“Scratching and clawing,” the Tennessee baseball team successfully executed two squeeze plays to beat Massachusetts 6-4 on Saturday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.
Despite striking out nine times, UT had nine hits and took advantage of four walks and two hit-batsmen. Six different Vols drove in runs.
Sophomores Parker Wormsley and Jon Manis each executed squeeze plays in the fifth inning to score two runs to break a 4-4 tie. Wormsley, a former Webb School of Knoxville standout, put down a suicide squeeze bunt, while Manis a safety squeeze.
“We executed well with the inside game, which has to become a bigger part of our game,” UT coach Dave Serrano said in a school release. “We got some hit batters, which was huge and is also a part of our offense, it is no different than getting a hit. We’ll take a win right now. We are scratching and clawing for everything we can get.”
“It was good to see the bullpen slow it down a little bit and allow our offense to get on top. To win a close game is always good right now, especially since we have lost some close games. It is important for us to go out tomorrow and win and walk away with a series win, even though it wasn’t against one opponent.”
Blake Thomas got his first victory in his Tennessee debut in relieve of starter Andy Cox. Dalton Saberhagen and Trevor Charpie also relieved. The trio worked a combined 6 1/3 innings, giving up five hits, two walks and striking out one. Charpie collected his first career save.
Wormsley and Will Maddox each had two hits.
Rich Graef had three of 13 hits for UMass (0-2).
Tennessee (4-6) will close out the USA Baseball-Irish Classic at noon against No. 25 Virginia Tech. The Vols will start freshman right-hander Aaron Quillen .