LAS VEGAS, Nev. (release) -- The Tennessee baseball team (1-1) rattled off eight unanswered runs to overcome an early deficit and claim its first win of the 2013 season, downing UNLV, 8-3, in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday at Earl E. Wilson Stadium in Las Vegas.
One of seven true freshmen in the starting lineup for UT, southpaw Andy Cox picked up his first career win in his collegiate debut, throwing four of the game’s seven innings in which he allowed just two earned runs while striking out two.
Another first-year Vol, freshman Trevor Bettencourt finished out the contest, fanning four of the 11 batters he faced over the final three frames for his first career save.
Four different Tennessee players posted two-hit performances at the plate, including freshman Vance Vizcaino who was 2-for-3 with a walk, two RBIs and a run scored.
Also helping the team pound out 11 hits in the contest were sophomore Will Maddox and juniors Scott Price and Taylor Smart who each had two hits. For Price, he is now hitting .778 through the first two games of the season after going 5-for-5 last night.
The Rebels jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead through two innings but much like Friday night’s season opener, the Vols refused to go out without a fight.
Tennessee got the comeback started in the third, with Price knocking Maddox in from second with an RBI single into right field. It was the next inning in which the Tennessee offense exploded though.
Back-to-back singles by Andrew Lee and Taylor Smart started the frame off, followed by consecutive walks to Stewart and Vizcaino, the second of which brought in UT’s second run of the game. Although the next two Vols were retired, another run crossed the plate on an RBI groundout by Vincent Jackson.
An odd play on a wild pitch then gave Tennessee the lead as a pitch got away from the catcher and Stewart scored from third. In the process of trying to retire him at the plate, an errant throw then allowed Vizcaino to come racing in all the way from second.
Now leading 5-3, the Big Orange continued to apply the pressure in the fifth, plating three more runs. A throwing error to start the inning gave the Vols a runner on second with nobody out. Smart then pulled a bouncing single into left for his first RBI at UT.
Freshman Christin Stewart put two runners on with a base knock of his own before Vizcaino drove Smart in with his second hit of the game. UT’s final run of the game came just moments later thanks to a balk with a runner at third.
From there, Bettencourt did the rest of the work, holding the Rebels to just two baserunners over the final three innings for the save and giving Tennessee its first win of the season.
The nightcap of today’s doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 6:55 p.m. ET/3:55 p.m. PT. Freshman right-hander Matt Esparza will start for the Big Orange.