East Tennessee State took an early 4-0 lead after scoring a run in the first inning, two in the second and one in the third.
Buccaneer junior right fielder Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.) hit an RBI groundout in the first after senior second baseman Nick Crowe (Johnson City, Tenn.) led the inning off with a double down the right field line. Sophomore third baseman Mike Giroud (St. Petersburg, Fla.) drove in a run on a squeeze bunt in the second and junior shortstop Chuck Hargis (Powell, Tenn.) followed with a RBI double down the left field line. In the third, Byrne hit a one-out triple followed by an RBI double to right by sophomore left fielder Stephen Douglas (Kennesaw, Ga.).
Tennessee tied the game with four runs in the top of the fourth. Eric King drove in a run with an infield single and Eli Iorg drove in the Vols second run with a groundout. With two outs, J.P. Arencibia hit a two-run single to center.
ETSU regained the lead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Douglas and junior first baseman Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.) hit sacrifice flies after Byrne walked and senior catcher Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) doubled.
But UT came right back in the top of the sixth, scoring three runs to take a 7-6 advantage. After Arencibia singled and Chase Headley walked with two outs, Kelly Edmundson hit a three-run homer over the right field wall.
The Bucs fought right back, scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth to regain the lead, 9-7. Moore hit a double to center with the bases loaded, driving in Hargis and pinch-runner Trevor Smith (Newport, Tenn.). Junior center fielder Matt Traylor (Knoxville, Tenn.) also scored on the play, crossing the plate on a throwing error.
The Vols took the lead for good, scoring four runs in the top of the seventh. Iorg hit a three-run homer to right and Edmundson hit his second home run of the game, a solo shot to deep right-center. Tennessee added a run to its lead in the top of the eighth on an RBI double by King.
East Tennessee State rallied to cut the Vol lead to 12-11 with two runs in the bottom of the eighth. After a single by Hargis, Byrne belted a two-run homer over the right-centerfield wall, his fourth of the season.
Tennessee put the game out of reach with three runs in the top of the ninth. Edmundson capped a huge evening with a two-run double down the left line. Julio Borbon then drove in Edmundson with a single to right.
ETSU scored their final run of the game in the bottom of the ninth. Church singled up the middle with one out and advanced to second on an error. He moved to third on a wild pitch and crossed the plate as sophomore catcher John Weddle (Knoxville, Tenn.) reached on an error. The Bucs did bring the tying run to the plate, but UT's Joey Andrews was able to close out the game.
Chris Howell (1-1) earned the win for the Vols after allowing three runs (none earned) on one hit in an inning pitched. Andrews earned his first save of the season after giving up two earned runs on three hits while striking out five over the final three innings.
Buccaneer junior lefty Brian Lovett (Knoxville, Tenn.) was charged with the loss (2-2) after allowing three earned runs on two hits in one-third of an inning.
Byrne and Moore led the Bucs with two hits on the evening while Byrne also scored three runs and drove in three others.
King had a game-high four hits for Tennessee while Edmundson and Michael Rivera each had three. Edmundson also scored three runs and drove in six in the win.
The Bucs return to SoCon play this weekend as they travel to UNC Greensboro for a three-game weekend series. Friday's game is set for 7 p.m. while Saturday and Sunday's games are scheduled for 1 p.m.