The cold day at Lindsey Nelson Stadium seemed to seep into the the arms and bats of Tennessee baseball players early on in the team's mid-week contest vs. Austin Peay.
A three run homer in the top of the first from Governors senior first baseman Dre Gleason certainly gave the Vols a shock.
Follow that up with another RBI single from Gleason in the third and Tennessee was staring down a 4-0 deficit in its last game before conference play.
While Tennessee was able to add a couple of runs in the next few innings, the bats wouldn't really come alive until the bottom of the sixth, thanks to a solo shot over the right field wall from freshman catcher, Pete Derkay.
"He's very talented," said senior Jordan Rodgers, "he puts a lot of work in behind the scenes. For him to be able to get rewarded in that situation after a really good at bat was really good for the team and good for Pete. It takes a catalyst."
Derkay's solo shot was exactly that, a catalyst. The Vols would go on to score 18 unanswered runs after being down 4-0. The team scored 13 runs alone in the 6th and 7th inning, the first being Derkay's homer.
"We've been working on staying back, just slowing the game down," said Derkay, "and that's just kind of what happened. Hard work finally came through."
After the 18-4 win, the No.24 Vols move to 12-2 on the season. With SEC play fast approaching, Tennessee hosts a home series against South Carolina this weekend, head coach Dave Serrano wants his team to stick to the basics.
"We're just going to keep playing baseball," said Serrano. "We haven't done anything yet. We're not going to change what we've done, we're going to continue to enjoy being around each other, continue to compete each and every day and continue to work hard to get better as a baseball team because, again, I keep saying this, we haven't scratched the surface on what I think this team is capable of doing."
Derkay said the team has motivation for SEC play as well, in the form of the SEC Preseason coaches poll. The Vols were picked to finished second to last in the SEC East.
"That (the poll) showed the coaches don't really think we can do anything in the SEC and it's time to go out and do what we do and prove some people wrong."
Tennessee will get a chance to do that against perennial powerhouse South Carolina. The three-game series will start Friday at 7 p.m. in Knoxville.
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