The Diamond Vols completed their first series sweep of the season, defeating the Alcorn State Braves (2-15) three times over the weekend.
The Vols (7-7) started the series off in dominant fashion with a 16-0 victory on Friday.
The victory was due in part to an offensive explosion which created a season-high 17 hit performance for the Vols. The offensive attack allowed pitcher Zack Godley, who threw seven shutout innings and eight strikeouts, to settle in and be more comfortable in his first win of the season.
“Pitching with that comfort of having a lead like that is nice,” Godley said. “It’s nice to have those guys hitting the way they were.”
Game two belonged to designated hitter Andrew Lee, who went 4-5 (two of the hits were doubles which posted his first extra-base hits of the season) with five RBI, leading UT to a 13-6 victory.
“I’ve been struggling a little bit at the plate lately, but basically I’ve been talking to the coaches and they told me to just be aggressive, you’re the designated hitter so that means you hit the ball and you swing,” Lee said. “I was just hunting for fastballs today and looking for pitches to hit, and they gave them to me and I took advantage luckily.”
With the series sweep on the line, the Vols turned to freshman pitcher Aaron Quillen to get the job done and he did just that. Quillen pitched six innings, allowing four runs on five hits and striking out seven for his first career win as a Vol.
“I felt pretty good today,” Quillen said. “The warm weather helped out and my arm felt pretty good. I’m starting to get down to my natural arm slot, moving sidearm again and I kind of worked on my sidearm curveball in the bullpen this week, it’s the first time I broke it out all season and it felt pretty good. The defense made plays behind me and we got the ‘W’ and got the sweep for the weekend.”
The series sweep is a push in the right direction for the Vols, who are feeling confident after this weekend’s success. Head coach Dave Serrano said the game worked as a kind of calm moment in all the madness this season.
“They're pretty confident and feeling pretty good about their night,” Serrano said after Friday night's game. ”That's a good thing because we've put them through a tough test so far and it was kind of nice to have a little bit of a breather tonight and see the pitching do so well and see a lot of guys contribute offensively, and see a lot of guys play.”
The Diamond Vols now switch their attention to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, who will come into Knoxville for a two-game series that will be played on March 12-13.