KNOXVILLE -- When Nick Blount makes the run from the bullpen along the right-field line at Lindsey Nelson Stadium, it's a good sign for Tennessee's baseball team.
Fortunately for the Volunteers, Blount was a busy pitcher this week.
The 6-foot-6 right-handed closer earned three saves over the weekend as UT swept a three-game series against visiting Alabama with two wins on Sunday. It's the Vols' SEC sweep since 2010 and first home SEC sweep since 2008.
"That was pretty special," first-year UT coach Dave Serrano said Sunday. "I am very proud of our guys. It wasn't an easy week by any stretch of the imagination, but we came out 5-0. I am proud of how we have continued to overcome adversity and weather and find a way to get it done."
The Vols (18-10, 5-4 SEC) won all five games last week after sweeping a pair of midweek games against Mississippi Valley State. Blount, a former starter, closed out each of those. After entering the season with just one career save, Blount is now tied for eighth on the program's career saves list with seven.
Alabama (9-19, 1-8) led Friday's game 6-0 in the third inning before UT stormed with four-run third and eighth innings in a 10-8 win. Freshman second baseman and leadoff hitter Will Maddox hit his first career home run and drove in four runs. Ethan Bennett homered, Chris Pierce stole home in the sixth and the Vols scored the winning runs on consecutive wild pitches.
Hail and strong rain suspended Saturday's game in the sixth, though UT did all it needed to do in the 4-2 win with a four-run fourth on Saturday. Pierce's two-run single gave the Vols the lead, Drew Steckenrider pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings to pick up the win.
Zach Osborne was the hero of Sunday's seven-inning finale, as the senior shortstop delivered a clutch two-out, two-run single in the sixth in UT's 5-3 win.
"We haven't had many easy games," Serrano said. "Every game we have played this week has been a dogfight. When you start to get through those dogfights, you find a way to come out on top and win. I think because nothing has come easy for this team, this team is starting to gain some mental toughness to find ways to get through the tough times of a baseball game."
UT hosts Memphis on Wednesday with a series at two-time defending national champion South Carolina looming next weekend.
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