UT after yielding four runs on seven hits in 3.2 innings of work. Southpaw Grayson Garvin (9-1) picked up the win for the Commodores after striking out six and allowing just one run on two hits in 5.2 frames.
Aaron Westlake helped Vanderbilt pull away from the Vols by going 4-for-5 with two home runs, two RBIs and three runs scored. Jason Esposito also had a three-hit effort for VU.
After Bennett's longball into the left-field bleachers tied the game at 1-1 in the second, Vanderbilt took the lead back in the third on a solo shot by Westlake before scoring twice in the fourth, three times in the fifth, twice more in the seventh and another in the eighth.
Tennessee will look to close the series on a high note on Sunday when it will send sophomore right-hander Nick Blount (1-1, 3.68) out to the mound against Vanderbilt's Taylor Hill (3-0, 3.38). First pitch for the series finale is set for 2 p.m. ET.