Vols Baseball vs Western Illinois

Tennessee baseball finished out their opening series against Western Illinois this Sunday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The Vols improved to 3-0 with a 23-4 win over the Fighting Leatherheads.

Here are the takeaways.

Strong start

Starting pitcher Jackson Leath played well, earning the win after 4.1 innings pitched. The game was his first start and first win at Tennessee since transferring from Blinn College this season. The right-handed junior earned 12 strikeouts in his appearance.

He allowed three earned runs on two hits, but he was scoreless after four innings, all three runs coming in the fifth inning. Walsh finished the fifth inning, while Mabrey, Delashmit, Davidson and McLaughlin all pitched a single inning to close out the game.

“Just settling in there,” Leath said of what went well “After the first inning, just being able to establish the fastball, work off-speed off that, you know. So (coach Frank Anderson) and (Connor Pavolony) do a great job back there, feeling out what the pitcher’s strengths are and kind of working off that. Just establishing fastball then off speed after that.”

Two bursts of offense

Today’s game was the Vols’ first time scoring 15 runs in back to back games since 2010. They eclipsed that mark in consecutive games against Lipscomb and Miss State. Over half of Tennessee’ runs came in only two innings.

The Vols broke through in the second inning after being held scoreless in the first inning, scoring eight runs in the second frame, with the initial run came off a walk with the bases loaded. Additional runs came on a variety of RBIs including a homer by Max Ferguson.

The second burst of offense came in the seventh inning, when Tennessee was able to bring in seven runs. The Vols got home on variety of reasons, including a wild pitch and hit-by-pitch.

“I think it’s a little bit of (doing different things and getting breaks)” Luc Lipcius said “We stick to our plan and they gave us a little bit of runs but the way we hit the runs in those innings was great. Nothing really changed. We just got people on base and then we executed with them on base. I think that’s really important to do going in: executing when people do into scoring position and we bring them in.”

Depth contributions

Tennessee saw contributions from a variety of the players on staff, with 23 different Vols seeing action in today’s game. The two players to play the entire game were Alerick Soularie and Liam Spence, both of whom had needed the extra playing time. Soularie had been suspended for the opener for violation of team rules and Spence missed the majority of Tennessee’s fall season with a concussion.

“I think (the depth) is there” coach Tony Vitello said “I think it’s been solidified this week, so the biggest thing I say is that it’s present. And now the one thing all those guys have in their back pocket is they kind of have gotten out of their system the first go-around, maybe the first time at short, the first time at second … getting those firsts of the way so you can improve upon them incredibly important”

Next up

The Vols will play again at home on Tuesday against UNC-Charlotte before traveling to Texas for the Round Rock Classic this weekend.

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