Oct. 25, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Fans of the Tennessee baseball program got their first glimpse of the new-look Vols on Friday and were rewarded with loads of Big Orange offense, as UT took out Belmont, 13-7, in a fall exhibition at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
"I thought for the first game against outside competition, our team performed at a good level," said head coach Dave Serrano. "Drake Owenby, Hunter Martin, Andrew Lee and Bret Marks all pitched well. Scott Price had a great night at the plate and seems to have picked up right where he left off last year - as one of the better hitters in the country.
"We see many good things ahead of us, but must not stop working in every area. We will continue our fall workout tomorrow with Family Day."
The squads played on a per-inning pitch count, as each hurler was limited to 25 pitches per frame. Any runners left on base when the pitch count was hit would count as a run on the scoreboard.
Under that format, the Vols scored 13 runs on nine hits and plated one in the first inning, three in the third, one in the fourth, two in the sixth, two in the seventh, one in the eight and were rewarded three runs due to pitch count in the third. Belmont scored six of its seven runs in the eighth inning and had just three hits prior to the eighth.
Price led the way at the plate for UT, going 4-for-4 with three singles and a home run to right field in the sixth. Batting leadoff, Price scored three times and picked up two RBI.
"I was just being aggressive, swinging at good pitches early and trying to work the count in my favor," said Price. "I was seeing good pitches that I could handle. I saw like nine pitches in my first at-bat and that helped later in the game.
"This was really big for a lot of our new guys because they don't know exactly what it feels like once the lights come on with people watching. All in all, I think it was very beneficial for our team."
The Vols also picked up hits from returners A.J. Simcox and David Houser, who hit a long ball to dead center in the seventh inning. Newcomers Nick Senzel, Jordan Rodgers and Tyler Shultz added base knocks.
With junior Will Maddox leading the charge from the three-slot in the order, Tennessee utilized the inside game to take command of the Bruins. Maddox scored Price on a sacrifice fly in the first inning, and then again on a perfectly executed squeeze play in the third, was hit by a pitch in the sixth and came in to score after being walked in the eight.
"That's what I pride myself in - I want to outwork everybody every day and play harder than everybody," said Maddox. "I want to lead by example more than anything. For me to be the best player I can be, that's how I have to play."
After allowing one Bruin to cross the plate in the top of the first, Owenby settled down on the mound for the Vols, retiring seven straight batters and striking out six in three innings of work. Martin picked up right where Owenby finished, throwing three inning of scoreless ball with four strikeouts.
Belmont scored five runs off Kyle Serrano in the top of the eight and tacked on one more when the pitching limit was reached. Pitching for the first time of his UT career after recovering from injury, sophomore Andrew Lee sat down the Bruins in order to end the action in the ninth. Owenby earned the unofficial victory.
The Vols host Family Day and a free youth clinic prior to their final fall practice at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Saturday. The clinic, which is open to all children ages six through the eighth grade, will run from 9:30-10:30 a.m. ET. Check-in is scheduled for 9 a.m.