Tennessee defeated Norfolk State (3-7) on Saturday afternoon to improve to 8-1 on the season and clinch a series win over the Spartans.
Dave Serrano was happy with the 5-2 win after the game, but wants to see his team take the next step going forward. “I’m looking down the line to teams in the SEC and we need to be better,” Serrano said. “It’s the little details… A win is a win and we’ll take every win we can, but we wanna be successful to the point that we’re gonna be successful when we move on into SEC play.”
Senior second baseman Jeff Moberg led off the game with a solo home run on the fourth pitch he faced, giving the Vols an early 1-0 lead.
“I was just going up there looking to have a good [at bat], see some pitches, and he hung a changeup and I just put a good swing on it,” Moberg said of his leadoff homer after the game.
“He’s feeling it right now,” Serrano said of Moberg. “He’s carrying the load.”
Junior left-handed pitcher Zach Warren received the start on the mound for the Vols, pitching five innings and picking up his first win of the season. Warren allowed three hits, gave up one walk, struck out five and only gave up two runs, both unearned. The southpaw retired the first 16 batters he faced.
“My mechanics were good,” Warren said. “I felt like I could throw the ball where I needed to throw it.”
“His stuff is really good,” Serrano said following Warren’s outing. “He has the capability of being as good as anyone.”
A two-out rally in the bottom of the fourth inning produced four runs for the Vols. Freshman Jay Charleston hit an RBI single, scoring Andre Lipcius who led off the inning with a double. Moberg then hit a two-run single to center field, scoring Charleston and Dom Thornton to extend the Tennessee lead to 4-0. Jordan Rodgers then singled to left field, scoring Moberg and giving the Vols a 5-0 lead.
Moberg was 2-of-5 on the afternoon, driving in three runs, scoring two runs and hitting his fourth home run on the season.
Norfolk State rallied with two outs to score two runs in the top of the fifth inning. The Spartans cut the Tennessee lead to 5-2 on a two-run single from center fielder Denathan Dukes.
Zach Linginfelter relieved Warren in the top of the sixth, working a 1-2-3 inning. The Vols’ freshman worked another 1-2-3 inning in the top of the seventh, this time striking out the side. Linginfelter finished with seven strikeouts and gave up just one hit in three innings of work. His seven strikeouts tied a season-high.
“He has the capability of being a really special guy here,” Serrano said of Linginfelter.
Jon Lipinski picked up the save for the Vols in the ninth inning.
Tennessee looks to sweep Norfolk State tomorrow afternoon in game three of the series with the Spartans. First pitch is set for 1:00 p.m. ET.
Edited by Robert Hughes
Featured image by Austin Perryman, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics