UT Baseball: Vols Take Down Hilltoppers In 13 innings


The Tennessee Vols (4-0) kicked off against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (1-3) Tuesday in a hard fought battle at Lindsey Nelson Stadium that went 13 innings.

However, the Vols were able to hold off the Hilltoppers and remain unbeaten with an 8-7 victory.

“That was one of those games where we did everything possible not to win the game, they did everything possible to win the game, and all we did was win the game,” said Coach Dave Serrano.

Western Kentucky started off with a bang as their leading base stealer from a season ago reached base on an error and scored on a wild pitch, putting the Hilltoppers up 1-0.

This was the first time the Vols have trailed all season. This also snapped the streak of 20-consecutive innings with a base runner for the Vols.

Tennessee loaded the bases in the bottom of the 2nd when  Ethan Bennett brought home two with an RBI double. Richard Carter followed suit with a fielder’s choice groundout that brought in a run and sent the Vols up 3-2.

David Horne ended his day after 2 innings as he notched one earned run and three hits. Junior Nick Blount replaced Horne in the top of the 3rd.

Solid pitching from both sides continued until the 5th inning when Drew Steckenrider launched an opposite field HR for the Vols to left field putting them up 4-2.

Later in the inning the Hilltoppers managed two walks, a hit by pitch, and a wild-pitch led to another run and put the Vols up 5-2 at the end of five.

Jordan Cosena put the Hilltoppers back in contention with a solo homerun to left to lead off the 7th inning pulling the score to 5-3. This Vols then self-destructed, allowing three errors, four runs, and the Hilltoppers took the lead 6-5.

The Vols struggled to fight back but rallied in the bottom of the 9th with two singles and a sac-fly from Chris Pierce to even the score at 6 all and send the game to extra innings.

Tennessee remained steady but walked in a run for the Hilltoppers in the top of the 12th to give Western Kentucky a 7-6 lead.

All hope seemed lost until Wes Walker, a pinch hitter, had an RBI single to right to tie the game up at 7 all. From there the Vols finally broke through as Davis Morgan had a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 13th gave the Vols the victory.

“I just want to continue to stress this, let’s be excited about how we battled tonight, but remember that we still have a lot of work to do,” said Serrano.

This was the longest game in Vols Baseball history as it totaled 4 hours and 48 minutes. The previous mark was when the Vols faced off against Morehead State on February 26th, 1989.

Coach Dave Serrano also became the first coach in UT Baseball history to start his career 4-0 in 101 years.

The Vols take on Seton Hall this weekend in a 3-game series here at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The games are scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m.