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No. 4 Vols take series opener at No. 15 South Carolina, 10-4

A sixth-run fourth inning provided No. 4 Tennessee all the runs it would need in a 10-4 series-opening win over No. 15 South Carolina on Thursday night at Founders Park.
Tennessee baseball
Tennessee baseball(Tennessee Athletic Communications)
Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 11:41 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A sixth-run fourth inning provided No. 4 Tennessee all the runs it would need in a 10-4 series-opening win over No. 15 South Carolina on Thursday night at Founders Park.

The Volunteers recorded five of their 12 hits during the six-run fourth, including a pair of two-run homers from Luc Lipcius and Max Ferguson to take a 7-0 lead. Ferguson and Lipcius both finished with two hits, three RBI and a run scored.

Pete Derkay also had a nice night at the, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI double, including UT’s first hit of the game in the third inning. Five Vols finished with multiple hits on the night.

Chad Dallas bounced back from a tough start last weekend with a great performance on Thursday night to earn the win and improve to 9-1 on the year. The Texas native retired 10 batters in a row at one point and finished with eight strikeouts in a career-high 7.2 innings pitched.

The Vols opened the scoring with a run in the top of the third. Derkay recorded the first hit of the game with a leadoff single to center field before Connor Pavolony reached on a walk. Liam Spence advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt and Ferguson got the job done with a sacrifice fly to score Derkay and give UT a 1-0 lead.

After Dallas retired the side in order to end the third, Tennessee exploded for six runs on five hits in the top of the fourth to chase Gamecock’s starter Brannon Jordan. Lipcius and Ferguson both hit two-run bombs to right field while Derkay and Pavolony both had RBI hits in the inning, as well.

South Carolina responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning as Wes Clarke hit his SEC-leading 21st homer of the year to cut UT’s lead to 7-2.

The Gamecocks pulled within three on another two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth by Andrew Eyster. Sean Hunley came on in relief of Dallas and got Braylen Wimmer to strike out looking to end the inning.

A two-out rally gave the Big Orange some more insurance runs in the top of the ninth. After Ferguson was picked off at first for out No. 2, Rucker singled up the middle and came all the way around to score one batter later on a triple by Gilbert off the right-field wall. Evan Russel followed with an RBI double and Lipcius came through with an RBI single to make it 10-4.

Hunley allowed a single in the ninth but induced a double-play ball and another ground out to end the game and earn his sixth save of the year.

The Vols will go for the series win tomorrow at 7 p.m. in game two of the series. Fans can watch the action live on SEC Network+ and the ESPN app.

SKID SNAPPED: Entering Thursday night’s contest, Tennessee had lost 11 straight road games at South Carolina. The win was the Vols’ first in Columbia since a 5-4 victory on April 6, 2012.

BIG FLIES: Luc Lipcius and Max Ferguson both hit their 10th homers of the season during UT’s six-run fourth inning. The Vols have now homered in 14 of their last 15 SEC games and have hit multiple long balls in nine of those contests.

DOUBLE-DIGIT RUNS: Thursday night’s 10-run output marked the eighth time this season that Tennessee has scored double-digit runs in an SEC game and the 15-time overall this year. The Vols are 15-0 in those games this season.

#ROADVOLS: Tennessee improved upon its SEC-best road record with Thursday’s victory over the Gamecocks. The Vols are now 15-4 on the road this season and 10-3 in road conference games.

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