In a seesawing four-game series that produced offensive outbursts, an extra-inning showdown and three one-run contests, Tennessee and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas each kicked off their 2013 campaigns in exhilarating fashion.
A little more than a year later, it's time to cue the bell for round two.
In the second leg of a home-and-home series, UT (4-0) will welcome the Rebels to Lindsey Nelson Stadium for a three-game weekend series beginning today at 5 p.m.
"This is absolutely a big test," head coach Dave Serrano said. "We had really good games with them over there last year. We lost three one-run games, so I'm glad we have them in our ballpark."
When Tennessee made last season's western trek to Las Vegas, the third-year head coach had 18 freshmen on his roster at the time. Most of those players are back as sophomores, and Serrano is anxious to see just how much growth has accumulated between then and now.
"A lot of these guys were freshman last year," Serrano said. "(The UNLV series) was the first time they were Division I baseball players. So a lot of them have grown up, and we'll see how much they have grown up (this weekend)."
Like the Vols, UNLV enters the weekend set with an unblemished record. On Sunday, they finished off an opening-series sweep of Central Michigan, and just one day later, the Rebels (4-0) cracked the Collegiate Baseball News top 30 poll at No. 29.
"UNLV's a good baseball team," Serrano said. "They've got really good pitching. The guy we're going to see Friday night is going to be a top round – maybe a first round – draft pick."
The recipient of Serrano's high praise is Rebel starting pitcher Erick Fedde (1-0, 0.00 ERA), who is currently ranked as the 17th best overall prospect according to Baseball America.
The junior hurler, who took home Mountain West Pitcher of the Week honors after striking out a career-high 11 batters in his season debut, will start opposite UT righty Nick Williams (1-0, 0.00 ERA) in tonight's series opener.
The Vols will trot out freshman Kyle Serrano (1-0, 3.60 ERA) in the second game on Saturday, and sophomore lefty Andrew Lee (1-0 1.80 ERA) will close out the weekend on Sunday.
Both contests are scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
UT began the week with a three-game sweep of Purdue and followed it up with a 5-3 win over Appalachian State on Wednesday afternoon.
For the Vols, the plan moving forward is rather simple.
"All we can do is control what we can control and let the games give us what it wants to," right fielder Scott Price said, "because I know that we can stand toe-to-toe with any other team in the country.
"We'll never be outmanned talent-wise, ever."