After dropping 2-of-3 to No. 20 Arizona State over the weekend, the Vols will host East Tennessee State University on Tuesday evening.
The Vols are coming off a weekend where, despite outscoring the Sun Devils 12-11, they still managed to lost two of the three contest. Giving up the long-ball was the Vols (2-5) Achilles heel over the series. Seven of Arizona State's 11 runs came off home runs and proved to be the deciding factor in both Friday and Sunday's games.
ETSU (6-1) — who is riding a six-game win streak into Knoxville — have hit 13 home runs so far this season.
Tennessee coach Dave Serrano believes that as long as they continue to throw strikes, his squad will be fine.
"If we continue to throw strikes and play defense like we did today (Sunday) we'll be in every game throughout the season," he said.
Junior college transfer Scott Price and sophomore Will Maddox have led the attack offensively so far for Tennessee, hitting .367 and .344 respectively.
Maddox — who's made the move to third base this season — has flashed the leather, as well, at his new position.
"I thought Will made some great plays out there this weekend," Serrano said. "We kind of take it for granted because he does it all the time and he can make those kinds of plays."
Serrano and his staff will look to solidify the starting lineup in order to create some continuity as the season progresses.
"We're kind of going in-and-out with some different lineups, trying to give some right-handers some looks against left-handers, but we have to find out if our left-handers can hit left-handers," Serrano stated. "We've got an array of left-handed hitters and they're all really good. We've got to settle into a lineup and just go with it and let the process take care of itself. We've got a lot of talented players and who does well in practice and performs when they get the opportunity, we've got to stick with that for awhile."
Though they have dropped the season's first two series, the Volunteer roster continues to have a positive outlook.
"Win or lose we have to have the same mentality," Maddox said following Saturday's 11-2 win. "Today was nice but we still have a lot to prove with our young roster. We are comfortable as a team and feel good about where we're going."
For the Bucs, Clinton Freeman has done it all through seven games. The junior is hitting .500 with six home runs, 11 RBIs and a triple, coupled with a 2-0 record and two saves on the mound.
This will be the 71st meeting all-time between the two universities with the Volunteers boasting a 56-14 record against the Bucs. Though ETSU has been in control as of late, winning five of the last six dating back to 2009.
Per ETSU's website, the Bucs will send senior right-hander Derek Bushey out as the weekday starter. The senior has thrown just 2/3 of an inning on the year, surrendering two earned runs in the process. He finished 2012 with 2-2 record and 3.94 ERA.