Vols Down Vandy 6-2 For Record 17th Straight Victory
(utsports.com) NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The college baseball spotlight was shining bright on Hawkins Field on Friday night as top-ranked Tennessee kicked off its three-game series with a 6-2 win over No. 3/9 Vanderbilt.
Tennessee (25-1, 7-0 SEC) used an offensive jolt in the fifth to best the Commodores. Christian Moore was the only Vol to record a multi-hit game, his second in a row, while Jordan Beck and Luc Lipcius drove in a pair of runs and Trey Lipscomb had a game-high two runs scored.
The bullpen was masterful, allowing just one hit in 3.2 innings of work. Camden Sewell nailed down the victory, pitching the final 1.2 innings and striking out a pair. Chase Burns had another great start for the Vols, pitching 5.1 innings and setting down seven hitters via the strikeout to improve to 6-0 on the year.
The Volunteers struck first in the top of the second to take an early 2-0 lead. Lipscomb took a fastball off the elbow guard to reach base, setting up a two-run blast from Lipcius. The veteran slugger got a hanging curveball on a 1-2 count and ripped it high over the fence in right field for his seventh home run of the season.
Vanderbilt (20-5, 4-3 SEC) scored its first run of the game in the bottom of the third as Enrique Bradfield Jr. singled up the middle, then stole second and third before scoring on an RBI groundout.
Tennessee answered with a crooked number in the top of the fifth thanks to a couple assists from the stadium lights. Moore singled with one out before Seth Stephenson sent a flyball high into the brand-new lights of Hawkins Field, which the Commodore outfielders lost track of, resulting in a double. Beck quickly cashed in, lining a double into right center to plate both runners. Later in the inning, Lipscomb also sent a ball high into the lights, which also was lost and fell to the turf, allowing the third baseman to run all the way to third for an RBI triple. He then scored the final run of the inning on a wild pitch to increase the Big Orange lead to 6-1.
Vanderbilt countered with a run of their own in the fifth, but that was as close as they would get for the remainder of the night. Burns started the sixth, but his night finished after a single from Dominic Keegan with one out. Southpaw Will Mabrey was called in from the bullpen and quickly ended the threat, getting a strikeout on three pitches of Gavin Casas. He then got a groundout to keep the Big Orange lead at four through the middle innings of the game.
UT would not relinquish that lead as it finished out the game and earned its seventh straight win to start the conference slate. The Vols will look to continue to match the SEC start of the 1966 team, which was victorious in its first eight conference games, with a win on Saturday.
17 AND COUNTING
With Friday’s win, Tennessee set a new program record for consecutive victories with 17, topping the mark of 16 set in 1994.
First baseman Luc Lipcius smashed his 28th career home run, which moved him into a tie for 10th all-time in big flies with Donnie Ross.
Tennessee won its first series opener in Nashville since May 14, 2009. Tennessee went on to sweep that series against the Commodores, its last series win in the state capital.