The UT baseball team lost its first series of the season this weekend, talking only 1 of 3 games from the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks.
The weekend got off to a good start for the Vols as they defeated the Warhawks in a 4-0 pitchers dual. Tennessee was led by a masterful performance on the mound from Junior Zack Godley. He threw 8 innings of 3 hit baseball, striking out 10 ULM batters and only walking 2.
Warhawk pitcher Randy Zeigler also pitched very well in the game. He allowed only 4 hits and struck out 11 in 7 innings of pitching. He allowed 2 runs (1 earned), however, and that was all it took for him to be given his 2nd loss of the season.
The two teams were locked at 0-0 for the first 6 and a half innings, but Ethan Bennett broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the 7th with a solo home run to left field. That one run turned out to be all the Vols would need, even though they added 3 more insurance runs in the bottom of the 8th. Zack Godley improved his record to 3-0 on the season with the win.
The Vols played in their 4th extra-inning game of the season on Saturday, but they fell in the 10th inning losing to ULM 8-6.
Nick Blount was on the hill for Tennessee and he delivered yet another shaky performance. At times he seemed nearly un-hittable, but at other times nothing seemed to be working for the 6-6 Junior. He pitched 5 innings, giving up 6 hits, 2 walks, 6 runs, and striking out 4 batters.
Drew Steckenrider took the mound in the 6th inning and pitched all the way though the 9th giving up only 1 hit and striking out 7 Warhawk batters.
Nick Williams came on to pitch for the Vols in the 10th, and he struggled mightily. He allowed 3 hits and 2 runs (1 earned), and left the game with his 2nd loss of the season.
The ULM pitching staff also had its fair share of struggles on Saturday. Starting pitcher Andrew Richardson was only able to pitch 3 innings before he was pulled, he gave up 3 hits and 3 runs while walking 3 Volunteers with no strikeouts.
Kendall Thamm came in and pitched 4.1 innings of 5 hit, 2 run baseball. He walked 1 batter and struck out 3.
Wil Browning was awarded with the win for ULM, he allowed 1 hit and 1 run (unearned) while striking out 1 in 2.2 innings.
The Warhawks were energized on offense by Senior Joey Rapp. He homered in the 4th to bring in 2 runs, and he singled in 10th to bring in the go-ahead run. He also added another single as he finished the night 3-5 with 3 runs and 3 RBI.
The Vols were unable to end the weekend on a high note as they lost again to Louisiana-Monroe 7-4.
Robbie Kidd made his first start of the season for Tennessee, although his appearance was very short. He went only 2/3 of an inning, giving up 4 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks, and Coach Serrano proceeded to empty out his bullpen for the remainder of the game.
Conner Stevens pitched fairly well going 3.1 innings and giving up no hits and no runs while walking 2 Warhawk batters. Eric Martin and T.J. Thornton each threw an inning of no-hit and no-run ball, before Hunter Daniel came on to pitch in the 7th. He allowed 3 runs on 3 hits and a walk in only 2/3 of an inning. This gave ULM a 7-4 lead, which they would never relinquish. Dalton Saberhagen and Carter Watson finished the game off for the Vols. Saberhagen struck out 1 while allowing no hits and no runs in an inning, while Watson struck out two while allowing no runs and no hits in 1.1 innings.
Louisiana-Monroe’s starter, Fraser Adams, did not fare any better than Robbie Kidd did for the Vols. He gave up 2 runs on 4 hits in just 1/3 of an inning for the Warhawks. They were saved, however, by an excellent performance from their usual Sunday starter, Cale Wine. He nearly threw a complete game, pitching 8.2 innings of 5-hit 2-run ball. He only walked 1 Volunteer batter while striking out 5.
ULM was lead by 2 RBI performances from third-baseman Judd Edwards, center-fielder Brandon Alexander, and catcher Logan Fiasco. Taylor Abdalla also tallied an RBI for the Warhawks.
One exciting bit of news for the Volunteers was the performance of Will Maddox. He was 2-5 on the day and he extended his hit streak to a modest 8 games. Zach Osborne, Drew Steckenrider, Jared Allen, and Ethan Bennett all produced an RBI apiece for the Vols.
It was the first disappointing weekend for the Vols as their record dropped to 10-5 overall. With that said, ULM has a very good baseball team so losing the series was not a great surprise.
Tennessee has an opportunity to head into SEC play on a high note as they take on Tennessee Tech on Tuesday, March 13th at Lindsay-Nelson Stadium. The game starts at 7 and will be televised on Fox Sports South or Fox Sports Tennessee. I encourage you to tune in and watch the Vols in their last “tune-up” game before they head to Athens this weekend to begin SEC play with a series against Georgia.