KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (release) -- Freshman southpaw Drake Owenby fired four shutout innings out of the bullpen and fellow classmate David Houser was 3-for-4 at the plate as Tennessee evened its series against No. 20 Arizona State with an 11-2 victory at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
"Different day, different result and that's the way I look at it,” UT head coach Dave Serrano said. “A lot of people can get really amped up and I'm excited for our program and our team that we won this game but I think the next step is to win the series and that's tomorrow. We go into every series, no matter who's playing, thinking about a sweep, and once that's taken away from us we think about winning the series. We're going to have to do that the hard way losing the first game, but I'm proud of the way we responded to last night's game.
“There was some frustration at the plate [last night], and obviously Trevor Williams had a lot to do with that, but I thought we came out and swung the bats well. [Aaron] Quillen got off to a little bit of a rocky start but he minimized some innings which kept us in the game and I thought Owenby against that left-handed line up really settled them down a little bit to be able to give the ball to Eric [Martin] with a big lead late in the game."
The Vols scored in five of the eight innings in which they went to the plate, including a five-run outburst in the fifth. Both Pierce Bily and Will Maddox had run-scoring singles in that stanza.
Maddox finished the contest 2-for-3 with two runs scored, two RBIs and a walk, in addition to reaching on a hit-by-pitch. Bily reached base in four of his five plate appearances, adding two walks and an HBP of his own, and coming around to score three times. The only time he didn’t reach base was on a safety squeeze that drove in the eventual game-winning run.
On the mound, Owenby came out of the bullpen to earn his first collegiate victory, striking out two and working around a pair of hits and four walks to post four shutout innings. He came on in relief of starting pitcher Aaron Quillen who yielded two runs on five hits over three innings of work. Eric Martin closed out the game, striking out two and allowing just one hit in two scoreless frames.
Both teams were able to get on the scoreboard early, trading tallies in each of the first four frames to put the game at a 2-2 deadlock after two innings. The Vols then scored nine unanswered runs with two in the third, a five-run fifth and two more in the seventh.
The Orange and White broke the tie by forcing the action in the third, as Bily laid down a perfectly-executed safety squeeze to bring A.J. Simcox in from third. Houser the followed with an RBI single through the left side of the infield to put UT up 4-2.
The big blow came in the fifth when Tennessee tacked on five more runs to make it a 9-2 game. Once again, it was Bily doing the damage, lacing a 1-0 fastball right back up the middle to bring Simcox around to score once again. After a run-scoring wild pitch, Maddox brought home two more Vols with a two-out, two-strike single. He would advance to second on the play as the throw from the outfield went to the plate before making his way to home just moments later on an error by the ASU shortstop.
The Big Orange added two more insurance runs in the seventh thanks to another two-out, two-RBI single, this one by Scott Price.
The win is UT’s first over a ranked team this season after defeating five different ranked squads in Serrano’s first season at Rocky Top last year.
The rubber match between the Vols and Sun Devils is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday. The Big Orange will send freshman southpaw Andy Cox (1-0, 4.50) to the mound while Arizona State will counter with a lefty of its own in Ryan Kellogg (1-0, 0.00).
Live video streaming of the series finale will be available for free at UTSports.com/AllAccess with Brian Rice and Evan Ellis on the call.