In the clubhouse, it’s simply called a “dose.”
And these “doses” have slowly become a staple in Tennessee’s offense.
The process to get one is simple enough — turn your back and lean toward the plate.
To others, it may be called getting hit by a pitch or beaned.
But to Tennessee baseball coach Dave Serrano, they’re known as “rally starters.”
Wednesday night, Christin Stewart called it a way to win the game.
With the score tied and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning, Stewart leaned in, taking a pitch off his right arm to bring home the game-winning run.
Trotting down the first-base line gingerly rubbing his welt, Stewart was swarmed by his teammates to cap a 5-4 victory over Western Kentucky (7-9) at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Tennessee (9-7) has won five consecutive games heading into SEC play against Alabama on Friday.
“Whatever gets the job done,” Stewart said. “A win’s a win.”
Tennessee set a school record last season by taking 92 doses. They’re off to a similar start this season.
During the past eight games, the Vols have been hit by pitches 21 times.
Three Tennessee batters were hit Wednesday.
“It’s no different than getting a base hit. We’re not going to try to get intentionally hit, but we’re not going to get out of the way of a pitch,” Serrano said. “It takes a certain mindset.”
That mindset saved the Vols from what could have otherwise been an unsightly loss in the second of a two-game, mid-week series against the Hilltoppers.
But Western Kentucky was equally sloppy, tallying four fielding errors.
The most costly of which was a botched grounder to open the bottom of the 10th that allowed Parker Wormsley to reach base. Wormsley scored to even the score at 4-4 on a Taylor Smart bunt.
Will Maddox followed by beating out a potential double-play throw at first and Zach Luther was intentionally walked to load the bases for Stewart.
“We overcame ourselves,” Serrano said. “But we’ll take it.”
UT had base runners picked off in a span of three consecutive innings in the seventh, eighth and ninth.
The Vols also left 15 runners on base.
“That game could have been a lot easier for us,” Serrano said.
While errors in the base paths, field and batter’s box were plentiful, the game certainty looked easy for Tennessee starter Andy Cox.
Cox breezed through four innings, surrendering no runs and just four hits.
Following Cox, five pitchers combined to allow four runs and nine hits.
“I’m really proud of how (Cox is) growing up,” Serrano said.
With the score tied at 2-2 in the sixth, Vance Vizcaino awarded the Vols a lead as he reached on a walk and was brought home following three straight wild pitches.
Maddox started the Tennessee scoring in the first, stealing home on a pick-off throw to first.