Tennessee (11-2) rolled to a pair of victories against Cincinnati (6-8) on Saturday afternoon to win the series. In Game One, the Vols defeated the Bearcats, 2-1, before winning 6-2 in Game Two.
Vols senior second baseman Jeff Moberg was the hero in Game One, hitting a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game at 1-1 and a walk-off single through the left side of the infield in the bottom of the ninth.
The Bearcats jumped out to an early 1-0 lead over the Vols after Jace Mercer walked, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error from Tennessee starter Zach Linginfelter. Cincinnati third baseman Connor McVey then grounded out to shortstop, allowing Mercer to score from third.
Despite the early lead, Tennessee’s pitching staff would hold the Cincinnati hitters scoreless the remainder of the game.
Linginfelter (0-0) pitched 4.0 hitless innings in his first-ever career start in Knoxville. The freshman would only allow one run, while walking three and striking out three.
Fellow freshman Garrett Stallings (2-0) would relieve Linginfelter in the fifth and pitch 5.0 scoreless innings. Stallings only gave up four hits and struck out one in his second career win.
Tennessee freshman Andre Lipcius hit a double off the wall in centerfield to start a rally in the bottom of the ninth. Pete Derkay and Reggie Southall followed with a pair of walks to set up Moberg with the bases loaded and two outs. After tying the game at 1-1 with a homer an inning ago, Moberg singled between short and third to win the game for the Vols.
Moberg finished the game 2-for-5 with two RBIs and his fifth home run of the season.
Zach Warren (2-1) received the start on the mound for the Vols in Game Two of the doubleheader, pitching 6.0 innings to pick up his second win of the season. The southpaw gave up two earned runs on four hits and two walks while striking out six.
Unlike the first and second games of the series, Tennessee’s bats got going early in the 6-2 victory over Cincinnati in the series finale.
In the bottom of the second inning, Vols’ catcher Benito Santiago reached on a single up the middle before scoring on a fielder’s choice to give Tennessee an early 1-0 lead. Santiago would finish the game 4-for-4 with a run scored.
After freshman outfielder Jay Charleston led off the fourth inning with a single to left field, fellow freshman outfielder Justin Ammons belted a two-run homer over the right field wall to extend Tennessee’s lead to 3-0. The home run was Ammons’ first of his career.
Shortstop Max Bartlett followed Ammons’ homer with an RBI single later in the fourth inning to score Lipcius and extend Tennessee’s lead to 4-0.
In the fifth, Charleston would reach on a bunt single and score on a wild pitch, giving the Vols a 5-0 lead.
Cincinnati scored two in the top of the seventh, but Moberg would respond with a leadoff double to start the bottom half of the inning. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Charleston scored Moberg from third on a sacrifice fly to center. The sac fly extended Tennessee’s lead to 6-2. Cincinnati wouldn’t threaten the rest of the way.
Connor Darling (0-0), Will Neely (1-0), and Jon Lipinski (2-0) all pitched in relief for the Vols in the second game of the doubleheader. The trio combined to pitch 3.0 scoreless innings and retire 11 straight batters.
Tennessee now turns their attention to two in-state foes this week. The Vols will travel to Murfreesboro on Tuesday night to face Middle Tennessee State at 7 p.m. ET before returning home on Wednesday night to face Austin Peay at 6 p.m. ET.
Edited by Robert Hughes
Featured image by John Golliher, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics