No. 9 Vols complete sweep of No. 14 Tigers on Lipcius walk-off single in extras

Tennessee is off to its best start in conference play since 2001
Published: Mar. 28, 2021 at 7:23 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - No. 9 Tennessee completed its first series sweep over LSU since 2008 with a 3-2 walk-off win in extra innings in Sunday’s series finale at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Luc Lipcius came up with the big hit with an RBI single to center field in the bottom of the eighth to give the Volunteers their second walk-off win of the day and fourth this season. Sunday’s game was scheduled to be just seven innings but ended up going to extras after the Tigers tied the game at two in the sixth.

Liam Spence led the Big Orange with three hits and a pair of runs scored, including the game-winner after leading off the bottom of the eighth with a single to center field. Pete Derkay and Jake Rucker also added hits on the day.

Sean Hunley earned his second win in a matter of hours and improved to 4-0 on the year after pitching 2.1 shutout innings of relief, allowing just one hit.

True freshman Blade Tidwell got the start and was solid once again, allowing two runs in 5.2 innings while tying a career high with seven strikeouts.

The Vols (21-4 // 5-1 SEC) struck first in Sunday’s series finale, scratching across a run in the first on an RBI fielder’s choice from Drew Gilbert that scored Derkay, who doubled earlier in the inning.

UT doubled its lead on an RBI groundout from Jordan Beck in the third before LSU (16-8 // 1-5 SEC) scored a run in the fourth and sixth to tie the game at two.

A leadoff single from Spence started Tennessee’s charge in the eighth inning. After Spence advanced to third on a ground out and a balk, the Tigers decided to intentionally walk Rucker and Gilbert to load the bases with one out. After getting Beck to strike out, it looked like LSU might get out of the jam, but Lipcius lined a 2-2 pitch into center field that ricocheted off the glove of a diving Will Safford for the game-winning hit.

Tigers reliever Garrett Edwards was stuck with the loss after giving up two hits and one run in 0.2 innings. LSU starter AJ Labas was solid throughout his outing, allowing just two runs on four hits in seven innings of work.

Tennessee will cap off a five-game homestand with a midweek game against Western Carolina on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. before traveling to Alabama next weekend.

VOLS OFF TO IMPRESSIVE START IN SEC PLAY: With this weekend’s series sweep, Tennessee is now 5-1 in SEC games this year, its best start in conference play since 2001 when it started 8-1. It is also the first time the Vols have won each of their first two conference series since 2001 when they swept Florida and took two of three from South Carolina. The Big Orange have also posted four series sweeps already this year, their most in a season since sweeping six opponents in 2004.

WALK-OFF WINS APLENTY: The Vols posted their fourth walk-off win of the season in Sunday’s series finale. All four of UT’s walk-off wins have come in extra innings. The Big Orange are 5-0 in extras this season and have won six straight extra-inning games dating back to 2019.

2020 Walk-Off Wins

Feb. 27 vs. Indiana State (6-5) – Error in 11th Inning

March 16 vs. ETSU (9-6) – Jordan Beck 3-Run HR in 10th Inning

March 27/28 vs. LSU (9-8) – Drew Gilbert Solo HR in 11th Inning

March 28 vs. LSU (3-2) – Luc Lipcius single in 8th Inning

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