TEMPE, Ariz.(UT Release) - No. 19 Tennessee captured the series at No. 24 Arizona State with a 6-4 victory over the Sun Devils on Sunday afternoon. The Vols are now 14-1 overall. After dropping the Friday night series opener, 3-1, Tennessee came back to win the final two games, 6-5 on Saturday and 6-4 on Sunday.
The Vols scored three runs in the sixth inning to break a 3-3 deadlock and held on for the victory.
“[I told the team] how proud I was of them,” said head coach Dave Serrano. “There are not many teams that can come in here and win two out of three, especially when we lose a hard-fought first game. To come back and win the next two is pretty remarkable. I think we continue to prove to ourselves and to others that we are a team to be reckoned with.
“I am so proud of the resiliency and the fight of these guys. We had so many things going against us. It would have been easy for us to get frustrated and pack it in, but no, these guys are enjoying winning too much and enjoying having success with each other. A tip of the hat to our players.”
Nick Senzel went 2-for-3, drove in two runs and scored two runs. Nathaniel Maggio was 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Scott Price and Christin Stewart each had two hits as well.
Reliever Josh Peterson picked up his first victory with 2 1/3 innings out of the bullpen after Kyle Serrano went three innings, allowing just one hit, but he did give up three runs. Andy Cox gained the save with two hitless innings to close out the Sun Devils.
The Volunteers led off the sixth inning with a hit for the fifth-straight frame as Stewart rolled a double to the left field fence. UT would total three runs on four hits in the stanza to break open the tie game and take a 6-3 lead. Following Stewart's double, the Vols used singles by Maggio - his fifth hit in as many at-bats dating back to game two - Taylor Smart and Price. Arizona State reliever Nick Diamond helped UT with a bases-loaded walk issued to Senzel to bring home Smart and give UT the three-run advantage.
The Sun Devils took a two-run lead in the bottom half of the first off a RJ Ybarra home run to left. It was the All-American's first homer of the season. The Sun Devils jumped on the Vols in all three games of the series, plating two in the first inning of the opener, one in the second on Saturday and adding two in Sunday's finale.
The Vols' two freshman in the lineup stepped up in the second as Senzel singled up the middle to start the frame. Following a Vincent Jackson fly out and a walk to Stewart, Maggio ripped a RBI single into right to score his classmate and cut the deficit to 2-1. Senzel made a tremendous head-first slide at home to avoid the tag. Tennessee appeared to tie the game up on a beautifully-placed bunt by Tyler Schultz, but he was called out for batter's interference and Stewart was sent back to third base. Smart then grounded out to end the threat.
Tennessee rallied with two outs to take a 3-2 lead in the third inning. Price led off the frame with a double to right field and was singled in to tie the game at 2-2 by Senzel, marking his team-leading 15th RBI. Jackson followed with a single through the right side, advancing Senzel to third with two outs. The Vols then perfectly executed the double steal with Jackson safe at second and Senzel safe at home to take a 3-2 lead.
Serrano issued his second leadoff walk of the game to ASU speedster Johnny Sewald and it would lead to the game-tying run as Sewald stole second, advanced to third on a fly out and scored on a ground out.
An A.J. Simcox single up the middle to start the fifth marked the fourth inning in a row UT had a leadoff hit, but the sophomore was left stranded on second to keep the game level at 3-3.
The Sun Devils got a run back in the seventh inning as Ybarra picked up his fourth RBI of the game to cut the Tennessee advantage to 6-4.
Tennessee returns to action on Tuesday as the Vols travel to Middle Tennessee State (5-9), before opening SEC play at Missouri over the weekend.
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