Digging into the batter’s box, Parker Wormsley peered into the dugout.
Locating his coach, he paused.
A slight smirk tugged at the corner of his stare.
While many hitters dream of belting towering home runs in each at-bat, that isn’t the case for Wormsley.
The Tennessee multi-purpose infielder said he takes a great deal of pride in his bunting abilities.
He was given the opportunity to showcase his cherished talent Tuesday night.
The Webb School graduate perfectly rolled an RBI sacrifice bunt down the first-base line in the eighth inning, as the rest of his Tennessee teammates adopted his small-ball mentality in a 4-0 victory over Western Kentucky at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
“That’s a huge part of my game,” Wormsley said. “I’m not a big power guy who’s going to go out there and hit home runs. When I get called upon (to bunt), I get excited and I take a lot of pride in doing that right.”
Fresh off plating 41 runs on 43 hits in UT’s weekend series against Alcorn State, the Vols utilized just six well-placed hits to down the Hilltoppers.
Western Kentucky (7-8) bested the Vols in the hit department with nine.
“They hit the ball a little harder than we did tonight,” Tennessee coach Dave Serrano said. “But we took advantage of the opportunities we needed to in order to come out on top.”
Wormsley paced Tennessee’s discreet offensive efforts, going 2-for-2 with three RBIs and a walk.
It was just Wormsley’s third start of the season.
Prior to Tuesday, Wormsley had recorded four hits in 12 plate appearances.
“Well, that’s a credit to (Wormsley) as a person and his mentality,” Serrano said. “Parker is a guy who plays sparingly and when his name gets called he’s prepared and ready to chip in and help this team.”
The Vols’ chief offensive spurt came during a three-run first inning.
With the bases loaded and two outs, freshman Christin Stewart drew an RBI walk and Wormsley drove the first pitch he saw to shallow right field to plate two more.
Tennessee registered just four hits after the first inning, including two from Stewart.
“We just got to keep on doing what we’re doing and just get hits when we need them,” Stewart said. “I mean yeah, sometimes you have big games, but you just have to put the ball in play.”
Five Tennessee pitchers combined to shut out Western Kentucky.
Freshman Trevor Bettencourt allowed six hits and struck out three over 3 2/3 innings in his first career start.
Junior Dalton Saberhagen proceeded Bettencourt with three strong innings of relief, allowing just three hits.
Riley Blevins is a freelance contributor.