Rod's squad off to 6-0 start

If not for a six-game winning streak by Buzz Peterson's basketball team, Rod Delmonico's UT baseball team might be the hottest topic in Vol sports these days.

The Baseball Vols dispatched The Citadel 9-4, James Madison 11-6 and Old Dominion 5-4 last weekend, running their record to 6-0 -- the second-best start in school history. The 1992 team started 8-0, so the school record could be broken this weekend when the Vols host a three-game series with Bowling Green.

The series opens with a 3 p.m. game Friday, continues with a noon start on Saturday and concludes with a 2 p.m. start on Sunday.

Tennessee's starting pitching carried it in Games 1-3 but slipped a bit last weekend in the ESPN Radio Shootout. Fortunately for the Vols, their bullpen that picked up the slack, earning all three victories, along with a save. All told, UT relievers pitched 15.1 innings and posted an eye-catching 1.73 ERA. Dusty Johnson, Luke Hochevar and Beau Massey all picked up wins in relief. The three hurlers did not allow a run or a walk in 10 innings while striking out nine and giving up just six hits.

Johnson pitched 4 2/3 innings of four-hit ball. Hochevar hurled 4 1/3 innings of one-hit ball and Massey pitched a shutout inning with one hit allowed.

Junior catcher Javi Herrera belted two home runs last weekend in helping the Vols hit .372 (42-for-113) and average 8.3 runs per game in the ESPN event. He is one of seven Vol starters batting .350 or better two weeks into the season.

The Bowling Green series kicks off a 10-game home stand, the longest of the season. Following the BG invasion, Tennessee hosts West Virginia (March 1-2), Louisville (March 4-5) and Miami (March 7-9).

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