With a double-digit win streak in hand following a third consecutive weekend sweep, Tennessee head coach Dave Serrano spent the moments after Sunday's 9-4 victory over Quinnipiac discussing everything from towering home runs to detailed pitching mechanics.
He also stressed the dangers that come with accepting complacency.
"We can't win enough to ever get bored," the third-year head coach said on Sunday. "Winning feels too good.
"(This team) has a lot of ability, but we still have room to grow."
That next opportunity for additional improvement comes quicker than usual. The Volunteers (10-0) welcome in La Salle (1-9) for a two-game midweek series beginning this evening at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. First pitch for both tonight and Wednesday's game are slated for 6 p.m.
"(We're) not looking past La Salle," Serrano said. "They're the next road block in our way."
For the second time in as many weeks, the Vols garnered national attention in the college baseball rankings following a impressive weekend performance. On Monday, UT moved up nine spots in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll to No. 19 and also entered the USA Today Sports top 25 at No. 21.
"I feel like we have a lot of confidence right now," sophomore Christin Stewart said on Sunday. "Our morale's up — (we) just love coming out here and being with each other every day on the field and just having success with each other."
The La Salle series will feature two Vols pitchers returning from shoulder stiffness in first-year southpaw Hunter Martin — Tuesday's starter — (0-0, 0.00 ERA) and junior righty Bret Marks (0-0, 0.00) — who is scheduled to make his UT debut on Wednesday.
Marin tossed three scoreless innings and surrendered just one hit in Tennessee's season-opening win over Purdue, but the Murfreesboro, Tenn., freshman hasn't pitched since then.
Marks is a junior college transfer who spent his first two years at Wallace State Community College, located in Hanceville, Ala.
In his sophomore season, the Roswell, Ga., native was selected as the 2013 Alabama Community College Conference North Player of the Year after an 8-4 season that included a sub-2.00 ERA.
In 2012, Marks was named the ACCC Pitcher of the Year his freshman season, after posting an 11-5 record and a 1.74 ERA. That season he led the conference in wins, saves, strikeouts and ERA and was selected by the New York Yankees in the 22nd round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft following his freshman campaign.
Serrano said both Martin and Marks will be slowly eased back in and each will throw only two or three innings in their respective starts.
Those outings will come against a La Salle squad that enters Knoxville on a three-game losing streak following a weekend sweep at the hands of Western Carolina. The Explorers lost a wild, offensive-heavy affair on Sunday, falling to the Catamounts, 20-10.
For the season, shortstop Kevin Baron is the Explorers' top hitter (.341 average) to go along with a team-high 14 hits and six runs scored. In addition, juniors Ryan Welling and Mark Williams co-lead La Salle in RBI with five apiece.