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PREVIEW: No. 4 Vols return home to host Lipscomb

Tennessee has won 11 of its 12 meetings against Lipscomb, including six straight entering Tuesday’s contest
Tennessee baseball
Tennessee baseball(Tennessee Athletic Communications)
Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 3:55 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - No. 4 Tennessee opens a four-game homestand with another in-state matchup on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. against Lipscomb.

The Vols are coming off a series win on the road at Texas A&M after winning Sunday’s rubber game, 20-7. The 20 runs scored were the most by Tennessee in an SEC game since defeating Georgia 25-5 on May 8, 2010.

BROADCAST INFO

Tuesday’s game will be streamed live on SEC Network+ and the ESPN app as Roger Hoover (PxP) and Charlie Puleo (color) have the call.

Fans can also listen to the official Vol Network radio call on Sports Radio WNML (FM 99.1 / AM 990), as well as UTSports.com and the UT Gameday app. John Wilkerson and Vince Ferrara will call the action.

PROJECTED STARTING PITCHERS

RHP Jason Rackers (1-0) vs. RHP Ike Buxton (3-3)

SERIES HISTORY

Overall: Tennessee leads, 11-1

In Knoxville: Tennessee leads, 8-0

In Nashville: Tennessee leads, 2-1

Neutral Sites: Tennessee leads, 1-0

Last Meeting: W, 11-2 (April 9, 2019)

Tennessee has won 11 of its 12 meetings against Lipscomb, including six straight entering Tuesday’s contest. The Vols have never lost to the Bisons in Knoxville.

NOTABLE

Rucker & Gilbert Take Home SEC Weekly Honors

Junior third baseman Jake Rucker and sophomore outfielder/pitcher Drew Gilbert both earned SEC weekly honors on Monday after big weekends at Texas A&M.

Rucker was UT’s best hitter last week, leading the team with a .556 batting average, 10 hits, six runs, four doubles, 17 total bases, a .944 slugging percentage and a .579 on-base percentage. Rucker recorded hits in all four games last week and tied his career high with three hits in all three games against Texas A&M over the weekend. The Greenbrier, Tennessee, native went 3-for-5 with two doubles and set a new career high with four runs scored in Sunday’s series finale. He also drove in a pair of runs as the Vols hammered the Aggies, 20-7, to take the series.

Gilbert showcased his versatility last week, doing damage at the plate while also pitching two scoreless innings in Tuesday’s midweek win over Tennessee Tech. The Stillwater, Minnesota, native had a hit in three of Tennessee’s four games and was second on the team with six RBI last week. His six hits also ranked second on the team for the week. Four of those hits came in Sunday’s rubber game at Texas A&M, tying a career high. He also scored two runs and had three RBI on the day to lead UT to an emphatic series-clinching win.

Going Yard

Tennessee has been on a major power surge recently. In the past two weeks, the Vols have hit 20 home runs in a span of just eight games, including nine in their series win at Texas A&M last weekend. The Big Orange blasted a season-high six homers in Sunday’s 20-7 victory to increase their season total to 54, which ranks fourth in the SEC and ninth in nation. Senior Evan Russell has been responsible for 12 of those 54 homers, which is tied for fifth in the SEC and 12th nationally. His 10 long balls in SEC play are the most in the league.

Non-Conference Dominance

UT has been close to unbeatable in non-conference and midweek games in the past couple of years. Since the start of the 2019 season, the Vols are 61-10 against non-conference foes. The Big Orange have also posted an impressive 37-6 record in midweek games since Vitello became head coach in 2018. Tennessee is 20-3 in non-conference games this season, including a 9-1 record in midweek contests.

Tennessee vs. In-State Foes

Tennessee has been successful against in-state competition since Vitello took over as head coach in 2018. The Vols are 20-11 against in-state teams in that span, including a 17-5 record against non-conference in-state foes.

OPPONENT SCOUT

Lipscomb Bisons

2021 Record: 13-22 (5-10 ASUN)

Head Coach: Jeff Forehand (15th season) // Winningest coach in program history (382 wins) and had led the Bisons to two Atlantic Sun titles and the program’s only two NCAA Tournament appearances (2008 & 2015).

Stat Leaders:

Batting Avg: Haddon Adams (.295)

Runs: Haddon Adams (25)

Hits: Haddon Adams/Tiger Borom (33)

Home Runs: Chris Bashlor (5)

RBI: Chris Bashlor (26)

Wins: Tyler Guilfoil/Ike Buxton (3)

ERA (min. 15.0 IP): Tyler Guilfoil (1.11)

ON DECK

The Vols host SEC eastern division foe Kentucky for a Thursday through Sunday series later this week. Thursday’s series opener against the Wildcats is slated for a 7:30 p.m. first pitch on ESPNU.

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