For UT baseball, down in the dumps no more after beating Vanderbilt

Williams pitches into 9th; four doubles by Steckenrider

The outlet for frustration wasn't the same for everybody.

Nick Williams let his go three strikes at a time on the mound.

Drew Steckenrider got his in two-base chunks at the plate.

And coach Dave Serrano released some with one big win.

If the method wasn't identical across the board, each member of the Tennessee baseball team seemingly still found a way to unleash a bit of pent-up energy on Friday night. And the lifting of the weight that had built up during a seven-game skid in SEC play was clear after the Vols wrapped up their 8-2 victory over Vanderbilt at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

"I'm very proud of our guys," Serrano said. "There's no doubt, they've been down in the dumps. It's hard when you string together a lot of losses, and we needed this tonight. It couldn't have come against a better opponent, an instate team that we're fighting for a playoff berth against.

"It feels good to get in the (win) column again because it feels like it's been a long time since we've been able to do that."

The Vols (23-22, 8-14 SEC) obviously hadn't been enjoying the drought, but they had plenty to smile as they rained down on the Commodores (21-24, 9-13) in essentially every phase.

Williams turned in the finest outing of his career, fighting back from allowing a couple early runs by shutting down Vanderbilt for the rest of the evening until leaving with two outs in the ninth inning with a grueling 135 pitches and eight strikeouts to his credit.

Steckenrider broke out of his recent slump with four doubles, driv

ing in four runs to pace the offense after taking a more aggressive approach with his bat.

The rest of the lineup chipped in as well and three other Vols knocked in runs, with the improved offense combining with errorless defense to leave more than enough credit to spread around in a boisterous dugout.

"This was a huge win for us," said Williams, a graduate of Farragut High School. "We needed this. We're all having fun now. We know what it feels like to win now. We've just got to keep battling and come out tomorrow with a positive attitude. Get on these guys early and come out with a win.

"We just try to stay positive, work hard in practice and come out ready for the games and play as hard as we can. Today we showed them what we can do."

The Vols have two more chances to back it up against the Commodores, and they still can't afford to waste them even after opening up against their rivals with a feel-good victory.

UT still trails Vanderbilt by a game in the race for one of the final bids to the conference tournament, and it will still be shorthanded on the mound for the rest of the weekend. But the margin is already smaller for the Vols than it was heading into the series, and since Williams only left one out for the bullpen, the pitching staff certainly figures to benefit from his gritty performance.

"We just came out tonight and just played our game," Steckenrider said. "We played Tennessee baseball, the way we should have been playing all year. The last seven (SEC) games haven't gone our way, of course, but you can't win them all.

"We definitely turned it around — and Nick Williams helped us do that on the mound."

Williams had plenty of company elsewhere. And every last one of the Vols appeared to be enjoying the relief.

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Comments » 11

givehim6 writes:

Yes, beating Vandy just feels right! Good job guys.

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

You gotta hate it when that happens...if you're a Vanderbilt fan.

FLVOL_79 writes:

Weird, I thought Vanderbilt was supposed to be awesome at baseball..being part of the fuzzy math Vandy fans use to try and convince themselves their athletic program is somehow good.

Sir_Spanky writes:

They're the commode doors. Always have been. Always will be.

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

Baseball is a pitchers sport and Vandy threw their worst starter yesterday with an era over 5. UT still lost to Austin Peay in basketball and baseball in the same year. Hard to live that down.

Noogaorange writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

Baseball is a pitchers sport and Vandy threw their worst starter yesterday with an era over 5. UT still lost to Austin Peay in basketball and baseball in the same year. Hard to live that down.

Man I hate when you are right but.....you are right on the money. It wasn't there best pitcher and it's extremely hard to live down the year of Austin Peay! GBO

Noogaorange writes:

in response to Noogaorange:

Man I hate when you are right but.....you are right on the money. It wasn't there best pitcher and it's extremely hard to live down the year of Austin Peay! GBO

Correction:THEIR not THERE! I don't want anybody to think that maybe I was a Vandy troll because I couldn'spell. GBO

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

Baseball is a pitchers sport and Vandy threw their worst starter yesterday with an era over 5. UT still lost to Austin Peay in basketball and baseball in the same year. Hard to live that down.

Staring your worst pitcher on a Friday matchup against a major rival...one that you are fighting for a spot in Hoover on top of that. Where's the logic in that? Sounds rather dumb to me.

FLVOL_79 writes:

in response to RockyMountainVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

good ownage

CroKev writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

Baseball is a pitchers sport and Vandy threw their worst starter yesterday with an era over 5. UT still lost to Austin Peay in basketball and baseball in the same year. Hard to live that down.

Hey buddy, we just want you to know that we're here for you...

BigCatDaddy writes:

in response to Won_and_Done:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Won, nice post to these SEC ruggers, but I seriously doubt that they know what you mean because they have never had the bearings to do it themselves, you see. Pitiful.

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