With foul lines chalked to perfection, the public address announcer's voice booming through the loudspeakers and the visitor's dugout housing a team dressed in colors other than orange and white, Lindsey Nelson Stadium was in vintage spring form Friday afternoon.
Dave Serrano's squad appeared to be as well.
In UT's first fall matchup against outside competition since 2011, the Volunteers allowed just one run through the first seven innings and used an offensive outburst – highlighted by a six-run third – en route to a 13-7 victory over the Belmont Bruins.
"(The win is) really good," said senior right fielder Scott Price, who finished 4-for-4 with a homer and three runs scored. "It's really big for a lot of our new guys because they don't know exactly what it feels like. Once the lights come on and once there are people there watching, I think a lot of those guys, the game will speed up on them."
The scrimmage, along with an additional seven-inning situational game, capped off a productive fall with an intense and regular season-esque atmosphere as the Vols squared off against a successful and well-respected non-conference opponent, something they will encounter quite often throughout the 2014 season.
"That game was exactly what our mid-week games are like," Price said. "It had the same feel. All in all, it was very beneficial for our team ... I think games like that in the fall are definitely good for everyone because it gives that spring-like atmosphere, and it just lets you know what's going to come in the future."
While Price gashed the Bruins with his bat, a plethora of UT hurlers stifled the Belmont offense with their arms, combining for 13 strikeouts with just two free passes. Sophomore Drake Owenby started the game and picked up the unofficial win, tossing three innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts.
"It's really good to have multiple guys that can come in and just pitch low in the zone and really attack hitters," Price said. "As a hitter myself, I know that hitters will get themselves out more than not, and it's really good to have pitchers that will go right at them."
Since his arrival in Knoxville two years ago, junior Will Maddox has established himself as an enthusiastic and versatile presence, willing to do whatever Serrano has asked of him, even if it's meant jumping from position to position or hitting in many different spots in the lineup.
After much success at second base — Maddox's natural place on the field — his freshman year, the Gainesville, Ga., native transitioned to the hot corner last season and didn't miss a beat, hitting .333 with 42 runs and 20 RBI.
Serrano will require much of the same in 2014 as the former SEC All-Freshman selection has moved around between second and third base as well as the outfield throughout the fall.
"It just depends on what's best for the team," Maddox said. "I've played second my whole life. That's where I feel comfortable, but who knows where I'll end up in the spring. It just depends on what pieces they decide to put together, and that's on the coaches. I can play a lot of positions, so I'm just trying to go about it in a flexible way and a positive way.
"Whatever helps the team best, that's where I'll end up."
After previously batting leadoff for the majority of his UT career, Maddox has taken most of his fall swings out of the three-hole and did so again Friday night. His performance versus Belmont showed why Serrano has confidence in the move as Maddox reached base twice via hit-by-pitch and walk, drove in two runs and stole a base.
"(Hitting third) is pretty easy for me if Scott (Price) gets on every single time, but it's a little bit different because you've got to be a little bit more aggressive I feel like," Maddox said. "The hardest part is just trying to stick to who I am. It's not really about changing your approach as much as situations you're going to be hitting in."
For Maddox though, he doesn't spend time dwelling on what his ultimate role will be in 2014 as his focus resides solely on his actions and work ethic on and off the field.
"Outwork everybody every day," Maddox said. "Play harder than everybody. Lead by example more than anything. For me to be as great of a player as I can be, that's the kind of guy I have to be. That's the kind of player I have to be like."
While the Diamond Vols celebrated the win in their initial test against an official opponent, nobody is satisfied or content after just one exhibition victory in late-October. With just over three months until opening day, the players recognize there is still an ample amount of work to be done in all facets of the game as the Vols strive to make the postseason for the first time since 2007.
"That game doesn't really prove anything," Price said. "That's no different than any other scrimmage we've had all fall. We've got to keep working because when we're not working, someone else is. Each player's got to make themselves as best as they can be and work on their troublesome areas to improve.
"We've all been in this for too long, and we've put in too much work to lay back now."