Baseball Vols win season opener at AT&T Field

Baseball Vols win season opener at AT&T Field

February 20th, 2016 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Vols T logo

Vols T logo

University of Tennessee baseball coach Dave Serrano believes his eight seniors will go a long way toward determining the success of this year's Volunteers.

They're certainly off to a good start.

Second baseman Jeff Moberg scored a career-high three runs from the leadoff spot and starting pitcher Andy Cox allowed one run in four innings as the veteran Vols opened their 2016 season Friday night with an 8-4 win over Memphis at AT&T Field. The eight seniors are the most for Tennessee since 2004.

"We had six seniors starting today, and that's huge," Cox said. "It plays a big deal right now, and it also could play a big deal when we start SEC play. We had a few mishaps, but that's the first game. I'm proud of our guys."

All 14 Southeastern Conference teams opened their seasons Friday, with one other neutral site besides AT&T Field. Missouri defeated Seton Hall 7-0 in Fort Myers, Fla.

Friday's game at the home of the Southern League's Chattanooga Lookouts drew a crowd of 1,768.

"I was very impressed to see so many people to come out," Serrano said. "I knew Vol Nation is down in this part of the state, and hopefully we can get even more when it's warmer tomorrow. The plan has worked so far, and it's not just about this victory.

"We got some people to come out and see us, and I'm excited for the next two games."

Tennessee right fielder Chris Hall had two RBIs in the first game of his final season, while fellow senior and center fielder Derek Lance went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Freshman Daniel Neal had two hits as the designated hitter.

The Vols capitalized on a Memphis error to score two runs in the first inning and built a quick cushion with four more runs in the second. Vincent Jackson and Lance had RBI singles in the second inning, while Nick Senzel had a ground-out RBI and Hall hit a sacrifice fly to center.

Memphis trailed 8-1 entering the seventh inning but scored the game's final three runs, including Brandon Grudzielanek's home run to left in the eighth.

"I'm glad that they made a run at us," Serrano said. "We're learning about ourselves. We could have extended the lead and gotten sloppy, but they made a run at us, and I'm proud of what we were able to accomplish."

Kyle Serrano, son of the Tennessee coach, is scheduled to start today's game for the Vols, with Connor Alexander scheduled for the Tigers.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.


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