The thermometer read 43 degrees. A fine mist was trying to fall as the few spectators came out from under their blankets to find their car keys.
Yet the song by U2 blaring from Lindsey Nelson Stadium’s public address system proclaimed over and over, “It’s a beautiful day. It’s a beautiful day.’’
In its own way, it had been.
Zack Godley pitched Tennessee’s first complete-game shutout since 2006 as the Vols claimed their first Friday night win of the year, 4-0, over Missouri.
“I’m very proud of Zack,’’ said UT coach Dave Serrano, “because I know he’s worked extremely hard to have a complete game and he finally got one tonight.’’
The first meeting ever between Tennessee and Missouri on a baseball field was decided in the first inning, when the Vols bunched three of their six hits for a 3-0 lead.
The rest was up to senior right-hander Godley (2-2) and UT’s defense.
Both were up to the
task. The Vols got their only error — by shortstop A.J. Simcox — out of the way on Missouri’s leadoff batter and the outfield produced several running, diving catches.
“I’m glad coach extended my pitch count a little bit and let me go all nine,’’ Godley said.
“I know I didn’t show I deserved it tonight because I walked way too many guys.’’
He walked five and allowed five hits. Only one Missouri runner reached third base and two others touched second.
The complete game could continue to pay dividends today.
The Vols (12-9, 2-2 SEC) and Tigers (7-11, 1-3) reset the series to end in a 1 p.m. doubleheader, due to Sunday’s forecast for inclement weather.
“That bodes well for us,’’ said Serrano. “They had to use three guys (pitchers) and we had to use one.’’
The one didn’t have complete command of his fastball, but his curveball and changeup made up the difference.
“He competed,’’ said center fielder Pierce Bily, who accounted for half of UT’s hits, “and found a way to win the game.’’
The Vols’ bats competed in the first against Missouri starter Rob Zastryzny (1-4).
No surprise there. Tennessee has scored in the first in 17 of 21 games.
“Anytime our leadoff guy gets on, especially when it’s Will Maddox, we seem to score,’’ said Serrano.
Bingo. Maddox opened with a walk, then scored on Scott Price’s single. Bily’s two-out single drove in two more for a 3-0 lead.
That’s how it stayed until the eighth when Parker Wormsley’s sacrifice bunt scored Taylor Smart.
Mike Strange may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at Strangemike44.