The No. 21 Tennessee Volunteers opened its three-game series against Georgia with a 5-3 win over the Bulldogs Thursday night at Foley Field in Athens, Ga.
UT (23-9, 6-7 SEC) banged out 11 hits and extended its winning streak to four games, including three straight victories inside the conference.
The third inning proved to be the pivotal frame for Dave Serrano's squad as the Vols scored all five runs off Bulldog starter Jared Cheek (5-4), sending eight men to the plate in the inning.
Third baseman Will Maddox, shortstop A.J. Simcox and right fielder Scott opened the frame with three consecutive singles to load the bases with nobody out.
Back-to-back RBI hits followed for the Vols as Nick Senzel plated one with a single, and Christin Stewart brought home two more with a run-scoring double to right.
One batter later, Senzel scored on a Taylor Smart RBI groundout, and Stewart crossed home as well on a sacrifice fly from Nathaniel Maggio.
That offensive showing proved enough for UT starter Nick Williams (4-3, 2.60 ERA), who tossed five innings, allowing four hits and three runs (one earned) with two walks and five strikeouts.
Williams' only blemish came in the fifth inning, when UGA (19-14-1, 5-7-1) scored all three of its runs. The Bulldogs pushed across its first run with a sacrifice fly and its second via a throwing error. UGA's final run of the night came two batters later on an RBI single.
After Williams exited, the Vols' bullpen again answered the call, surrendering only one hit over the final four innings.
Sophomore workhorse Andy Cox delivered three shutout frames of middle relief, and righty Andrew Lee produced a scoreless ninth for his first save of his UT career.
The Vols return to action tonight at 7 p.m. in Game Two of the series against the Bulldogs. UT will send freshman Hunter Martin (2-1, 2.33) to the hill opposite UGA starter Ryan Lawlor (2-2, 3.95).