via UTSports Information
KNOXVLLE, Tenn. – Sophomore Garrett Stallings put forth a dominant performance on the mound to help lead Tennessee to a bounce-back 2-1 win over Memphis on day two of the Tri-Star Classic at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Stallings tossed his first-career complete game to improve to 2-0 on the season. The Chesapeake, Va., native took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and allowed just one run on three hits. He also tied a career high with five strikeouts on the afternoon.
At the plate, Pete Derkay and Zach Daniels each had an RBI while Justin Ammons led the Vols with three hits on the day. Colton Neel drove in the only run for Memphis with a solo home run in the eighth inning. The Tigers did not have a single player record more than one hit.
Tennessee opened the scoring in the third inning after a leadoff walk by Jay Charleston and a single by Ammons put runners on the corners with no outs. Derkay delivered with an RBI single to center field on an 0-2 count to give the Vols a 1-0 lead.
UT doubled its lead in the sixth thanks to back-to-back two-out doubles from freshmen Wyatt Stapp and Daniels. Stapp lined an 0-1 pitch down the left-field line before Daniels drilled the first pitch he saw to the gap in left center to put the Big Orange ahead 2-0.
The Tigers cut the lead in half with Neel’s solo shot in the top of the eighth, a ball that barely cleared the short fence in right field. However, Stallings bounced back to retire the side in order in the ninth to secure the win.
Memphis starter Jonathan Bowlan fell to 0-3 on the year despite a solid effort. The junior right hander gave up just four hits and one run while striking out seven in five innings of work.
Stallings Spins a Gem
Garrett Stalling’s masterful outing was the first complete game of his career and the first for a Vols’ pitcher since Hunter Martin went the distance on May 18 of last season in a loss to Missouri. Stallings also tied a career-high with five strikeouts and tied a career low for hits allowed in a start.
On-Base Streaks Still Intact
UT sophomores Jay Charleston and Pete Derkay both extended their on-base streaks to 11 games on Saturday. Charleston reached base on a walk and scored a run in the third with Derkay being the one who drove him in with an RBI single.
The Vols wrap up play at the Tri-Star Classic tomorrow at 4 p.m. when they host Middle Tennessee. Fans can listen to the game live on Sports Radio WNML (FM 99.1 / AM 990) as well as UTSports.com.
Head Coach Tony Vitello
On how much the team needed that performance from Garrett Stallings today:
“We needed him tremendously as it relates to team morale, our record, preserving our bullpen and more than anything, establishing who our weekend rotation is. There’s questions marks. Now you don’t know who is going to be there. He’s a rock because he throws strikes, but he’s also a rock because his presence is really good. We kind of challenge the other pitchers to not match that kind of performance because there’s some big-leaguers who might not have been able to match it today, but match that effort, attitude and presence he has.”
On how he feels about his team holding onto the lead to close this game out:
“I feel good. I’m really surprised at how clean of a game it was from both sides. Memphis had to play last night, we had to sit on a loss, and then we played at noon. That’s about as early of a start as I’ve ever had. We’re almost always after one or two o’clock. With college guys, you never know how awake they are at noon or one o’clock. Both teams played a clean game, and I was happy our guys played nine innings of really good baseball. I think it was our first errorless game. I’m good with making errors, but not when there’s a lack of focus. I think the zero errors was more of a byproduct of our guys being into every pitch.”
Sophomore RHP Garrett Stallings
On if he felt anything different in his game today:
“No, I think I’m just getting more consistent. I’m going to go out there and that’s what I want to do each game, just throw a low amount of pitches, force contact and trust my defense behind me.”
On how he stays focused when there’s not much offense:
“It changes when you have a lot of runs on the board, but it doesn’t really change when there’s one or two runs here or there. I really just kept competing. I knew we had the lead and I knew we weren’t going to lose.”
Sophomore OF Justin Ammons
On how big it was to get the insurance run from two freshmen in the sixth inning:
“It was good, especially now early in the season, to see that they are already getting that level of confidence to get the job done. We’re going to need it a lot especially during SEC play in a lot of one-run games.”
On what the team has to do to get the win tomorrow:
“We have to feed off this energy. We have to come back after a win like today and not forget about today, but come out with the same mentality that we have to win tomorrow.”