WILLIAMS, MORGAN LEAD VOLS TO 3-0 SHUTOUT AT NO. 19 GEORGIA
ATHENS, Ga. – Sophomore
Nick Williams fired six shutout innings in his first career start and
Davis Morgan launched his first home run of the year as Tennessee
shutout No. 19 Georgia, 3-0, to give head coach Dave Serrano his 300th
career win and first SEC victory on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Foley
“You forget how good winning feels,” Serrano said.
“That felt good. When you see what happens around this conference with
a lot of teams getting swept, when you can walk out of here with a win
you feel good about it. I told the team before the game that it is
never going to be easy for us. Where we are at right now, it is never
going to be easy, so let’s prepare for the toughest battle each and
every day and they did it. My hair is going to continue to fall out and
my stress level will go up, but if we can continue to feel some of
these moments I will give it all up for that.
“We are at a stage
right now where it is about mentality and I thought that (Nick) would
give us the best opportunity (to win),” Serrano said. “Never in my
wildest dreams did I think that he would go out there and give us as
many innings as he did on a hot Sunday afternoon, probably the hottest
day we have played on so far. I have to give him all the kudos in the
Williams allowed just four baserunners as he doubled his
previous career high for innings pitched with six on Sunday. The
Knoxville native yielded just a pair of singles, walked one batter and
hit another, while striking out five to match his previous high. He
retired 13 of the final 15 batters that he faced.
“It was a good
day,” Williams said. “I was just trying to go out there and help our
team battle and compete on the mound. I was just trying to win the next
pitch. I was telling myself to win the next pitch, win the next inning.”
Carter Watson came on to record the final two outs with two on and the
tying run at the plate in the bottom of the ninth to claim the first
save of his collegiate career. Nick Blount also added 1.2 scoreless out
of the bullpen while Conner Stevens and T.J. Thornton recorded one out
each to give the Big Orange its second shutout of the season.
addition to Morgan’s home run, freshman Will Maddox led the Vols at the
plate as he tallied his second three-hit contest of the weekend, going
3-for-5 with a run scored.
The win was Serrano’s 300th as a
Division I head coach as his record improved to 300-147-1 (.670) over
eight seasons at UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton and now Tennessee.
very thankful for the many coaches that have been around me for all
those years, players and my family who has been through the rigors with
me,” Serrano said. “It’s not about me, it’s about a lot of people that
have contributed to those 300 wins and I appreciate all of them.”
Vols first threatened in the third inning with three consecutive
one-out singles, but Georgia starting pitcher Michael Palazzone was
able to record a strikeout and get a call on a bang-bang play at first
to escape the bases-loaded jam.
Morgan got the Big Orange on the
scoreboard in the fourth when he followed a one-out single by Chris
Fritts by launching a fastball from Palazzone over the 370-foot marker
in left-center. It was the second home run of his UT career, both of
which have come off of Palazzone.
Tennessee added an insurance
run in the seventh when Maddox came around to score after a leadoff
single, sac bunt by Chris Pierce, a wild pitch and a balk. It marked
the fifth time this season that the Orange and White has scored a run
on a balk.
Georgia threatened in each of the three final
innings, putting two on with either no outs or just one down. Blount
buckled down in the first two instances, inducing a pair of double
plays to escape unscathed in the seventh and eighth.
bottom of the ninth, the Bulldogs got back-to-back singles to start the
stanza but Thornton came on in relief of Blount to get a huge strikeout
when he fanned pinch-hitter Justin Bryan on a curveball. Watson then
got Curt Powell to fly out to left and struck out pinch-hitter Jared
Walsh looking to end the game.
The win is UT’s first SEC victory of the year as the Vols improve to 11-8 on the season. Georgia falls to 15-6 with the loss.