After a 6-1 loss to Liberty on Friday, Tennessee suddenly found themselves facing the possibility of a quick exit from the NCAA Tournament.
On Saturday, the Vols (39-20) bounced back to keep their postseason hopes alive, getting production at the plate and strong pitching on the mound to defeat the UNC Wilmington Seahawks (32-31), 10-3.
The win sets up a rematch with Liberty on Sunday in another elimination game in the Chapel Hill Regional.
Less than 24 hours after Tennessee struggled to muster any offense in their loss to Liberty, the Vols wasted no time getting on the board first against the Seahawks.
In the top of the first, Jay Charleston laid down a one-out, bunt single to put the Vols on base for the first time. A stolen base and a wild-pitch later, Charleston crossed home plate to put Tennessee up 1-0.
In the fourth, Ricky Martinez, who went 3-for-4 at the plate on the day, hit the first to two RBIs to give the Vols a 2-0 advantage.
After UNC Wilmington scored a run in the fifth to make it 3-1, Martinez came through again with his second RBI single, this one to right to score Evan Russell.
With Tennessee scoring two more runs to pull ahead 6-1, Connor Pavolony blew the game wide open in the eighth with a grand slam to extend their lead to 10-1, virtually putting the game out of reach and punching the Vols’ ticket to Sunday.
A big part of Tennessee’s offense was base running, with Charleston leading the charge with two stolen bases on the day, making him the first SEC player with 40 stolen bases in a single season since former Vol Chris Burke stole 49 of them during the 2001 season.
On the mound, Camden Sewell got the start, seeing action for over four innings, striking out four and giving up just one run on one hit, before Garrett Crochet came in to finish the contest.
It was the first time that Crochet had pitched since taking a line drive to the jaw versus Ole Miss over two weeks ago.
Tennessee’s season will once again be on the line versus Liberty on Sunday. A win moves them on to a regional final bout with hosting North Carolina, but a loss will end their run. First pitch is slated for noon on ESPN3.