No. 24 Tennessee used eight pitchers in Tuesday’s 9-4 win over Austin Peay.
The Vols combined to throw nine strikeouts, no one contributing more than Richard Jackson. The redshirt senior from Atlanta entered the game with only 10 innings of work on his résumé this season.
Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello brought in the right-hander with two runners on in the 7th inning and no outs. That was no problem for Jackson. He threw three strikeouts in a row and he added a fourth straight in the 8th before Vitello had seen enough.
The Vols’ dugout would usually be going crazy but they switched it up on Jackson, giving him the silent treatment before jumping up to celebrate.
“I love doing the silent treatment, I wish we would do that more often,” Vols junior pitcher Will Heflin said. “I tried to suggest it when someone hit a home run. I think the guys liked it and I think Richard thought it was funny so we may have to incorporate that at some point.”
It’s just a baseball thing,” Vols freshman Christian Scott said. “The dugout is always into the game and it was fun to see.”
Jackson combined to throw 11 strikeouts in his first three seasons at Tennessee. The 23-year-old already has 11 through 13 games pitched this season.
Vitello didn’t have a part in the prank but he knew something was up when he went to switch pitchers.
“I sensed what was going on a little bit because guys were acting strange,” Vitello said. “That’s a guy that they all love. We trust him as much as anybody. These guys are always doing different things to show each other a little bit of love.”
Vitello added that we could start to see more of Jackson, potentially even this weekend when Tennessee begins a 3-game series at Florida on Friday.