Tennessee tied a program record of home runs in a game Tuesday as the Vols took Lipscomb deep seven times to pick up an 11-2 win.
The win pushed Tennessee to 24-10 on the year as the Bisons fell to 15-16.
Here are three takeaways.
The long ball
Tennessee’s seven homers tied the previous school record, which occurred in 1980 when Tennessee did it against Tennessee Tech.
“I think it was just a combination of guys getting some pitches up and not doing too much with them,” head coach Tony Vitello said. “If anything we swung with less effort… During the weekend against Mississippi State there were really some tense swings. I saw some carefree swings tonight.”
It didn’t take Tennessee’s offense long to go to work Thursday as the Volunteers tallied three runs off of Lipscomb’s Palmer Steventon.
Zach Daniels started the work, taking a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall for his second home run in as many games. Andre Lipcius followed that up with a moonshot homerun over the leftfield wall to put the Vols up 2-0.
Al Soularie wasn’t going to let them have all the fun as he took a 0-1 pitch deep to left field for his eighth homer of the season.
“I’ve never been a part of that,” Lipcius said. “That was a lot of fun, and it was really cool.”
Tennessee went back to the long ball in the bottom half of the sixth. It was familiar faces as Lipcius and Soularie went back-to-back scoring three more runs and extending its lead to 7-2.
Landon Gray hit his second homer of the season in the seventh inning when he took the first pitch he saw over the right field wall for a two run homer.
Pete Derkay hit his second career home run in the eighth inning when his pinch hit home run put the Vols ahead 11-2.
Tennessee threw four different true freshman pitchers on Tuesday who each had varying success.
RHP Elijah Pleasants got the start for the Vols, but struggled with command, exiting in the second inning after loading the bases with two-outs. Two of his runners scored, but they scored due to errors and the Clarksville native didn’t pick up any earned runs.
Chase Silseth came in to relieve Pleasants and allowed his two runs to score on a wild pitch and a fielding error, but the New Mexico native was solid after that, collecting a career high in innings pitched and strikeouts. In total Silseth pitched 3.1 innings, striking out five batters and allowing no hits.
Camden Sewell saw his first action since getting injured against South Carolina on March 22nd. Sewell tossed one inning of scoreless baseball, allowing a hit and picking up a strikeout.
“He’s a real weapon for us,” Vitello said. “Not many people have had a look at him… I really feel like he’s a weapon for us out of the bullpen. One day, and it might be before the end of the year, he’s going to be an excellent starting pitcher for us, but for now he’s fresh going into the weekend, and also has some confidence of getting back out there and having a clean inning.”
Tanner Kohlhepp pitched the eighth inning for the Vols and the Eau Claire, Wisconsin native tossed a scoreless inning while allowing a hit and striking out a Bisons’ batter.
Zach Daniels showing some promise
It had been a disappointing campaign so far for sophomore Zach Daniels, but the Stockbridge, Georgia native has turned in back-to-back strong performances for the Vols.
Daniels’ pinch-hit homer in Sunday’s 7-5 loss to Mississippi State pulled the Vols within a run of the Bulldogs.
He turned his one good performance into a second on Tuesday as the sophomore reached base five times in the win.
His solo homer put Tennessee up 1-0 in the first inning and his two walks were a good sign for a player who has struggled with strikeouts.
“I’m just trying not to do to much,” Daniels said. “Getting in the cage with coach Ehlander has helped me a lot, and just trying to stay to the right center gap.”
In total Daniels went 1-for-3 with a pair of walks and a stolen base. If Daniels can continue to contribute, it could pay dividends going forward.
“It’s kind of a perfect storm for Zach,” Vitello said. “We have a need for what he can do… He’s starting to feel for himself… He’s only inching towards what he’s capable of doing.”
Tennessee returns to conference play Thursday when the Vols host Georgia to Lindsey Nelson Stadium for the first of a three game series. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.