Vols go three up, three down against Xavier

Head coach Todd Raleigh and the Tennessee baseball team ended the weekend with another victory Saturday night. The Vols swept this weekend's series with Xavier. Go "Inside" to get all the details from Sunday afternoon's big win.

The Tennessee Volunteer baseball team is undefeated in 2010 after sweeping a series of three victories over visiting Xavier.

The most recent win took place Sunday afternoon. The orange and white ran away from Scott Googins and the Xavier baseball team by a score of 17-1.

Tennessee head coach Todd Raleigh couldn't have been more pleased with his team's ability to sweep the weekend.

"Obviously to get the sweep was outstanding. We played a great game all the way around," said Raleigh. "Xavier that's a good ball club, they didn't loose three games in a row all last year."

Raleigh pointed to starting pitcher and senior Stephen McCray for getting the Vols off on the right foot.

"I thought Steve McCray really set the tone," said Raleigh. "He got a lot of ground balls. He gave up one home run, but he was outstanding."

While Raleigh may be giving credit to his starting pitcher, McCray gave all the credit to his infield who swallowed up 12 ground balls and spit out 12 outs.

"I was able to change speeds well and keep the ball down to keep the hitters off balance. I am moving the ball and getting a lot of ground balls and just letting my defense play behind me," said McCray. "I think we have one of the best infields in the country."

McCray added that he was relaxed by what was an early Tennessee lead. The Volunteers jumped on Xavier early rattling off three runs in the first inning.

The Vols added two more runs in the third inning to make the score 5-0. McCray would leave the game two innings later in the 5th having only surrender one solo home run to Xavier's Phil Bauer.

McCray finished his five innings with three hits, one walk, one strike out, and one earned run.

McCray says the addition of a new pitch helped him keep hitters off balance and enabled him to force a lot of groundouts.

"I added a cutter. It's a cut fastball. It breaks across the plate. Its very similar to a slider, but it doesn't move near as much," said McCray.

Only one inning later the Volunteers really distanced themselves from Xavier scoring 8 runs in the 6th inning. Four of which came of a pinch-hitter grand slam.

Todd Raleigh called on Sophomore Charley Hurber and he delivered in a big way. Hurber's pinch-hit grand slam was the first since April 11, 2009 when Justin Branson came off the bench and went yard on the Georgia Bulldogs.

A big part of the Volunteers offense throughout Sunday's game and their opening weekend was junior P.J. Polk. Polk finished the weekend with a batting average in the neighborhood of .800. Polk's on base percentage equally impressive reaching the bags 12 of 16 times over the three game stretch.

"I didn't think I would be this hot this weekend, but I just tried to take what the pitchers gave me and not try to do to much and have fun," said Polk.

If there was any flaw in Polk's game it had to be his base running. Polk was picked off and thrown out a second during Sunday's game, but Polk isn't concerned, he will continue to stay aggressive.

"Its kind of like in basketball, they say shooters shoot even if their not hot. Its just part of the game, but I'm not going to let it get me down. I'm just going to keep running," said Polk. "All the speed guys we are going to take an aggressive approach this season. We wanted to start this weekend and we did that."

The Volunteers went on to add four more runs in the 8th inning before sending Xavier down the road. The final score was a blistering 17-1.

The Volunteers will need a full head of steam when they travel to Oregon State next week. Raleigh and the Vols are well aware of the talent machine that the Beavers have up in Corvallis.

"Whoever made that schedule I got to check with," said Raleigh. "They are real good, some people say they have the best arms in the country."

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