KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – 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. 22 Arizona State with an 11-2 victory Saturday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
“Different day, different result and that’s the way I look at it,” Tennessee 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 [Sunday]. 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 [Friday] night’s game.”
Arizona State beat Tennessee in the series opener 4-0 behind eight strikeouts in seven innings from right-hander Trevor Williams.
“There was some frustration at the plate [Friday 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 lineup 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 (2-4) scored in five of the eight innings in which they went to the plate Saturday, 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 scored 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 (1-0) struck out two and worked around a pair of hits and four walks. He came on in relief of starting pitcher Quillen, who yielded two runs on five hits in three innings of work. 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 half-innings to put the game at a 2-2 deadlock after two innings. The Vols then scored nine unanswered runs with two in the third, the five-run fifth and two more in the seventh.
The Vols broke the tie by forcing the action in the third, as Bily laid down a perfectly executed safety squeeze to bring in A.J. Simcox. Houser followed with an RBI single through the left side of the infield to put Tennessee 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.
Tennessee added two more insurance runs in the seventh thanks to another two-out, two-RBI single, this one by Scott Price.
The win marked Tennessee’s first against a ranked team this season after defeating five different ranked squads in Serrano’s first season as head coach last year.
Left-hander Adam McCreery (0-1) took his first career loss after he gave up five runs, including four earned, on six hits in 4.1 innings for Arizona State (3-2).