The baseball Vols traveled to Corvallis Oregon this past weekend for a three game series against the No. 10 Oregon State Beavers.
While Tennessee didn't win the series, Todd Raleigh found out a lot about his young talented ball club.
"There aren't that many games played that well this early in February," Raleigh noted after his team dropped the series 1-2 after a dramatic 1-0 loss Sunday afternoon. "Incredible defense, incredible pitching by both teams, Oregon State is a great ball club, they don't give you much. I thought we played extremely well after Friday night's game."
Sunday's game turned into a classic pitching duel between Tennessee Sunday starter Steven McCray and Beaver pitcher Greg Peavey. McCray pitched seven innings, giving up just three hits, one earned run, walking two and striking out four.
"I felt good," McCray said after the game. "I felt like I could throw any pitch anywhere I wanted. It was a good ole fashion pitching duel, I love that, that's what baseball is all about."
This Tennessee Baseball team showed a lot of character Saturday by bouncing back after a devastating 17-1 loss in the series opener Friday night.
The Vols responded Saturday with an impressive outing of their own, beating the No. 10 Beavers in the second matchup 9-2.
"I was really proud of how this team responded after the way we played Friday night," Raleigh said. "They put that loss behind us and came out and played a great game."
Another outstanding pitching performance by lefty Steven Gruver gave the Vols the inspiration needed to even the series 1-1.
ESPN PLAY OF THE GAME
True freshman outfielder Chris Fritts made a tremendous catch in left field on Sunday, diving over his shoulder to make the play. He got up and threw to second to get a double out.
"That was one of the best catches I have seen in a long time," Raleigh said Sunday. "That was a great, great play."
Fritts gave his thoughts on the play.
"I knew it was going to the right of me," Fritts said describing the play. "I really didn't know where I was or if I was going to slam into the wall or not, I just knew I had to do my best to make the play."
As long as you don't count the opener Friday night, Steven Gruver and Steven McCray both turned in outstanding performances.
"I didn't think we could pitch any better than we did on Saturday," Raleigh said. "But the guys proved me wrong on Sunday. It's great to see the pitchers as a staff rebound from Friday night's game."
FIVE GAME HOME STAND
The Vols Baseball team returns home to the friendly confines of Lindsey Nelson Stadium this week, taking on Eastern Kentucky Wednesday afternoon. Then they will host Kennesaw State and Binghamton in a tournament where the Vols will play both teams twice a piece.
"We have a ballclub that could be playing late into June," Fritts said. "We need to take care of business this week and get back on track. I feel that this series against Oregon State will give us some confidence that we can play toe to toe with the best in the country."
CODY HAWN RETURNS TO LINEUP
After a season opening injury to his shoulder, junior Cody Hawn returned to the lineup for the Vols this weekend as the team's designated hitter.
He didn't disappoint, he had four hits over the weekend, three walks and only one strike out.
"It's great to have Cody back up in the lineup," Raleigh said. "He is getting stronger everyday. It's great to have his bat back."
LILES MISSES TWO GAMES
Outfielder Josh Liles missed Saturday and Sunday's game with a strained quad muscle and is expected to be back in action this week.