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March 4, 2014

Diamond Vols remain unbeaten

Never mind the perfect start through ten games or the looming weekend series on the road at college baseball powerhouse Arizona State. Tennessee isn't overlooking one-win La Salle.

Will Maddox and Jeff Moberg each drove in three runs, Christin Stewart and Scott Price added solo home runs and A.J. Simcox drove in two more as the Vols stayed undefeated with a 14-0 win over La Salle Tuesday night, the first of a two-game midweek series at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

"It was a good night overall," third-year head coach Dave Serrano said. "You know, 14-0, we only walk one guy in the ninth inning ... we don't give up a run, we give up three hits early and don't give up a hit after the third inning.

"It was good night."

Hunter Martin, Tennessee's opening day starter who has dealt with shoulder stiffness the last two weeks, started and got the win for the Vols (11-0). The freshman from Murfreesboro went three innings, scattering three hits and striking out four before being replaced by Josh Peterson to start the fourth.

"Shoulder felt really good today," Martin said. "First outing (Feb. 15 against Purdue) it got a little stiff in the third inning.

"But I've been working to get it back healthy, so today felt really good getting back out there."

Serrano said Martin should work in relief for Tennessee Saturday or Sunday at Arizona State.

Kevin Baron (single), Mark Williams (double) and George Smith Jr. (single) had the only hits for La Salle (1-10). Starter Freddy Andujar (0-4) took the loss, giving up four runs on two hits and three walks over 2 2/3 innings.

Tennessee took control with a four-run third.

Simcox had a two-run single, scoring Price and Taylor Smart, and Stewart added a two-out solo home run to make it 4-0.

"I've just been working in the cage, staying back, staying through the ball," Stewart said. "Just got a good pitch to hit tonight."

Stewart started the sixth with a single, advanced to second and third on a pair of Brian Maher balks and scored when Vincent Jackson singled in the next at-bat. Jackson scored later in the inning on a Jordan Rodgers single up the middle.

Price homered to start the seventh, building to the lead to 7-0, before Maddox added a two-run shot after a Simcox single.

"I really feel we're athletic and we're strong," Serrano said. "We look the part in our uniform, maybe not the head coach, but the players do. We're going to hit some balls over the fence.

"As the weather gets warmer, I think we'll start to see it."

Moberg, pinch-hitting for Maddox in the eighth, had a three-run double to the gap in right field to make it 12-0. Johnny Youngblood added an RBI single later in the eighth and David Houser had an RBI groundout.

Tennessee used five pitchers out of the bullpen to combine for six hitless innings.

Peterson went three, Andy Cox pitched the seventh, Trevor Charpie and Dalton Saberhagen combined for three outs in the eighth and Zac Grotz had a perfect ninth.

"I'm really happy that on the mound we're getting good performances from a lot of different guys," Serrano said. "It's going to bode well for us down the line."

Tennessee hosts La Salle at 6 p.m. Wednesday, before traveling early Thursday for the three-game weekend series at Arizona State starting Friday at 8:30 p.m.

"The mindset of the team, and we talked about this before the game, this is an easy team to look past," Serrano said. "It's the first road trip, guys are excited ... we're going to play Arizona State, we're going to a warm climate. It's easy to look past (La Salle).

"I'm excited how the team performed tonight, to win 14-0 in a game we could've easily looked past."

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