Vols show flawless gloves, keep perfect record with sweep of Seton Hall

Ruth Tedrick/UTADPHOTO
Tennessee pitcher Nick Blount delivers to Seton Hall during the teams' game Sunday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Ruth Tedrick/UTADPHOTO Tennessee pitcher Nick Blount delivers to Seton Hall during the teams' game Sunday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Tennessee was in need of a steady hand in defensive support, and Will Maddox stuck one out right away.

The second baseman's smooth, gloveless grab in the first inning was exactly the kind of help the Vols were looking for after a shaky couple games in the field, and it didn't take long for plenty of company to come along and chip in as well.

Starting with Maddox, UT was flashy when it needed to be and solid the rest of the time on Sunday afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium, playing error-free baseball to complement an opportunistic offense and effective pitching to complete a sweep of Seton Hall with an easy 10-2 win.

"I was fired up by (Maddox)," UT starting pitcher Nick Blount said. "I had to stay on the field and give him a high-five before I got off.

"I mean, all of a sudden he comes flying out of nowhere to make a play. That's awesome."

Blount actually increased the degree of difficulty on the early play by deflecting the chopper up the middle, and to actually make the effort count for something, Maddox also had to rely on Drew Steckenrider to dig his throw out of the dirt at first base.

But that combined effort helped set the bar for the Vols (7-0), who seemed intent on trying to top each other with athletic plays on the heels of a three-game stretch that included 11 errors.

Zach Luther showed off his arm after charging a slow-rolling ball down the line at third base, gunning down a runner to end the fourth inning.

Chris Fritts tracked down a deep drive to center field with a diving snag to end the sixth inning.

After doing some fine work on the infield, Steckenrider later moved to the outfield and did the same thing there with a sprinting play near the wall to corral a drive that could have gone for extra bases for the Pirates (2-5).

And with the Vols stringing together hits during a four-run first inning, stout defense and Blount's economic pitching were all they needed to continue the second-best start in school history.

"I think this was our best game of the year, to be honest, and I'm very proud of them for that," UT coach Dave Serrano said. "We made some incredible plays, and the tone was set by Nick Blount. He came out and looked like he had really good stuff early.

"He was in command ... I was very happy with the defense, but he set the tone for that."

Blount certainly kept his teammates busy, walking just one batter and inducing 13 ground balls for outs before leaving with a comfortable lead after six innings.

Fritts helped bring the outing to an end with his offer to the highlight reel, which provided a nice bookend for Blount after Maddox helped bail him out in the first.

"I just had to try to make a play," Maddox said. "That was my only way to make a play was to bare-hand it, and Steckenrider made an unbelievable play at first to pick it.

"We really worked hard the last couple days. We weren't making plays before for our pitcher, and we really wanted to go out there and make a statement. I feel like we did that."

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Comments » 20

jumby92 writes:

Great job!!! This is a good way to get the season started. It will get tougher as we go but these guys are really gelling as a team now that we have a real coach.

77VolFS writes:

Congrats to Coach Serrano & the 7-0 BaseVols !!

Digger writes:

It looks like Mike Hamilton made some great hires in Serrano and Coach Martin! Thanks, Mike!

77VolFS writes:

in response to Digger:

It looks like Mike Hamilton made some great hires in Serrano and Coach Martin! Thanks, Mike!

Interim AD Joan Cronan and committee hired Serrano.

FWBVol writes:

in response to 77VolFS:

Interim AD Joan Cronan and committee hired Serrano.

In fairness to Mike Hamilton, even Joan Cronan credited Hamilton with starting the process to bring Serrano on board before he stepped down. Hamilton might not have closed the deal on Serrano, but he did have a hand in the start of the process.

77VolFS writes:

in response to FWBVol:

In fairness to Mike Hamilton, even Joan Cronan credited Hamilton with starting the process to bring Serrano on board before he stepped down. Hamilton might not have closed the deal on Serrano, but he did have a hand in the start of the process.

Point well made, FWBVol. Thanks to all involved who brought us Coach Serrano - He is doing a tremendous job. It will be tough going in the top conference in the country but ya gotta love how this guy has the Vols playing.

madmax22 writes:

in response to FWBVol:

In fairness to Mike Hamilton, even Joan Cronan credited Hamilton with starting the process to bring Serrano on board before he stepped down. Hamilton might not have closed the deal on Serrano, but he did have a hand in the start of the process.

In all fairness to Mike Hamilton he could have had Dave Serrano 4 years ago, instead he opted for the biggest jerk available and brought UT fans the worst baseball (if you could even call it baseball) in Tennessee history.

THEKIDWISCONSIN writes:

Mike Hamilton deserves credit for...nothing.

His hires in the big three mens sports single handedly brought the programs down, got them in trouble w/the NCAA or both.

Let's not ruin this great story of the team starting off 7-0 by bringing up Hamilton... :)

Go BaseVOLS!

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to THEKIDWISCONSIN:

Mike Hamilton deserves credit for...nothing.

His hires in the big three mens sports single handedly brought the programs down, got them in trouble w/the NCAA or both.

Let's not ruin this great story of the team starting off 7-0 by bringing up Hamilton... :)

Go BaseVOLS!

Exactly! Anyone who would give the sneaky snake hammy credit for anything he did is just clueless to the destruction he caused.

Hammy had nothing to do with the hiring of Coach Serrano... nothing.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to madmax22:

In all fairness to Mike Hamilton he could have had Dave Serrano 4 years ago, instead he opted for the biggest jerk available and brought UT fans the worst baseball (if you could even call it baseball) in Tennessee history.

