The Tennessee baseball team rebounded from a pair of losses to Kentucky on Sunday with a 5-2 victory over Mississippi Valley State on Tuesday night in the opener of a two-game, midweek series at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Tennessee senior Drew Steckenrider
The Vols (14-10) will play host to the Delta Devils (6-19) again at 7 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday.
Here's a complete recap of Tuesday's game, courtesy of UT sports information:
TENNESSEE DEFEATS DELTA DEVILS, 5-2
Tennessee put its pressure offense on full display Tuesday night, scoring its final three runs without the benefit of even a single hit en route to a 5-2 victory over Mississippi Valley State on a gorgeous evening at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
“We were able to take advantage of some of their miscues and that is what you have to do sometimes,” UT head coach Dave Serrano said. “We aren’t swinging the bat really well right now so we have to take advantage of every opportunity that our opponents are giving us. That is what good teams have to do to be successful. You have to take continue to advantage of what the defense gives you, by the free pass, a hit batter or an error on the field.”
Sophomore Carter Watson picked up his first win of the season, firing 2.2 scoreless innings of relief. Junior Nick Blount tallied his third career save and second of the season, as he got the final four outs of the contest.
Despite getting a no-decision, freshman Robbie Kidd was strong in his second career start, striking out two in four innings of two-hit, one-run ball. Sophomore Dalton Saberhagen also added an inning on the mound, yielding just one unearned run on one hit.
At the plate, senior Davis Morgan pounded the second three-hit game of his career, going 3-for-5 with an RBI, while freshman Parker Wormsley and Zach Osborne each had two base-knocks as the trio accounted for seven of Tennessee's eight hits in the contest. Osborne and Wormsley also drove in two runs each.
“Zach is doing a good job,” Serrano said. “He is starting to come into his own and starting to take quality at-bats. He is using his experience with what he has done in this program and the game is slowing down for him a little bit. Defensively he has been there all year for us, but early in the year he put a little bit of pressure on himself to help carry this team and now I think he is fitting into his role of what we need him to do. When he is at the bottom of the order and he is getting that kind of production, it is going to make it a lot easier as we flip the order over to get to the top of the lineup.”
It was actually Mississippi Valley State that struck first, jumping out to an early lead thanks to a two-out home run by Allen Cheek that gave the Delta Devils a 1-0 advantage in the third inning. MVSU starting pitcher Chris Broadway held the Vols in check for the first four frames before finally getting touched up for two runs in the fifth.
With two outs on the board, Osborne took off for second and just snuck in ahead of the tag. The stolen base turned out to be a huge play as Wormsley dropped a single into left just seconds later, allowing Osborne to score and tie the game at 1-1.
Following another two-out single, this one by Drew Steckenrider, Morgan picked up his third hit of the day to plate Wormsley from third and put Tennessee ahead for good.
The Big Orange added another run in the sixth, despite not getting a single hit. UT took advantage of a walk and two hit batters to load the bases with nobody out. Osborne then drove in his first of two runs on the day with a sacrifice fly to center that moved the lead to two at 3-1. Although an error loaded the bases once again, the Vols couldn't cash in on the opportunity as MSVU escaped further damage with a 6-4-3 double play.
After a scoreless seventh, the Delta Devils inched back within a run, getting an RBI single from Michael Lowe that just hit off the end of the glove of a leaping and fully outstretched Osborne before falling safely into left.
It was a little bit of déjà vu all over again in the eighth, as the Vols had the exact same scenario as the sixth play out with Carter drawing a leadoff walk, followed by two hit batters and a sac fly by Osborne. Maddox then reached base without a hit, drawing a walk this time, to load the bases once again. That is where the similarities came to an end though, as Wormsley watched a 3-1 pitch miss the zone to earn a bases-loaded walk and an RBI, which moved the score to its final tally at 5-2.
The Vols have now had eight innings in which they have scored at least one run without the benefit of even a single hit this season, totaling 13 runs in those frames.
Tennessee (14-10) will go for the midweek series sweep over Mississippi Valley State (6-19) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Freshman southpaw Brandon Zajac will make his second career start in the Orange and White.