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February 28, 2014

Serrano's Vols remain unbeaten

Regardless of opponent, two-out production is two-out production.

Tennessee strung together one two-out run after another Friday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium, beating visiting Quinnipiac 13-2 and staying undefeated at 8-0.

It's just the third time in program history the Vols have reached eight games without a loss.

"It was another good game for us," third-year Tennessee head coach Dave Serrano said. "Our guys pieced it together and did a good job to come out on top and continue our run a little bit."

Will Maddox had a three-run home run and scored two runs as starter Nick Williams (3-0) limited Quinnipiac (0-4) to two hits and one run over seven innings to pick up the win on the mound.

"That was a pretty fat pitch I got and I was able to barrel it up pretty good," Maddox said. "I hit it pretty good."

Tennessee scored two-out runs in the second, fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

"That was important," Serrano said. "It wasn't just the two-out RBI production, it was the two-outs, nobody on, where we get a base hit, a double and the next thing you know we have a two or three on the board.

That is huge. That's sustaining innings right there."

The Vols scored all 13 runs between the second and sixth innings, including five in the sixth and three in the second and fifth.

Maddox launched the three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the second, giving the Vols a 3-0 lead.

"We needed something to get us going," Maddox said. "Taylor Smart had an unbelievable at-bat before (the home run). He battled with two strikes and was able to get a hit."

"I thought the at-bat by Taylor Smart was the back breaker," Serrano said.

Scott Price added a two-out, RBI double in the fourth and Vincent Jackson plated two with a base-clearing triple in the fifth.

David Houser made it 10-1 with a two-out, two-run double in the sixth, scoring Jackson and Nick Senzel. Nathaniel Maggio scored Houser with a single in the next at-bat.

Smart singled, Maddox walked and Price scored Maggio and Jackson with a two-run single later in the inning, still with two outs.

FIRST PITCH HONOR: The series with Quinnipiac, a private school from Hamden, Conn., was originally scheduled so Eric Nelson could see his son, Ryan Nelson, a Knoxville Catholic graduate and Quinnipiac third basemen, play at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Eric Nelson, 52, who had befriended Tennessee head coach Dave Serrano, lost a lengthy battle with cancer in February.

Friday, Ryan Nelson's mom, Jane, threw out the first pitch to her son, in memory of Eric Nelson.

"I hope tonight was special," Serrano said. "Eric Nelson was a friend I met three years ago. A great individual.

"I know the family, I know tonight was probably emotional for them. Win, lose or draw, I hope the Nelson family realizes the Tennessee program, how much respect we have for them and for Eric.

"Eric wasn't here physically, but I know he was here tonight, if that makes sense."

FAST START: In 104 years of baseball, the Vols have only started 8-0 three times. It happened under former coach Rod Delmonico twice, in 1992 and 2003.

The Vols will go for a record 9-0 start on Saturday.

"We're trying to leave a mark for this team, a mark for this program," Nick Williams said, "that this team is bringing (Tennessee baseball) back to life.

"We're doing well right now. We just have to keep it up, keep grinding, keep pushing each day."

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