I was gonna say the same thing. He should have hired Serrano when Serrano was willing to come before. We would be making annual reservations for Omaha if he would have done so. Won't be long and we'll be doing so anyway.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

This weekend is when the rubber shall meet the road, and we'll get a good idea of where this team is. We are playing in the Houston College Classic which is held at Minute Maid park. The Houston game will be Friday @ 4:30pm on ESPN3. The Texas game will be Sat. @ 4:30pm on the B.S. Longhorn Network. The Rice game will be @ 7pm Sunday on ESPN3. Both Rice and Texas are FABULOUS programs. This is a great chance for some national pub for our BaseVols! There's NO reason to even question if we would have been in an event like this under Raliegh, because we all know we would not have. Just having Serrano alone gives us enough credibility to be in these types of events. Expect to see home and homes against teams of this caliber each season in the years to come.
...

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

On the other hand, I watched the baseball team for my 2nd time in person today. And I myself have questioned what they would do in SEC play. But I think this team is good. Yeah some of the teams they have played haven't been SEC powerhouses, several other top SEC team have played comparable teams. Except Vandy...they have started out with Stanford, Oakland,and Oregon which is actually pretty brutal. Their only win being against Oakland. They are 1-6 and just got swept at home by Oregon. Georgia is 7-0 like us and has had close games with Presbyterian (5-4) and Winthrop (2-1). South Carolina is 6-0 with 2-1 and 3-2 victories over VMI, and a 3-2 win over Elon.

Point being, we've played as good as those teams against similar competition. I don't think we will win the conference, just saying I think we are gonna do better than folks think in SEC play, JMO. The catch dude made in CF for the Vols today was just SICK. You would have had to be there. These boys are bringing their lunch pales and hard hats to work every day. Look what Bruce Pearl did with Buzz's guys. Don't underestimate what Serrano can do with Raleigh's.
.....

volfaninbuckeyeland writes:

Does anyone know what the record is for most consecutive wins to start a season?

voloffaith writes:

in response to volfaninbuckeyeland:

Does anyone know what the record is for most consecutive wins to start a season?

8-0 is best start in Vol history.

voloffaith writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

This weekend is when the rubber shall meet the road, and we'll get a good idea of where this team is. We are playing in the Houston College Classic which is held at Minute Maid park. The Houston game will be Friday @ 4:30pm on ESPN3. The Texas game will be Sat. @ 4:30pm on the B.S. Longhorn Network. The Rice game will be @ 7pm Sunday on ESPN3. Both Rice and Texas are FABULOUS programs. This is a great chance for some national pub for our BaseVols! There's NO reason to even question if we would have been in an event like this under Raliegh, because we all know we would not have. Just having Serrano alone gives us enough credibility to be in these types of events. Expect to see home and homes against teams of this caliber each season in the years to come.
...

Not attempting bubble busting, but Raliegh team played and beat Texas in Minute Maid few years back then,sad to say ,that was the seasons highlight....

Vo2Vol writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

Exactly! Anyone who would give the sneaky snake hammy credit for anything he did is just clueless to the destruction he caused.

Hammy had nothing to do with the hiring of Coach Serrano... nothing.

Great, another clueless comedian. I bet you did not say Kiffin was a bad hire while he was here and I am sure you, just like most of us, felt like Coach Pearl (or do you have another name for him too) would be here a long time. Both were good hires to most on this post until one left for a perceived better job and the other had a lapse in judgement. Neither of which came up in a job interview. Of course, you are a genius so I am sure you would have been right on top of that.

Oh yeah, the only reason that Coach Serano was not brought here during his 3rd year is because of the timing of the coaching changes within the other two sports. Of course, that would not matter to you.

arkyvol writes:

mike hamilton was to the u.t.a.d. what the bubonic plague was to europe.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Not attempting bubble busting, but Raliegh team played and beat Texas in Minute Maid few years back then,sad to say ,that was the seasons highlight....

Why did you burst my bubble man? Just kidding. I did forget about that. Just seems like the longer he was here, the weaker the competition was. Perhaps he started playing weaker non conference games thinking he could spank them. Or maybe we played good comp and I just can't remember it. After so long under Raleigh, I rarely looked at the schedule. I just expected a loss.

THEKIDWISCONSIN writes:

in response to Vo2Vol:

Great, another clueless comedian. I bet you did not say Kiffin was a bad hire while he was here and I am sure you, just like most of us, felt like Coach Pearl (or do you have another name for him too) would be here a long time. Both were good hires to most on this post until one left for a perceived better job and the other had a lapse in judgement. Neither of which came up in a job interview. Of course, you are a genius so I am sure you would have been right on top of that.

Oh yeah, the only reason that Coach Serano was not brought here during his 3rd year is because of the timing of the coaching changes within the other two sports. Of course, that would not matter to you.

Yeah, ummmm....not to be a clueless comedian but, were you around for Kiffin's one year?

That top notch recruiting class worked out well didn't it? Drawing the ire of all the other SEC coaches and the commish worked out well didn't it?

For all his in game coaching ability the guy could not stop cheating off the field.

Had Kiffin not bolted we would be in a world of hurt with the NCAA.

I never thought I'd see a Hamilton Apologist...but be still my beating heart...

volfaninbuckeyeland writes:

in response to voloffaith:

8-0 is best start in Vol history.

Thanks, vol4. I realize these wins are not coming against upper tier SEC teams, but there's nothing quite as therapeutic to a team's psyche as winning. After last year's dismal season, I would love to see these young men surpass the best start in school history and surprise the experts with the rest of the season.

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