#17 Tennessee was able to overcome an early deficit to earn a 5-3 win over in-state foe Austin Peay at Raymond C. Hand Park at Clarksville, Tn., on Wednesday night.
The Governors (1-6) scored three times in the bottom of the third inning to jump out to an early advantage, but the Vols battled back and used a five-run fifth inning to take a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Junior right hander Elijah Pleasants was the story of the night for UT (8-2).
The Clarksville native who starred at nearby Rossview High School was dominant out of the bullpen en route to picking up his first win of the season. Pleasants set new career highs in innings pitched (six) and strikeouts (six) while allowing just three hits on the night.
Jake Rucker led Tennessee at the plate with two hits and two runs batted in. Jordan Beck had a pair of base knocks, as well, while Liam Spence, Drew Gilbert and Jackson Greer also drove in runs for the Big Orange.
Camden Sewell made his first start of the year for UT and tossed two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and one walk.
After escaping a jam in the second inning, the Vols were unable to do the same in the third as the Govs opened the scoring with three runs in the inning. Following back-to-back singles to start the frame, Garrett Spain singled up the middle to bring in the game's first run. An RBI groundout by John McDonald increased the lead to two before a passed ball allowed Spain to score and make it 3-0.
Tennessee got the bats going in the top of the fifth en route to scoring five runs in the inning. Greer led off the frame with a double after right fielder Jeremy Wagner lost a fly ball in the lights. The Vols took advantage of the break as Spence drove in UT's first run three batters later with a single to score Greer from third.
A Rucker two-run single, a sac fly from Gilbert and a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded for Greer rounded out the scoring in the inning as the Vols took a 5-3 lead.
Pleasants took it from there, retiring nine of the last 11 batters he faced to quell any hope of a comeback for Austin Peay.
The Vols earlier had been scheduled to play Dayton on Wednesday, but that got canceled.
MIDWEEK SUCCESS CONTINUES: Wednesday's victory marked the 14th consecutive midweek win for the Vols. Tennessee is now 31-5 in midweek games since Tony Vitello took over as head coach in 2018.
PLEASANTS IMPRESSES IN HOMECOMING: Elijah Pleasants had his best outing of the season on Wednesday night in his hometown of Clarksville. After struggling in his start on Sunday against Indiana State, the junior right hander had a major bounce back performance to earn the win against Austin Peay. Pleasants threw six shutout innings and set a new career high with six strikeouts while allowing just three hits.
Tennessee returns to Rocky Top for another tough weekend series against Georgia State this weekend. All four of the Panthers wins this season have come against top-15 teams. First pitch for Friday's series opener is slated for 6:30 p.m. and can be seen live on SEC Network + and the ESPN App.