No. 3 Vols drop Sunday rubber game to No. 2 Vanderbilt
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UT Athletics) – No. 3 Tennessee was unable to contain the bats of No. 2 Vanderbilt in a 10-4 loss in Sunday’s rubber game at Lindsey Nelson Stadium, dropping its first series of the season.
The Commodores finished the game with 12 hits and scored seven of their 10 runs with two outs. Five players had multiple hits for Vandy on the day, led by designated hitter Jack Bulger, who went 3-for-4 with two RBI, and leadoff man Enrique Bradfield Jr., who reached based four times, stole four bases and scored three runs. The first four hitters in the Commodores’ lineup all had multi-hit days and combined for nine of the teams 12 total hits.
The Vols did display some impressive power with four home runs for the second consecutive game. All four of UT’s runs came courtesy of solo shots from Max Ferguson, Jake Rucker, Evan Russell and Jackson Greer. Luc Lipcius had the Vols’ only other hit in the game with a single.
After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first, the Vols responded quickly with back-to-back home runs from Ferguson and Rucker in the bottom of the inning to take a 2-1 lead. It marked the second straight game that UT hit back-to-back homers after Connor Pavolony and Russell accomplished the feat in Saturday’s win.
Following a scoreless second inning, Vanderbilt (28-6 // 11-4 SEC) regained the lead with two runs in the third before scoring three runs in the fourth to take a 6-2 advantage.
Russell hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth to cut the deficit to three, his fourth long ball of the series, to give Tennessee some life, however, that would be as close as the Vols would get for the remainder of the afternoon as the Dores scored two runs each in the fifth and sixth innings to take a 10-3 lead.
Greer’s solo shot in the seventh, his first homer as a Volunteer, rounded out the scoring on the day.
Freshman right hander Blade Tidwell looked good through two innings but struggled in the third and fourth before being pulled. He was stuck with the loss after allowing four runs on six hits and a walk in three innings pitched.
Mark McLaughlin and Redmond Walsh had solid performances out of the bullpen, combining for 3.1 shutout innings to finish the game.
The Vols (29-8 // 10-5 SEC) will take on another in-state foe this coming Tuesday night when Tennessee Tech comes to town. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. and the game will be streamed on Watch ESPN and the ESPN app.
RUSSELL HOMERS AGAIN: With a solo home run in the fourth inning, Evan Russell hit his fourth dinger of the series after a three-homer day in Saturday’s win. The senior from Lexington, Tennessee, leads the team with 10 four baggers this season and 10 of his 21 hits on the year have left the yard.
POWER SURGE: For the second straight game, the Vols blasted four home runs. All four of their long balls on Saturday were of the solo variety and came from four different players, marking the first time this season that UT has had four separate players homer in a game. Jackson Greer’s seventh-inning homer was the first as a Volunteer for the Knoxville native who joined the team this season as a graduate transfer from ETSU. He is the 13th different player to homer for Tennessee this season.
HALFWAY THROUGH SEC PLAY: At the halfway point of conference play, the Vols boast a 10-5 record, which is its best through 15 games since also going 10-5 in 2005, the last UT team to make it to the College World Series.