All that good stuff you heard about Tennessee's baseball team in the preseason was on display Sunday.
The Vols completed a three-game sweep of Xavier with a 17-1 victory in front of 1,732 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
UT (3-0) had 13 hits, and four pitchers limited the Musketeers (0-3) to four hits.
"Obviously to get the sweep is outstanding," UT coach Todd Raleigh said. "We played a great game all the way around."
UT will need that type of performance next week in a three-game series at Oregon State. The Beavers are ranked as high as No. 10 in preseason polls.
"I think it will prepare us for SEC play because they're a team that's won two national championships in the last four years," Raleigh said. "It's good for us. I think this was good for us to open the weekend, too. I'm excited about (the Oregon State series) and look forward to the challenge. I think we'll learn a lot about our team next week."
Senior right-hander Stephen McCray (1-0) went the first 5 1/3 innings. He gave up three hits and one run - a fifth-inning homer by Phil Bauer - with one walk and one strikeout.
"I felt good," McCray said. "I was able to change speeds well and keep the ball down, sort of keep the hitters off balance, moving the ball around and just relying on the movement of the ball and getting a lot of ground balls and letting my defense play behind me. I think you saw how good they are behind me today."
The Vols gave McCray a 3-0 lead in the first.
After that, McCray kept the Musketeers quiet with the help of a new pitch in his repertoire, a cut fastball. Of the 16 outs recorded by McCray, 12 were by ground balls.
McCray ended the second inning with a 5-4-3 double play. In the third, McCray retired Bauer on a ground out and got the next two batters on ground balls up the middle that were fielded by shortstop Zach Osborne for outs.
"I think we have one of the best infields in the country," McCray said.
UT left fielder P.J. Polk went 3-for-4 as his on-base percentage (.750) and batting average (.750) soared. Polk, batting leadoff, has reached base in 12 of his 16 plate appearances. He was picked off second base and caught stealing.
"It's kind of like in basketball, they say shooters shoot, even if they're not hot," Polk said. "It's part of the game. I'm not going to let that get me down. I'm just going to keep running."
Notebook: In the sixth, Charley Thurber hit UT's first pinch-hit grand slam since 2003. . . . Raleigh said first baseman Cody Hawn is day-to-day with a shoulder injury. . . . UT's 40 runs was the most in a three-game series since it scored 47 in 2005 against Radford.
Dave Link is a freelance contributor.