No. 1 Pick Apart Tide Baseball Flights with 15 overs to take
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s No. 1 came into Saturday’s game against Alabama on his first two-game losing streak of the season and looked vulnerable.
The Vols put those thoughts to bed with a 9-2 Game 2 win without head coach Tony Vitello by their side following his ejection.
About 14 hours later, the Vols continued their performance with a 15-4 annihilation of No. 24 Alabama, beating the Crimson Tide 15-4 on Sunday.
Tennessee did it once again with batting coach Josh Elander as interim head coach with Vitello and pitching coach Frank Anderson suspended following their ejections.
The Vols’ lineup gave Alabama starting pitcher Grayson Hitt and the Tide bullpen plenty of fits, connecting for 15 hits and four homers.
Vols home run leader Trey Liscomb was responsible for two starts from the yard, bringing his total for the season to 15 bombs. Jorel Ortega and Jordan Beck were the other Vols to homer, with Ortega being a three-point shot in the fourth and Beck’s missile giving Tennessee a 10-point lead in the bottom of the eighth.
Ortega’s bombshell continued a great weekend for second at the plate, as the Puerto Rico native finished the series 8-12 at the plate with five RBIs, shore runs, two homers and a triple.
Ortega and Lipscomb were the MVPs on the electric day Tennessee had at the flat, combining to go 7-12 with seven hits, three homers and nine RBIs.
Ortega also set a career high on Sunday with four hits. His previous record was three against Georgia Southern in the season opener.
As for Tennessee on the mound, RHP rookie Drew Beam was dialed in his eighth start of the season, picking up the win to take his record to 8-0. Beam delivered a career-high 10 punches, surpassing his previous career high of seven he set against Missouri last weekend.
Beam allowed three of Alabama’s four runs, and all of them came from solo homers in the first, third and sixth innings. Despite Beam’s home runs dropping from one hit on Sunday to four after the game, the freshman allowed only four hits, with his last batter having to connect for the lone hit on Beam. which was not a circuit.
Beam’s latest line from another impressive Sunday performance is below:
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Drew Beam: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 10 K, 74 strikes on 105 total pitches against 25 batters.
The Vols used four arms from the bullpen on their way to victory, including Kirby Connell, Ben Joyce, Will Mabrey and Wyatt Evans.
Connell made his third appearance of the weekend and didn’t last long, walking a batter to a 4-0 count and then getting retired in favor of the volunteer firefighter. Joyce struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh and eighth innings, striking out two. Will Mabrey entered the game in a two-out situation in the eighth inning and took care of business, getting a K to finish top of the frame.
Wyatt Evans closed it for Tennessee on the hump, forcing a double play and recording the endgame K to secure the victory.
With the win, the Vols move to 33-3 on the year with a 14-1 SEC record, firmly keeping their No. 1 spot in the SEC and more than likely the top six College Baseball polls. After Sunday, Tennessee has scored 10 or more points in 15 of its 36 games this season. In ten of those games, the Vols have beaten their opponent by double-digit runs.
The Vols take on Bellarmine for a midweek battle inside Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Tuesday before heading to face SEC rival Florida for a weekend series in Gainesville. Tony Vitello won’t be available to coach Tennessee until the series finale against Florida, while pitching coach Frank Anderson will be back in the dugout for the Vols on Tuesday.
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Photo credit: Saul Young of the Knoxville News Sentinel