Third baseman Zane Denton etched his name into Tennessee Baseball record books on Friday night in the Vols’ 23-4 series-opening win over Morehead State.
Denton hit for the cycle in the win, becoming the fifth Vol to do so in program history.
“I’m still in shock honestly,” Denton said. “I never would have ever imagined that I’d be one who hit for the cycle, but luckily it happened, so I’m just trying to enjoy it.”
Friday night marked the first career cycle for Denton, and the 22-year-old set career-highs in RBI (6) and hits (4).
“Never in a million years would I have thought I hit for the cycle,” Denton said. “But good things happen… [I was] just trying to see it big and just stay in my approach and just let good things happen, and luckily they did.”
More From RTI: Tennessee Baseball Demolishes Morehead State in Series Opener
Denton’s first of a career-high four hits came in the bottom of the first when the senior hit an RBI double. The Brentwood, Tennessee, native then got the home run out of the way in the third, when he crushed a leadoff homer to right center.
Good things continued to happen for Denton in the bottom of the fifth when he drove in a pair of runs with a single.
Denton completed the cycle in the bottom of the sixth, smoking a two-run triple over the shortstop’s head.
“I knew I needed to,” Denton said when asked if he knew he needed a triple for the cycle. “But I wouldn’t say I’m the fastest runner, so I told someone ‘well that ain’t happening,’ but once I saw it go over the shortstop’s head, I was like ‘I got a chance,’ so I was triple all the way.”
Denton’s triple gave him a career-high six RBI on the night.
“Definitely [the triple],” Denton said regarding his favorite hit of the night.
All four of Denton’s hits for thee cycle drove in runs.
All four of Denton's hits for the cycle drove in runs:
Leadoff home run
A true career-night for Zane Denton.
— Jack Foster (@jackfostermedia) March 11, 2023
When discussing Denton’s cycle, Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello noted Denton had a chip on his shoulder heading into Friday night.
“It was pretty cool,” Vitello said on Denton hitting for the cycle. “The best part was seeing the smile on his face. To see him have that huge smile on his face was awesome. In particular, I think he had a little chip on his shoulder from Tuesday. He had a couple of times he could have helped us. I did too. I think we all had a couple of times where we would like to go back and do something different. But Tuesday was Tuesday and tonight’s tonight, and he came with a little edge to him. Normally that’s the way everybody plays their best, when they’ve got that chip.”
Denton joins Chris Burke (2001), Matt Duffy (2011), Jordan Rodgers (2016) and Trey Lipscomb (2022) as Vols to hit for the cycle. Lipscomb’s cycle came in last year’s 27-1 Tennessee win over Iona.
Watch Denton talk about his cycle below.