Vols come back against Gamecocks, but not all the way back

It wasn’t just a seventh consecutive loss that darkened Dave Serrano’s mood on a gorgeous Saturday for college baseball.

As usual, the how and why of a 12-8 loss to No. 11 South Carolina at Lindsey Nelson Stadium weighed heavily on Tennessee’s second-year coach.

“The reason (the Gamecocks) go to the College World Series is because they can pitch,’’ Serrano said. “That’s why the teams I’ve been a part of have been going regular to the College World Series and regionals, is because you can pitch.

“We don’t pitch right now, and that’s the ongoing problem.’’

The Vols (13-16, 3-8 SEC) have allowed 12 or more runs in five of 11 SEC games this season.

The Gamecocks (25-7, 7-4) pounded a season-high 17 hits and never trailed after Chase Vergason yanked the sixth pitch from UT’s Nick Williams over the right-field fence.

But there was an extra twist of the knife for a coach trying to rebuild a program back to relevancy.

Chalk it up as a missed opportunity.

A five-run third inning — all the damage starting with a two-out walk issued by Williams — spotted the Gamecocks an 8-0 lead.

“We’re never gonna quit,” said UT leadoff hitter Will Maddox. “I think we’ve shown that.’’

The Vols showed it Saturday with a seven-run rally in the bottom of the third. The biggest hit among six in the inning was a base-clearing triple by freshman Vincent Jackson.

Thus Trevor Bettancourt, who had begun warming up in the bullpen trailing 8-0, came in to throw his first pitch down only 8-7.

“It felt great,’’ said Jackson.

“It was huge,’’ said Maddox, “to come back from eight-nothing.’’

Think how huge it would

have been to come all the way back and beat a national powerhouse like South Carolina.

“That,’’ said Serrano, “might have been a game we could have looked back five years from now and said, ‘That was the game that got us to where we are now.’

“But I’m still waiting for that moment to happen.’’

He’s still waiting because South Carolina extended its lead to 12-7. UT’s only response in the final six innings was a solo home run by Taylor Smart.

Adam Westmoreland (4-0) got the win with six strong innings of relief. Williams (1-2) took the loss; Bettancourt allowed four runs in four innings.

At least there is a silver lining.

Serrano flipped his rotation to save ace Zack Godley for Sunday’s 2 p.m. series finale.

“That’s the only thing that’s keeping me up right now,’’ Serrano said. “We have a good shot (Sunday) and it’s a big game for us.

“We’ve got to get over this hump.’’

Get Copyright Permissions © 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2013 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 9

vol98champ writes:

How I long for a return to the days when I could watch a complete Vol baseball game.

abnerPeabody writes:

If you want your team to be able to pitch,you need to recruit pitchers.Serrano is not getting it done here. Maybe he should go back to California and Delmonico should come back to Tennessee.Dang Mike Hamilton.

Ichabod writes:

I've watched a lot of baseball. From T-ball to the Majors, I have NEVER seen a pitcher give up 8 unanswered runs without a SINGLE visit to the mound by the Manager/Coach. Until today.....
Of course the first two Vol baserunners being thrown out at 2nd, after CONSECUTIVE STEALS, was quite a piece of game management, too.
Im not sure what they are serving up over there, but is not commitment, desire, or improvement. The whole gang seems to sleepwalk through every game. Lindsey Nelson on gameday has all the buzz of funeral parlor.
Bad, and not a bit better than we were 2 years ago. Sad.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

The program was down on talent all the way around. It's gonna take time. I'm not sure why folks don't understand this. We didn't have pitching, we didn't have hitting, we didn't have anything when he came here. He's brought in some pitching, some hitting. Just gotta get more arms. Anyone thinking the lack of talent could be replaced in a recruiting class obviously doesn't understand the situation that was awaiting Serrano when he arrived on the hill. He can't wave a magic wand and make the issues go away. Just gotta rebuild it from the ground up.

Some of you talking about firing Dave Serrano need to step back and think...logically. Who do you think you are gonna replace him with? Upon his arrival to the hill he had one of the best resumes in college baseball. Nobody was gonna come here and win quick. Again, if you fire one of the best coaches in college baseball, who are you gonna hire? You're gonna end up with another Todd Raleigh who will come in and finish our program off for good.

Keep in mind, Serrano's specialty is pitching. So I'm sure he knows that he needs arms. One positive is that the offense is light years ahead of last year. And most of the roster is freshmen. There are 18 freshman on this roster...freaking 18! Vincent Jackson will be an All American by the time he leaves here. We are gonna reign terror with the bats in the future. He WILL get the pitching fixed to go with the sticks. Just needs one or two more classes. The thing is...once he gets it rolling, we willl be good every single year.

Or we could fire him like the redneck lynch mob suggests and say bye bye to baseball FOREVER!!!

Please, give me a list of 5 LEGIT coaches WHO WOULD COME HERE if we fire Serrano.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

Legit list of replacements for Serrano please? I'm waiting....

Banner writes:

You can't find 5 good coaches that want this job. He left an easy job for this one because of the $. His former school two years later is currently ranked #4 in the country. I guess they miss him. This guy is the only head coach in the country without a college degree. I guess it would be hard to go into a prospects home and talk about the value of an education. (Which every SEC Coach uses against UT when recruiting)

I do agree it is too early to even consider a change. I'm tired of the excuses! Let's see some progress!

vorangel writes:

This team has a legitimate shot of missing the SEC Tournament. 12 of 14 teams make it! Disgraceful...
No excuses.

arkyvol writes:

Serrano is just starting one season removed from the toxic waste site hammy and his hand picked coach left us, and some people are already calling for the hook? Jeez! Reminds me of the comment by Kevin Costner in 'for love of the game'--"I can always tell when I'm in New York" Lighten up, folks.

vol98champ writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

The program was down on talent all the way around. It's gonna take time. I'm not sure why folks don't understand this. We didn't have pitching, we didn't have hitting, we didn't have anything when he came here. He's brought in some pitching, some hitting. Just gotta get more arms. Anyone thinking the lack of talent could be replaced in a recruiting class obviously doesn't understand the situation that was awaiting Serrano when he arrived on the hill. He can't wave a magic wand and make the issues go away. Just gotta rebuild it from the ground up.

Some of you talking about firing Dave Serrano need to step back and think...logically. Who do you think you are gonna replace him with? Upon his arrival to the hill he had one of the best resumes in college baseball. Nobody was gonna come here and win quick. Again, if you fire one of the best coaches in college baseball, who are you gonna hire? You're gonna end up with another Todd Raleigh who will come in and finish our program off for good.

Keep in mind, Serrano's specialty is pitching. So I'm sure he knows that he needs arms. One positive is that the offense is light years ahead of last year. And most of the roster is freshmen. There are 18 freshman on this roster...freaking 18! Vincent Jackson will be an All American by the time he leaves here. We are gonna reign terror with the bats in the future. He WILL get the pitching fixed to go with the sticks. Just needs one or two more classes. The thing is...once he gets it rolling, we willl be good every single year.

Or we could fire him like the redneck lynch mob suggests and say bye bye to baseball FOREVER!!!

Please, give me a list of 5 LEGIT coaches WHO WOULD COME HERE if we fire Serrano.

Totally agree with everything you wrote. Maybe I'll be able to watch more than 2 innings in a couple of years.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features