The Tennessee Volunteers suffered their first loss of the season on Friday and came out to avenge that loss on Saturday behind preseason All-American Garrett Crochet’s season debut. Crochet allowed no runs over his three and a third innings as he set up Tennessee to win 3-1 over Wright State and tie the series at 1-1.
Crochet got the game started with a quick top of the first inning as he struck out the leadoff man for the Raiders before getting the second man to ground out and then striking out Zane Harris to end the inning.
The Vols’ offense looked to get off to a quick start as Zach Daniels and Jake Rucker hit back to back singles with one out in the bottom of the first, but Tennessee could not drive in a run as the next two men were retired to send the game into the second.
The Raiders got on Crochet in the second and spelled trouble for the junior’s debut as they pieced two hits together to get men on second and third with two outs, but Crochet dialed in and struck out Alec Sayre to get the Vols out of trouble.
Tennessee got on the board first when Max Ferguson crushed a line drive into right field that sailed out of the park and into the parking lot to give the Vols a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third.
Crochet came back out for the fourth but faced only one batter whom he struck out. Jackson Leath emerged from the pen in relief of Crochet and proceeded to get two quick to end the inning.
“It felt really good to get out there and finally be able to contribute to the team,” starting pitcher Garrett Crochet said postgame. “There were a little nerves in the bullpen pregame, but I felt strong once I got on the mound.”
For the bottoms of the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, the Vols got one runner on base but were unable to get any more than one in each of the three innings.
The top of the sixth saw a nice play by Evan Russell in right field who snagged a line drive and doubled off Gehrig Anglin at first as Andlin was running on the pitch.
Tennessee got on the board again in the seventh when Liam Spence launched his first home run of the year as he deposited a ball into the porch seating in left field. Max Ferguson followed that up with a heads up play as he hit a slow ground ball to the hole on the left side of the infield, but the shortstop and third baseman struggled to field it and the ball escaped into shallow left field. The left fielder was not backing the play up and Ferguson noticed it so he stretched the slow grounder into a double. After the heads up play, Ferguson stole third to put the Vols in prime scoring position with only one out in the inning, but they failed to capitalize as the next two Big Orange batters struck out swinging.
“If you go up and down the batting order, there were a few guys who didn’t have great days today, but we got something out of their at bats unlike last night,” head coach Tony Vitello said after the game. “Liam’s big shot was great to see, we know he is capable of doing that.”
The Raiders got the run back in the top of the eighth when Leath threw a pickoff into right field with a man on third and two outs to allow Wright State to cut the lead to 2-1.
Tennessee answered in the bottom of the inning as Drew Gilbert singled with Lipcius on second and two outs to extend the Vols’ lead back to two runs.
Redmond Walsh came in to close out the game in the top of the ninth where he struckout the final two Raiders to give Tennessee a 3-1 win over Wright State and tie the series up at one game each.
One of the best players in the game for today was Max Ferguson who got the Vols’ offense going with a homerun in the third inning to give Tennessee the first run of the game. Ferguson’s slow ground ball that he stretched into a double in the seventh helped give the Vols energy late in the game as they fended off the Raiders.
The Vols go for the series win on Sunday at 1 p.m. where Chase Wallace (1-0) is expected to get the ball for Tennessee as he faces up against Austin Cline (1-2) of the Wright State Raiders.