Sunday was a day of firsts for the Vols.
In the third and final contest of the Vols’ (11-8) SEC opening series against the No. 19 ranked Georgia Bulldogs (15-6), Knoxville native Nick Williams recorded his first win in his first career start, senior Davis Morgan hit his first homerun of the season, and the Vols earned their first SEC victory of the 2012 campaign.
"You forget how good winning feels," coach Dave 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. We are at a stage right now where it is about mentality and I thought that [Nick] would give us the best opportunity. 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 world."
In a Sunday win that earned Serrano his 300th of his career, Williams was stellar. Williams dealt six innings of shutout baseball, allowing only four base runners off of two scattered singles leading the Vols to a 3-0 victory.
Unfortunately, William’s sensational pitching performance was the only high point for Tennessee starters’ over the weekend.
Nick Blount and Zack Godley got the start on Friday [0-4 UT loss] and Saturday [5-10 UT loss] in what resulted in a weekend that saw Vol pitchers give up 31 hits.
Godley suffered his first career loss on Saturday in a dismal four frames of work that allowed a season-high seven runs off of 10 hits.
However, it was not all Georgia in the Vol’s Saturday 9-7 loss.
UT jumped out to an early 5-1 lead in the contest, scoring five runs in three innings. But, the No. 19 Bulldogs proved too much for the Vols, scoring nine unanswered runs, including five in the fourth inning alone, to survive a 10-5 UGA victory.
“They made us pay for some pitches up in the zone and they were aggressive,” Serrano said. “We become more passive. You saw a tale of two teams today. You saw a team that came out aggressive early when things were going well and then as soon as things started going bad we became passive. Those are things that, as a coaching staff, we are searching for the answers to and we will find the answer."
The Vol’s Friday 4-0 loss was hindered with the same story of lack of offensive production. UT out-hit the Bulldogs nine-to-seven but could not force a single run across the plate.
"[Friday] we had some quality at-bats and then some bad at-bats, or we started the inning with bad at-bats and then had quality at-bats," Serrano said. "We just didn't string them together long enough. Disappointed, very disappointed. I will never accept losing, but we gave ourselves a chance to be in the game and we kept them at bay.”
On the other hand, the weekend’s series saw an offensive outbreak from senior first basemen Davis Morgan.
Over the weekend Morgan went six-for-eleven bringing home a team leading three runs, including his first career three-hit effort on Friday.
Tennessee will return home to Knoxville to open a 10-game homestead opened by a 7 p.m. contest against Florida International on Wednesday, March 21.