The No. 5 Tennessee baseball team took game one of the series in Saturday’s doubleheader against Texas A&M, as Chad Dallas was dominant at Blue Bell Park. After their 6-1 win, the Vols improve to 31-8 overall and 11-5 in the SEC, while the Aggies drop to 22-18 this season with a 4-12 SEC record.
Jake Rucker was the big bat of the day for the Vols. The third baseman went 3-for-4, including two doubles to help him drive in a run and scored two more. Evan Russell tallied two hits, drove in a run and scored one as well. Connor Pavolony hit a solo shot, and Max Ferguson slashed a two-run single.
The Aggies struggled to generate anything on offense. A&M recorded just one run, on five hits, and they struck out seven times and left four runners on, as a unit. Kalae Harrison platted the lone run for the Aggies, an RBI single to right field.
The Vols exploded on offense early in game one. Rucker kicked off the game with a solo shot at the top of the fist to put Tennessee up 1-0. In the top of the second, the first two batters reached base for the Vols to put runners at first and second with nobody gone. Tennessee scored after a throwing error from the Aggies.
A&M would strike out the next two batters and then intentionally walk Liam Spence to bring Ferguson to the plate with bases juiced and one gone. Ferguson broke the game wide open after smacking a two-run single to right field, giving the Vols a 4-0 lead.
The next Tennessee run was off the bat of Russell, who drove an RBI double down the line to give the Vols a 5-0 edge. Texas A&M got on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning. Harrison came to the plate with runners at first and second with just one out. The Aggies shortstop, down two strikes, fought off a pitch to right field to bring home Ty Coleman, cutting the lead to 5-1 Tennessee.
The final run of the game came courtesy of Pavolony who led off the top of the 6]sixth with a solo home run to left field, giving Tennessee a 6-1 lead and the eventual win.
Chad Dallas took the bump for Tennessee in game one of the series and he delivered. The Vols’ ace scattered just a run on five hits while striking out five, over 7.0 innings of work. After today, Dallas has improved to 6-1 this season. Sean Hunley entered in relief and faced the minimum in 2.0 innings.
The Aggies countered with Saenz who threw well despite some bad luck early on. The lefty gave up six runs (three earned), on eight hits and two walks through 6.0 innings. Weber relieved Saenz in the seventh inning and did not allow a hit while punching out two over 3.0 innings.
Game two of this SEC series will begin 45 minutes after game one. The finale is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. in Bryan-College Station, Texas.