KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee used a dominant performance by left-handed starter Andy Cox and a two-run homer by SEC Player of the Week Christin Stewart to scratch past No. 23 Missouri on Thursday night, taking a 5-2 win in Game One of the weekend series at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
With the win, the Volunteers move to 5-8 in SEC competition and 15-14 on the season, while Missouri (22-12) is now 8-5 in conference play. The victory gives UT a 5-2 all-time record over the Tigers and puts the squad above .500 for the first time since March 14 against then No. 3-ranked Florida.
In his first start of the season, lefthander Andy Cox (1-1) was dominant against the Tigers, holding Mizzou's lineup scoreless on five hits through the sixth frame. His 6.1 innings mark his longest outing of the season, while his eight strikeouts were just one shy of tying his career high of nine strikeouts, accomplished on May 11, 2014 at Mississippi State.
The Vols collected nine hits on Missouri, led by sophomore Nick Senzel (3-for-4, 2 RBI) and junior Christin Stewart (2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI).
Tennessee pulled ahead with a two-run lead in the bottom of the fifth, as catcher David Houser and right fielder Chris Hall reached base with one out. Second baseman Senzel then roped a two-RBI single to left field, but was called out advancing to second base on a throw from Mizzou's left fielder Trey Harris.
The Vols kept their bats going in the sixth, as shortstop A.J. Simcox led off with a single back up the middle of the infield. Stewart, in his first start of the year as designated hitter, then crushed a two-run home run over the left field wall to give Tennessee a 4-0 advantage.
Mizzou came back in the seventh to plate two runs via a two-run homer by designated hitter Jake Ivory. Entering the game in relief of Cox, senior righthander Peter Lenstrohm then retired his two batters faced to end the frame and stop the Tigers' seventh-inning rally.
Righthander Kyle Serrano threw 1.0 scoreless inning of relief in the eighth before starting first baseman Andrew Lee went to the mound for the Vols in the ninth. Lee retired all three batters faced, including two strikeouts, to secure the win for UT and collect his seventh save of the year.