KNOXVILLE, Tenn.(release) - Tennessee used a four-run second inning and junior Nick Blount recorded his sixth save in the last six games as the Volunteers waited through an extended rain delay to defeat Memphis, 6-3, in the first meeting between the two teams since 1995 on Wednesday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The victory closed out a 10-game homestand for the Vols, who went 8-2 during that stretch with wins in each of the last six contests.
Sophomore Dalton Saberhagen (3-0) picked up the win for Tennessee, allowing a run in 1.2 innings after working out of a bases-loaded, no outs jam. Memphis starting pitcher Michael Wills (1-1) suffered the loss.
Tennessee exploded for four runs on five hits in the bottom of the second, falling just a home run short of the cycle with two singles, a pair of doubles and a triple. After a quick first out, Chris Fritts laid down a perfect push bunt to reach on an infield single. Chris Pierce immediately followed with a triple to right-center to put the first run of the game on the board.
Just second later, Wes Walker made it two extra-base hits in a row with a double to the corner in right to make it 2-0 Vols. A great play by Memphis third baseman Jacob Wilson on a hard-hit ball down the line put the second out on the board, but UT was undeterred using another double, this one by Will Maddox and a run-scoring single by Zach Luther to jump ahead 4-0.
Memphis threatened to put a dent in the Tennessee lead in the top of the third, loading the bases with just one out, but Robbie Kidd buckled down to limit the damage, allowing just one run on a sacrifice fly.
After a scoreless fourth inning, rain and lightning hit in the top of the fifth, forcing a delay of one hour and 12 minutes. Play resumed with a runner on first and nobody out and Memphis promptly got a single to center. A walk then loaded the bases before a hit batter brought in a Tiger run and forced the Vols to change pitchers.
Saberhagen entered the game with the bases loaded and nobody out and delivered a huge boost for the Vols, getting a big strikeout before inducing an inning-ending 5-3 double play that kept the Vol lead at two.
His effort loomed large in the next frame as Memphis cut the UT lead to just one, scoring the first earned run of the season against Saberhagen on an RBI groundout from Keaton Aldridge that brought the tally on the scoreboard to 4-3.
The Vols tacked on an insurance run in the seventh to push the lead back to two at 5-3. Freshman pinch-hitter Jake Rowland entered the game after a one-out single by Davis Morgan. A balk moved him up to second before Rowland laced a 2-1