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LICENSE TO QUILL: Vols sweep Braves

Tennessee evened its record Sunday in Lindsey Nelson Stadium, polishing off a three-game sweep of Alcorn State with a 12-4 win.

UT junior 1B Scott Price (UT photo)

Freshman right-hander Aaron Quillen, an Upper East Tennessee native, threw six solid innings to pick up the first win of his college career, while junior first baseman Scott Price and freshman designated hitter Andrew Lee from the Knoxville area had a pair of hits apiece for the Vols.

UT will stay home Tuesday and Wednesday for a two-game series against Western Kentucky before opening SEC play this weekend at longtime rival Alabama.

Here’s a full recap of Sunday’s win over Alcorn State, courtesy of UT sports information.

VOLS COMPLETE SWEEP OF ALCORN STATE, 12-4

Tennessee raced out to a seven-run lead after three innings and never looked back as it completed a series sweep over Alcorn State with a 12-4 win at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

UT’s overall record is back to .500 at 7-7 with just two games remaining before the start of Southeastern Conference action at Alabama next weekend.

After putting up double-digit run totals in each of the first two games this weekend, the Vols got the ball rolling offensively quickly on Sunday, batting around and scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning.

Every first-inning run came with two outs, something that has been a staple of the UT offense this season. Forty-two of the team's 81 RBIs this season have come with two outs. In the first inning on Sunday, freshman Andrew Lee struck the first blow with an RBI double down the left-field line. A hit batter and a pair of walks, all with the bases loaded, accounted for the final three runs of the stanza.

Freshman Aaron Quillen of Kingsport, Tenn., threw six solid innings Sunday in Tennessee's 12-4 win over Alcorn State in Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The Vols evened their record at 7-7 with a three-game weekend sweep of the Braves. (UT photo)

"That's very pleasing, especially for a young team to do that," second-year UT head coach Dave Serrano said. "That's kind of been our MO a lot through this year so far, we have had a lot of two-out RBIs. The thing that we haven't done - we had one today - is we haven't had a lot of sacrifice flies with runners in scoring position.

"I know we got one today, and we might have gotten one on Friday, but the two-out RBIs, those are back-breakers for a defense when a team gets two-out RBIs. I commend our guys, especially with the inexperience that we've started out with, that they're able to do that and they're staying within themselves and they're coming up big with two outs."

Freshman right-hander Aaron Quillen (1-1) struck out seven over six innings of work to pick up his first collegiate win. He allowed four runs on just five hits and walked only one.

A Kingsport, Tenn. native, Quillen faced the minimum through the first three innings before running into a touch of trouble in the fourth. He settled down, though, and retired seven of the final 10 batters that he faced.

"I thought he gave us a great quality start, just like he did last Sunday," Serrano said of Quillen. "He could have kept going, to be honest with you. We didn't use that many guys this weekend, and I wanted to get some guys in. It wasn't that he was faltering at all, I just wanted to get some guys some work and felt comfortable with making that move. I'm very happy with the way he’s thrown the ball, and he's continuing to get better with each and every start."

Fellow freshmen Andy Cox and Trevor Bettencourt followed with scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth before handing the ball off to junior Nick Williams who struck out the side on nine pitches to close out the sweep in dominating fashion.

Junior first baseman Scott Price Tennessee’s 11-hit attack, going 2-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and a walk.

After going 4-for-5 in Saturday’s game, Lee continued his tear at the plate, recording two more hits and driving in two runs. He finished the weekend 7-for-14 with a team-high seven RBIs.

The Vols were a perfect 8-for-8 in stolen base attempts on Sunday with junior second baseman Taylor Smart and sophomore third baseman Will Maddox swiping a pair of bags each. After a four-run first inning, UT kept the pressure on in the next two frames with junior center fielder Pierce Bily punching an RBI single to right field in the second and freshman shortstop A.J. Simcox roping a two-run double to the gap in right-center in the third to put the score at 7-0.

Although the Braves fought back with four runs of their own in the top of the fourth, the Vols kept them scoreless the rest of the way before and then put up a five-spot in the bottom of the eight. Maddox, Lee and freshman right fielder Christin Stewart all had RBI singles in the eighth, while Bily added a sacrifice fly and freshman Jeff Moberg knocked in the game's final run with a two-out, pinch-hit double to left-center.

The sweep is Tennessee's first since it took all three games against Alabama in Knoxville last year, March 30-April 1.

UT will next be in action Tuesday and Wednesday against Western Kentucky in Lindsey Nelson. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. both days.

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