Ethan Bennett built up trust with his defense.
Then the Tennessee catcher rewarded that faith from his pitcher with all the offense he would need.
At times, the battery of Bennett and starter Zack Godley looked like all the Vols might need as they opened a baseball series with Louisiana-Monroe on Friday with a 4-0 win at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
"I mean, when I go out there I try to get a link with the pitcher," Bennett said. "I tell them, 'You and me are working together, I want you to trust me and I want to trust you, so let's go out here and play baseball.'
"I thought that was really good, but really it was the team. You can't go out there and feel that comfort without the defense behind you and everybody making plays."
The Vols (10-3) had plenty of players chipping in defensively, but they never really looked at ease on offense against left-hander Randy Zeigler.
One after another, they struggled to make contact or cobble together a threat as the Warhawks (9-6) ace struck out 11 batters and largely kept the Vols out of scoring position.
That didn't matter when Bennett, a former Farragut High star, stroked a two-out delivery deep to left field to break a tie in the seventh inning, particularly since Godley never appeared to run out of gas while matching Zeigler late into the game — and going one scoreless inning longer.
"The first star of the show was Zack Godley," UT coach Dave Serrano said. "Then Ethan Bennett had a co-starring role.
"Sometimes with a catcher it gets brushed under the rug what they're doing pitch-in and pitch-out. What they're doing is just as important as the pitcher out there, and he has done a good job of throwing his body out there and blocking some really good pitches."
Yet again, the majority from Godley didn't require too much work from his backstop.
The junior threw 75 of his career-high 113 pitches for strikes, and as he's done while building a case to lead the rotation early in the season, he routinely kept the count in his favor and hitters unbalanced with a sharp change-up.
His third win of the season was still in jeopardy with the Vols scraping together only three hits through six innings. The fourth would be all Godley required, though the three runs UT tacked on in the eighth without the benefit of a hit certainly didn't hurt.
"I'm really not thinking about what (the opponent) is doing as much as looking more towards what our offense is doing," Godley said. "I mean, it puts more pressure on you at the latter part of the game when it gets down to the seventh or eighth inning and we still haven't scored any runs, but it really doesn't change anything.
"You just keep going out there and throw the pitches that you've been throwing."
They hardly ever stopped working for Godley, and aside from a one delivery that got away from Bennett, he didn't have much reason to worry if a ball did get away from him.
But if there was even a little concern about that wild pitch in the seventh, Bennett promptly made up for it.
"I can trust Godley to throw the pitch," Bennett said. "If I can get him to trust me hitting or catching or whatever, it's that one step ahead that really helps."
Really, one was all the Vols would need.