Coming off a huge weekend series win in Gainesville, Tennessee returned home on Tuesday night to take on a Tennessee Tech team who has struggled this season. Although the Golden Eagles led at two different times in the game, in the end the offense carried the Vols to a 15-10 win at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
“I was just trying to simplify everything, see the ball and hit the ball,” Jay Charleston said. “We have to be able to build off of this and make a run.”
With Camden Sewell starting on the mound for Tennessee, the Golden Eagles did not waste any time jumping on the board early, as leadoff man Anthony Carrera hit a leadoff home run. In the second inning, Carrera hit another home run, his fifteenth of the season.
Tennessee responded in the bottom of the second, scoring a run and cutting the deficit in half. After Ricky Martinez led off the inning with a hit by pitch, Connor Pavolony doubled to deep center field to score Martinez from first. Connor Pavolony had a career-high three hits in the game.
Later in the inning, Al Soularie singled to left to tie the game at two. His hit extended his hit streak to thirteen games, the second longest by a Volunteer this season.
After Tennessee was able to even the game, Tennessee Tech responded with a big inning to regain the lead in the top of the fourth. After Gavin Johns and Nathan McMeans both reached base, JD Funk hit a long shot to left field to give Tennessee Tech a 5-2 lead.
Tennessee would respond again in the bottom of the inning on an RBI sac fly by Connor Pavolony. In the next inning, Tennessee would explode for a six-run inning to break the game open.
“Any situation you have kind of seen it this year,” Tennessee coach Tony Vitello said. “If anyone can handle one-run games, or at least can say they have been there and done that it’s us. But also just a lot of going back to forth on the scoreboard has taken place, and while it can nerve racking at times, it really builds a lot of character.”
Tennessee started the inning with a two-RBI double to tie the game at five. Tennessee would then get back-to-back singles from Jake Rucker and Zach Daniels to extend the lead to 7-5. After a wild pitch scored another run, Pavolony continued his hot hitting with a single to left to give the Vols a four-run lead.
Tennessee Tech would add a run in the in the sixth to trim the lead to three, but Tennessee responded with four more runs in the bottom of the seventh to get a seven-run cushion. The first two runs of the inning scored on a double down the line by Charleston, and the latter two came off a long ball from Andre Lipcius to give Tennessee a 13-6 advantage.
Over the past couple weeks, Tennessee has blown seven run leads on two separate occasions, but that would not be the case on Tuesday night, but Tennessee Tech did have one last rally in them.
With the bases loaded, Kevin Strohschein singled to bring in two Golden Eagles runners to cut the deficit to 13-8. Richard Jackson would then throw a pitch to the backstop to bring in Cody Littlejohn and cut the lead to four. The next batter, John Dyer, took a pitch deep to left field to score a run and cut the lead to three.
Redmond Walsh would come in to strikeout Johns to end the threat. Tennessee added two runs in the bottom of the inning to total 15 runs on the game. That was tied for the third most runs scored in a game by the Vols this season.
“Redmond Walsh struck out a pretty dang good hitter there with a lot on the line,” Vitello said. “He can certainly take a lot of confidence from that into his next outing.”
With the win, Tennessee will head into the last weekend of the regular series and a matchup against the Ole Miss Rebels in Knoxville. The Rebels are coming off a weekend where they were swept by Mississippi State at home. First pitch for the first game of the series on Thursday is set for 7 p.m.