The No. 5 Tennessee baseball team secured a series victory over Missouri with an 11-4 win Saturday night. On the strength of six scoreless innings from the bullpen and a five-run sixth, the Vols won the middle game of a series for the first time since April 17.
Tennessee jumped out to an early lead, plating four runs in the top of the first. Liam Spence and Max Ferguson led off the game with back-to-back singles, and Drew Gilbert doubled home Spence for the game’s first run. One out later, Luc Lipcius lined a two-out, two-run single to right, and Pete Derkay capped the inning off with an RBI single of his own.
Unfortunately for the Vols, their early lead did not get them far, as starter Will Heflin gave up four runs through three frames. Mizzou scored two runs in the first and the third innings on a pair of two-run doubles against Heflin. The lefthander only went three innings, as he needed 74 pitches to complete his outing.
Camden Sewell was the first man out of the pen for Tennessee, and he was dominant in two innings of relief. The righty gave up just two hits and struck out four, earning his second win of the season, since he was the pitcher of record when Evan Russell’s two-run double put the Vols ahead in the fifth inning.
Clinging to just a two-run lead, the Vols busted the game open in the sixth. They loaded the bases, and Gilbert cleared them with his second double of the night. The centerfielder finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored. Lipcius provided some extra insurance with a two-out, opposite field home run to put the game out of reach. The home run was Lipcius’ ninth of the season, and he has homered in five of his last six SEC games.
Working with a seven-run lead, Kirby Connell kept the Tigers off balance, inducing five groundouts in three shutout innings. Junior righty Elijah Pleasants fired a scoreless ninth, forcing a double-play to end the contest and secure Tennessee’s series victory.
The Vols still find themselves tied with Vanderbilt for first place in the SEC East at 16-7 with nine games to go. Each win is crucial for the Vols, as the Commodores hold the tiebreaker over Tennessee by virtue of their series win in Knoxville back in April.
Freshman Blade Tidwell will start for Tennessee as it looks to take the finale over Mizzou and complete just its second conference series sweep of the year. The game will start at 2 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on SEC Network +.