KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Volunteers used dominant pitching and aggressive offense to take a 7-0 win over Cincinnati on Wednesday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
With the win, Tennessee improves to 10-11 on the season and 16-5 in their all-time series against Cincinnati. The 7-0 win also marks the third shutout victory of the year for UT.
"By no means was it perfect. It never is going to be perfect," Head Coach Dave Serrano said. "We've committed to starting our new season. We can't do anything about the first 20 and we've started our new season 1-0. We go into a great environment to play this weekend in Vanderbilt, the defending national champions. We know we have our hands full and this is a good momentum thing going into this weekend."
Freshman lefty Zach Warren (2-0) dealt 5.0 scoreless innings against the Bearcats, holding Cincinnati to just one hit while striking out four batters. With the win, Warren is now 2-0 in his three official starts this year.
"I like how he threw five shutout innings. I think he's been better," Serrano said. "His command wasn't great with his off speed stuff. He got away with throwing the fastball. To be the complete pitcher he's going to have to be able to throw that good change up over the plate and establish his slider. When he does that, he's really tough to hit. We were able to get out of our own jams and throw a shutout."
"My infielders helped me a lot," Warren added following the game. "I definitely learned I need to start working on my off-speed pitches a lot more because once I start throwing more and guys see me, I'm going to need to be mixing my pitches much more often. Tonight, I felt like I had help in the field and I was also getting the job done."
Offensively, the Volunteers collected seven runs on four hits against the Bearcats. Tennessee jumped out to an early lead in the second inning, with first baseman Nathaniel Maggio launching a two-run home run over the right field wall to give UT a 2-0 lead. The Vols went on to load the bases and plate two more runs on a two out rally, thanks to an infield grounder by shortstop A.J. Simcox to make it 4-0.
In the fifth, UT put up another three runs to further their lead to 7-0. Simcox and left fielder Christin Stewart reached base via hit and an error to start the frame. Second baseman Nick Senzel then knocked a two-run triple, scoring Simcox and Stewart. Later, Maggio delivered again for Tennessee, hitting a sacrifice fly to left field to allow Senzel to tag up and make it a 7-0 advantage for the Vols.
Tennessee's bullpen continued Warren's shutout efforts, as righthanders Steven Kane and Jacob Westphal delivered 2.0 combined scoreless innings in relief. Righty Kyle Serrano then entered the game in the seventh, making his second appearance in relief this season, and struck out two of his four batters faced.
Closer Andy Cox came in to finish the game for UT in the ninth, allowing one hit and recording one strikeout while closing the door for the Vols.
Tennessee travels to take on No. 3-ranked Vanderbilt this weekend, facing the Commodores in a three-game weekend series on Friday, March 27 - Sunday, March 29. The Vols' Friday game will be available for viewing via SEC Network + online stream, while the Saturday and Sunday games will be broadcast on SEC Network television.
"We kind of just said press the reset button and tonight was our first game of 30 or 35 more games and just take it from here," Senzel said. "We're 1-0 right now. We had to get things on the right track and tonight was a small stepping stone to getting things on the right track."