In a flip of the script from what the Vols have shown this season, the bats kept them in control in their 17-9 win over Gonzaga to complete the series sweep.
In its 11-game win streak, Tennessee (11-2) has allowed just 11 runs in that span and have relied on pitching to stay in games until the bats wake up. That wasn’t in the cards on Sunday, but the Vols’ offense showed up in a huge way en route to their second-highest run total of the year.
Drew Beam had a solid but not great outing in his third appearance of the season. At times he looked very sharp but it was by far his worst outing of the season.
“It was good for him to experience it,” head coach Tony Vitello said. “We talked yesterday about if you are going to be a winning team, you gotta find a way to win different games, and we won a sloppy game today. Or call it back and forth if you want, and Drew is right in the middle of it. So it helps him as well. But he’s got higher standards than anybody.”
That doesn’t mean much considering how good his first two outings were, but it was still a subpar performance by his standards. Entering the day, Beam had 11.1 innings under his belt, allowing just four hits, 10 strikeouts and no runs allowed.
Beam allowed a double early in the first inning, but he was able to regroup and retire the side with a groundout and a strikeout. That was the theme for the second inning with two on base, and he was able to put it together again to strand them both.
However, fate didn’t repeat itself when he once again found runners on first and second with no outs in the third. Brian Kalmer got an RBI-single, and Savier Pinales reached home on a sac fly to put Gonzaga up 2-0.
Fortunately for the Vols, the bats exploded in the bottom of the second to build a sizable 8-2 lead to give Beam a nice cushion. He allowed another run in the fourth and found himself with a runner on second.
His night ended there and Bryce Jenkins came in for him only to give up a home run to his first batter, which yet again was Kalmer.
Kalmer went on to homer two more times against three different pitchers and had his way all night, including a two-out solo blast in the ninth.
The bullpen was uncharacteristically subpar with all four relievers giving up a home run. However, the success of the bats allowed them to struggle as the Vols still coasted for the win.
Up next for the Vols is Boston College, who is currently on an eight-game win streak. Tennessee will be looking to continue their own streak to 12 games.
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