The No. 19 Tennessee men’s baseball team completed a 5-3 comeback over Georgia Southern Saturday afternoon. Sophomore outfielder Drew Gilbert was the difference maker for the Vols, as he hit two home runs, including the go-ahead shot in the ninth inning.
Two freshmen pitchers made their respective debuts on the mound as today’s starters, Blade Tidwell for Tennesse and Chase Dollander for GSU.
Dollander was simply dominant for the Eagles. The right-hander went 5.2 innings and gave up three hits, one earned run and one walk, while striking out eight. He sat around the mid-90s with his fastball and had good command of the pitch. His lone mistake of the day was a third inning solo home run he gave up to Gilbert.
Tidwell’s debut was not as sharp as his counterpart. He went 4.0 innings, allowing two runs, one earned and a walk with two strikeouts. In the second inning, Tidwell allowed a leadoff hit to Noah Ledford. Tidwell struggled to command his stuff. He threw two wild pitches in the frame, and Ledford came around to score.
Two innings later, Tidwell walked JP Tighe with two outs in the fourth. The next batter, Jason Swan, hit an RBI double that gave Georgia Southern a 2-1 lead.
In the fifth inning, Camden Sewell, who came on in relief of Tidwell, gave up another run on an RBI hit to Mason McWhorter, making it a 3-1 game, where it would stay until the eighth.
Freshman Jorel Ortega opened the inning with a walk, and junior Christian Scott followed it with a base hit. The next two Vols struck out, before junior Jake Rucker tied the score at 3-3 with a two-run single.
In the top of the ninth, junior Connor Pavolony led off with a walk, and the next batter, Gilbert, struck again on his second home run of the day. This time, it was a two-run homer that gave Tennessee a 5-3 lead.
Senior left-hander Redmond Walsh, who earned the save last night, close the door in the bottom of the ninth, and the Vols won their second game of the year.
Tennessee will go for the series sweep tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET. UT has not yet announced its starter, but GSU will counter with lefty Braden Hays. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.