Tennessee improved to 31-11 on the 2019 season, defeating Gardner Webb, 5-0, on Tuesday night. The Vols improved to 22-2 in non-conference games and picked up their ninth shutout of the season.
Here’s three takeaways:
Sewell continues to impress
Tennessee freshman Camden Sewell got his second consecutive midweek start, turning in an impressive performance.
Like last week, Sewell wasn’t going to be used the full game due to weekend availability purposes, but got to pitch 4.1 innings.
Sewell allowed three hits, including a pair of doubles, but worked around them well, not allowing a run. The Cleveland, Tenn., native didn’t allow a walk while striking out four batters and picking up the win.
“The slider was really sharp,” head coach Tony Vitello said. “He threw strikes and when you throw strikes you’re gonna give up some hits and I’d rather see that than him walk some guys… To attack hitters means you’re gonna give up some hits. He did both of those things tonight.
“Not a problem. He has good enough stuff and composure to get out of those situations, and he did it tonight.”
It isn’t hard to see what Vitello loves about the young right hander, as the freshman has an 0.67 ERA and 31 strikeouts in his 27 innings pitched.
Tennessee had one of its best weekends at the plate during its series sweep of Kentucky, but the Vols struggled to carry that over to the midweek game against Gardner Webb.
Tennessee didn’t get its first base runner of the game until the fourth inning when leadoff man Jay Charleston singled.
Andre Lipcius got Tennessee on the board two at-bats later, launching a homer over the patio seating in left field.
“I was looking slider with a guy on third and less than two-outs,” Lipcius said. “He hung a slider and I hit it.”
Gardner Webb starter Noah Davis had a solid performance, pitching four innings and giving up two hits and two runs while striking out a pair of Volunteer batters.
“It was frustrating,” Vitello said. “He went to a cutter more than our scouting report had down, and our guys do a tremendous job with that, but sometimes a guy makes an adjustment in the middle of the week, or on a particular day somethings working for him, and he was cutting us up with his cutter.”
Tennessee tallied another run in the seventh inning thanks to some good base running. Al Soularie led-off the inning with a single and stole second, giving the Vols a runner in scoring position.
Ricky Martinez came to the plate with two outs, blooping one over the second baseman's head for an RBI single.
Tennessee picked up one last run in the seventh inning. With runners on the corners, the Vols pulled off a double steal. Jake Rucker broke for second, successfully stealing the base. Martinez took off for home on the throw to second and scored, extending the lead to 4-0.
Tennessee ended the game with just six hits and a game batting average of .226, but it was enough to pick up the win.
Ins and outs
Lipcius’ two-run home run in the fourth inning was the junior’s tenth of the season, pulling him even with Soularie for the team high.
Lipcius turned in a solid night at the plate, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
Max Ferguson missed the game Tuesday after fracturing his forearm in Saturday’s win over Kentucky. Ferguson had earned the majority of the starts at first base since Luc Lipcius broke his foot against Fresno State.
Ferguson is expected to be out two-to-three weeks.
Pete Derkay got the start at first base and went 0-for-3 at the plate, but made a couple nice plays in the field.
Trey Lipscomb came in to play first base in the ninth inning and the freshman third baseman will serve as the backup first baseman during Ferguson’s rehab.
Justin Ammons made a spectacular leaping catch at the wall to save a run and end the top half of the eighth inning.
Freshman Christian Scott hit a pinch-hit double to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning. The young center fielder has impressed in his limited opportunities this season.
The shutout win was Tennessee’s NCAA-high ninth of the season. Tennessee is just one shutout shy of the program record of 10 shutouts accomplished by the 1994 Volunteers.