Three snow storms have prevented Tennessee Baseball from starting the season as planned. After postponing last week’s game against Tennessee Tech, and canceling the series against Rutgers, the Vols traveled to Georgia to take on Lipscomb on a neutral field last Friday. They were scheduled to play the Bisons against last night, but another snow storm forced the game to be canceled. Tennessee will travel to Belmont tonight to take on the Bruins before flying out west for a three game series against UC Irvine.
Bret Marks started off last Friday’s game against the Bison, where he continued his excellent start to the season. He pitched 4 innings, allowing no hits and walking one batter. Across nine innings in his two starts Marks has given up only one hit and three walks while striking out ten. Drake Owenby came in afterwards and threw 3.2 innings, giving up one hit and two walks with six strikeouts.
Offensively, the Vols had runners in scoring position in the first, third, and seventh, but were unable to get anyone home. Things started going well for the Vols in the top of the ninth though. Christin Stewart led off the inning with his fourth hit by pitch on the year (he’s tied for first nationally averaging 1 HBP per game). He advanced to second on a balk, and Nick Senzel followed that up with a single. Stewart and Senzel both advanced on a passed ball, and Vincent Jackson drove in a run with a single. Johnny Youngblood bunted Senzel home, adding to the Vol lead. A bad defensive play by the Lipscomb pitcher ended up allowing two more to score on A.J. Simcox’s grounder to the mound, and Tennessee was rolling. Derek Lance and Stewart both added RBI singles to give the final margin of victory as the Vols wrapped up the 6-0 win.
Tennessee has a 5-4 record all time against Belmont. This trip to Nashville will be the first time the Vols and Bruins have met outside of Knoxville. Belmont finished last season with a 24-30-1 record and were chosen to finish eighth in the Ohio Valley Conference Coaches Poll this preseason. Belmont is led by senior outfielder Drew Ferguson, who was named Second Team All-OVC at the end of last season.
Belmont are currently 2-1 on the season, dropping their season opener against Wright State 14-7 and then crushing Toledo 18-5. They defeated Western Kentucky last night 9-1. They were scheduled to take on Vanderbilt, Ohio, and Valparaiso during this past week, but all were either postponed or canceled due to the weather.
Hopefully the Vols' ninth inning success from Friday carries over to this week.
Tennessee Volunteers (2-2) at Belmont Bruins (2-1)
Date: Wednesday February 25, 2015
First Pitch: 4:30 p.m. ET at E.S. Rose Park, Nashville, TN
Internet Video: OVC Network
Live Stats: via Belmont
Probable Starting Pitchers: UT RHP Hunter Martin (0-0, 3.00 ERA) vs BU LHP Dan Ludwig (0-0, 6.75 ERA)
Players to Keep an Eye on: