It was rainy, tough to watch and remarkably unremarkable, but it was in fact Todd Raleigh's crew that notched a 14-0 victory over the Privateers in a game that was shortened thanks to an umpire invoked mercy-rule.
The two runs scored in the second inning—a Chris Fritts homer off the scoreboard in right center with Josh Liles on third—were difficult to remember by the time the game ended.
"Obviously we did some good things offensively," Raleigh said. "There were a lot of positives today."
If you had to pick a few storylines that jump out of the box score the most, it would probably be Rob Catapano's impressive four-inning shutout in his first start of the season, Khayyan Norfork's reaching base in each of his five plate appearances, and the four RBI and three hits Fritts accumulated.
Missing Fat Tuesday for a two-touchdown loss in Knoxville was probably demoralizing enough for New Orleans, but the Privateers had to trot out again Wednesday night for another beating.
The score in the second game was 18-4 in favor of the Vols, but it took no second look at the box score to find a suitable headline from that game: Matt Duffy joined former Houston Astro Chris Burke as the only Volunteers to hit for the cycle.
"It's just cool to be mentioned in the same sentence as (Chris Burke)," Duffy said. "It's something that I'll have with me for the rest of my life."
Sure, the cycle is great by itself, but Duffy said he was at least as concerned with silencing the dugout and living up to a bet he made with shortstop Zach Osborne when he came to the plate a single away from completing the cycle in the eighth inning.
"I had made a bet with Osborne that between the two of us, we would get four hits tonight," Duffy said. "I had three [before my last at bat and] he had none. (Osborne) kind of came up to me and (said), ‘if you get a ball in the gap, you have to stop at first for the cycle.'"
That's exactly what Duffy did: he hit a rope to right field and took a wide turn around first before trotting back and taking his place in history.
The only concern worth mention from the is the continued struggle of Jerod Peper, who recorded just one out before he walked the bases full and gave up three runs in the eighth inning of Wednesday's game.
Peper struggled in both of his starts this year and the brief appearance against New Orleans bloated his earned run average to 37.8, as he has now given up 14 earned runs in 3.1 innings of work.
"We're trying to get him to quicken up his delivery a bit and get the ball out of his hand," Raleigh said. "I'm kicking myself now [for putting him in the game before extra bullpen sessions.] I'm not giving up on him. It's just a little issue we need to work through."
Overall the series served as a good warm-up for Tennessee's four game homestand this weekend against Manhattan College.
"They've had a really good offense the past few years," Raleigh said of Manhattan (2-5). "They've beaten some good programs and have a great Friday night [pitcher.]"
Raleigh's rotation will be Steven Gruver (2-0, 0.93 ERA), Drew Steckenrider (0-0, 4.15) in the first half of Saturday's doubleheader, Levi Dean (2-0, 0.00) in Saturday's second game and Jon Reed (1-0, 5.40) Sunday.