It was a pretty simple formula for the Tennessee baseball team on Friday against Seton Hall: solid hitting, solid pitching, a few runs here and a few runs there.
The math added up, and the Vols knocked off the Pirates 9-2 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in the series opener.
Freshman right-hander Robbie Kidd (1-0, 1.93 ERA) earned the win in 4 1-3 innings of relief. He pitched four innings of no-hit ball, before giving up a hit and an earned run, and getting pulled in the eighth.
Kidd made just his third appearance after starter Drew Steckenrider quickly saw his pitch count shoot up to 76.
"When (UT coach Dave) Serrano told me to go down there (to the bullpen) I wasn't surprised at all, I was ready to go," Kidd said.
Even with his slider not working, Kidd tried to keep it "really simple."
"I thought Robbie settled in, allowed our offense to get in sync, and really was the savior of this game," Serrano said.
Six players scored, and five Vols each had at least two hits as the team tallied 15 hits, while Seton Hall (2-3), the reigning Big East tournament champions, only got six. On a cold, windy evening, Tennessee (5-0) relied on infield hits for production.
"Yeah, everyone gets excited for the ball to go over the fence, but maybe we don't have that capability all the time," Serrano said. "So we're going to have to scratch and claw for everything we're going to get."
With the game tied 1-1 after three innings, UT put up at least one run in every inning after.
"These coaches really praise winning every inning," said third baseman Zach Luther (2-for-3, run, RBI). "They put up a lot of zeros and we put up a lot of runs — one or two each inning — and that's what you need."
Chris Pierce led Tennessee with a 3-for-4 night to go along with three runs.
Steckenrider's offense wasn't failing; he was 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs. The 6-foot-5 junior, who was named SEC Player of the Week after last weekend, is now 8-for-13 through five games.
Serrano became the first Tennessee coach to reach the 5-0 mark in his first season, and it's the sixth such start in program history for a team that's missed out on the postseason the past four years.
"We want to surprise people," Kidd said. "We like it when people don't expect us to do anything. We like turning heads."