Hunley leads Vols past Western Carolina

Tennessee extended its win streak with a win over the Catamounts.

Freshman pitcher Sean Hunley threw a complete game in Tennessee’s mid-week matchup against Western Carolina on Wednesday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The Vols won 5-0 behind Hunley’s three strikeouts in Knoxville to win their fourth-straight game.

The true freshman now sits with 3-0 record on the season after his impressive shutout performance. Hunley pitched over 21 straight shutout innings for the orange-and-white.

Tennessee got its bats going early when they scored three runs in the first inning. Senior catcher Benito Santiago got the scoring started for the Volunteers with an RBI single to center field.

Sophomore Justin Ammons also earned himself an RBI after driving in a bases loaded walk, while outfielder Brodie Leftridge rounded out the first inning scoring for Tennessee with a sacrifice fly to bring a run home.

Vols freshmen Zach Daniels, Brandon Chinea and sophomore Andre Lipcius also drove in runs. Lipcius notched two hits on the day and also drove in a pair of runs. In the sixth inning, Chinea hit an RBI infield single while Daniels brought in the Chinea for the final run of the game in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Tennessee Head Coach Tony Vitello highly praised his freshman pitcher’s dominating performance.

“It’s massive, you put him out there and he gives you a sense of calm. That improves the quality of play and decision making of everyone,” Vitello said. “It certainly helps you when you can go into the weekend with a fresh bullpen.”

Hunley commented on what his team needs to do to keep their four-game winning streak going.

“We’ve got to keep the bats hot,” Hunley said. “Continue being aggressive at the plate and keep the same defense we’ve been playing with.”

Tennessee will travel to Oxford for a three-game series against Ole Miss to open its SEC schedule. Game one of the series is set for 8 p.m. ET on Friday. The Vols look to stay hot against the No. 8 ranked Rebels and keep their four-game winning streak alive.

Santiago looks to stay focused into conference play.

“I tell them to stay focused and don’t give into what other people are saying,” Santiago said. “The game doesn’t change and that’s one thing I let them know. It’s roundball still, but with more fans. You’re playing the game of baseball.”

Edited by Seth Raborn/Lexie Little

Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics