The prospect of playing a day game after a late-night contest is enough to make many ballplayers cringe.

That is, unless an abundance of energy and excitement is still flowing from a dramatic, walk-off finish that occurred the evening before.

"You're on the brink of maybe some negative stuff happening, and then — all of a sudden — something good happens," head coach Dave Serrano said.

"It turns everything around."

And, just a mere 15 hours after Nathaniel Maggio's game-winning single gave the Volunteers baseball squad a monumental comeback win over No. 7 Vanderbilt late Saturday night, No. 25 Tennessee returned to Lindsey Nelson Stadium and thrashed the Commodores, 7-0, in the weekend finale Sunday afternoon.

But more on Maggio's heroics later.

Right now, it's about the overall impact of a much-needed SEC series victory over an in-state rival.

"I've been waiting a long time for a defining moment, and I think beating Vanderbilt here at home is a defining moment," Serrano said. "We had an opportunity last weekend against South Carolina, and it got yanked from us. It was beautiful how the schedule was set up that we got another great opponent in Vanderbilt — a highly-ranked team.

"And to beat them two out of three after losing the first game is a tip of the hat to our players."

Sunday's victory gave the Vols (21-9, 5-7 SEC) their first series win over Vanderbilt (25-8, 6-6) since 2010 and the first nine-inning shutout of the Commodores since March 3, 1985.

But unlike the Game Two thriller, the Vols eliminated any drama in the early innings on Sunday, scoring four times in the first three frames.

In the second, Serrano squad took advantage of a handful of Vanderbilt miscues, scoring twice with the help of two wild pitches and a catcher's interference.

One inning later, the Vols pushed across another pair — this time with a more offensive prowess. Center fielder Derek Lance — who finished the series 3-for-7 with five RBI — launched a home run into the left field porch seats to open the third, and three batters later, Scott Price tripled home A.J. Simcox to give UT an instant 4-0 advantage.

That provided more than enough support for Kyle Serrano (3-1, 4.68 ERA), who worked 5 1/3 scoreless frames, allowing only two hits with four walks and three strikeouts.

"I got into some deep counts a lot and ended up coming back which is always good," Kyle Serrano said. "I've got to work on just getting ahead and staying ahead of guys.

"But it was a step forward. I was up and down early (in the season), and I had to battle through some stuff. I thought it was step forward definitely."

The impact of the freshman hurler, who was penciled into the weekend rotation for the first time since March 9 at Arizona State, trickled down the ranks of his teammate.

"It's great having him come out and have success," left fielder Christin Stewart said. "He's a young guy. He just keeps building his confidence each time he goes out there and does well. We're just looking forward and hoping that he just grows and does well for us."

In the fifth, it was Stewart who crushed any fleeting hope of a Commodore rally by putting the final emphatic stamp on the series victory. With Simcox and Senzel both in scoring position, the sophomore outfielder laced a RBI triple down the right field that plated two and gave UT a 6-0 advantage.

"He left something up," the left-handed hitting Stewart said. "I was looking for something elevated — less than two outs just trying to get your job done and bring in a run."

Just one day earlier, it was another UT southpaw swinger who provided a modest breakdown of a game-changing moment.

Following his walk-off hit in the Vols' 10-9 win on Saturday, Maggio kept it simple.

"I just got a good pitch to hit and drove it to left," the freshman first baseman said on Saturday. "Fastball low and out. I just hit it hard."

Maggio, who was hitting .074 in his last 27 at-bats before the game-winner, didn't start Saturday's contest but entered in the ninth as a defensive replacement.

His heroics capped off a wild Game Two that saw the Commodores jump out to a 5-2 lead, UT respond with a six-run fourth only to have Vanderbilt answer with four runs in the top of the fifth.

Toss in a combined eight errors between the two squads, and Dave Serrano's postgame comments were rather fitting.

"This was one of the wildest games I've ever been a part of," the third-year head coach said on Saturday. "There were a lot of great things that happened. There were a lot of really bad things that happened.

Something like tonight, hopefully I'll look back years from now and say that on April 5, 2014, an ugly, but great victory over Vanderbilt was the turning point. I know it's just one game and I'm not trying to play it up bigger than it is, but we needed that at this time."

That because, on Friday, the Vols found themselves with an early lead, but couldn't hold on as they dropped the series opener 6-4.

Despite coming into Friday's game having scored just one run in their last 23 innings, the Vols hardly looked like a squad sporting that sort of offensive deficiency early on.

Third baseman Taylor Smart who came into the series hitting .370 (10-for-27) in his last ten games, roped a run-scoring double to left-center that cleared the bases and gave the Vols and early 3-0 advantage.

"That's a good feeling — especially for the team," Smart said on Friday. "Everybody's fired up — the fans were into it. It was a good inning for us.

"I just wanna see us string some more of those types of innings together."

Smart's plea became necessary because after the initial scoring spurt, Vanderbilt junior ace Tyler Beede (5-3, 2.81) stifled the Vols' offense, limiting Serrano's squad to just two hits and four baserunners in the final eight innings.

Overall, Beede, a former MLB first-round draft pick and 2013 USA Baseball national team participant, surrendered four runs and five hits with a pair of walks and six strikeouts in eight innings of work.

"Beede's a good pitcher," Smart said on Friday. "There's no doubt about that. He got picked in the first round (of the Major League Baseball draft) out of high school. That's one of the best pitchers in the country. But, you know, anybody can be beaten any day. You've just got to put good swings on the ball and hunt a pitch, and good things can happen."