Vols advance to first Super Regional in 16 years
2nd ranked Tennessee beats Liberty 3-1 to win the Knoxville Regional
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Lindsey Nelson Stadium has served as a launching pad if you will this weekend for Knoxville Regional batters. An astonishing 31 home runs have been hit through 5 games and that includes 9 by your Tennessee Volunteers.
The Vols smacked four in the opener against Wright St. including Drew Gilbert’s game winning grand slam and they added five more in Saturday’s 9-3 win over Liberty, the team they’ll be facing Sunday night for the right to advance on to the Super Regional round of this 2021 NCAA Baseball Tournament.
Liberty gets two runners on against Vols starter Will Heflin, but the senior left hander gets out of it and the Vols are coming up for their first at bate in front of a jam packed crowd at Lindsey nelson Stadium.
Tennessee goes quietly in the first. A 1-2-3 inning for pitcher Fraser Ellard and the Flames as we head to the Top of the 2nd with no score.
A scoreless second frame at Lindsey Nelson. Flames went quietly in their half of the inning. The Vols would make some noise. Evan Russell got the first hit of the game and would make it all the way to 3rd base. Jordan Beck was then hit by a pitch and after taking 2nd base, the Volunteers had two men in scoring position, but Fraser Ellard would get Pete Derkay to ground out softly to second. We head to the third at Lindsey Nelson.
Flames strand two baserunners in the top half the inning as pitcher Will Heflin gets a strike out to end the frame.
And in the bottom half of the inning it was time for the Vols to get on the board. With two outs, Max ferguson goes the opposite way and doubles into the left-field corner. Jake Rucker then knocks Fergy in from second with a single to right field. Vols take a 1-0 lead after three innings of play.
Will Heflin now has six strikeouts for the game as he and the Vols defense take care of business in the top of the 4th. After scoring 15 runs against Duke into today’s first game, the Flames remains scoreless tonight at Lindsey Nelson.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Vols tried for some more two out magic, but with runners on 2nd and 3rd, catcher Connor Pavolony grounded out to the Liberty shortstop and we go to the 5th with the Vols still leading 1-0.
Senior Will Heflin continues his fine work. He’s given up 5 hits and no runs striking out 7 Liberty batters as we head to the bottom of the inning with the Vols still leading by a run.
And in the bottom half of the inning the Vols and Drew Gilbert strike again! Max ferguson was hit by a pitch and following another Fraser Ellard wild pitch, was on 2nd base when Drew Gilbert, who hit the game winning grand stam Friday night, smacks a deep fly to right giving Tennessee a 3-0 lead.
The home run is Tennessee’s 10th of the Regional and 32nd overall at Lindsey Nelson Stadium this weekend.
A very eventful top of the 6th inning. Starter Will Heflin gets into a jam. The left-hander gives up a run and with runners on first and second, strikes out Liberty slugger Brady Gulakowski after a 14 pitch at bat to end a productive night for him. Heflin leaves the game with 8 strikeouts.
Heflin is replaced by Sean Hunley and with two runners on Henley strikes out Cam Locklear and senior outfielder Jake Wilson. Vols lead 3-1 heading to the bottom of the 6th.
In the bottom half of the frame the Vols would get RF Jordan Beck to second, but he’d be stranded there to end the fram as we head to the 7th with the Volunteers still leading 3-1.
Liberty gets another man on base, but releiver Sean Hunley is able to thwart any threat by getting Aaron Anderson to pop up on what turned out to be an eventful third out of the inning with CF Drew Gilbert losing sight of the ball, but LF Evan Russell was able to pick him up ending the inning. 3-1 Vols and time to stretch!
Nothing doing for the Vols in the bottom half of the 7th. Onto the 8th and another great job of pitching by Sean Hunley. The right-hander holds the Flames at bay as the Vols look to add some insureance in the bottom half of the inning, but nothing doing. Connor Pavalony fouls out to right field. No runs, no hits and no errors as we head to the 9th inning and Tennessee clinging to a 3-1 lead in the Knoxville Regional.
Sean Hunley comes back in to finish the job in the 9th! He finishes with 5 strike outs giving up just one hit in 3 and 2/3 inning’s pitched. Vols win 3-1 and will host either LSU or Oregon next weekend in the Super Regional for the right to advance on to the College Baseball World Series. The Vols are now 17-5 in Regional games played at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The following All-Regional Team was selected by a 16-member voting panel of media covering the Knoxville NCAA Regional June 4-6.
Co-Catcher: Gray Betts, Liberty / Connor Pavolony, Tennessee
First Baseman: Luc Lipcius, Tennessee
Second Baseman: Tyler Black, Wright State
Shortstop: Liam Spence, Tennessee
Third Baseman: Trey McDyre, Liberty
Left Fielder: RJ Schreck, Duke
Center Fielder: Drew Gilbert, Tennessee
Right Fielder: Quincy Hamilton, Wright State
Designated Hitter: Brady Gulakowski, Liberty
Pitcher: Mason Meyer, Liberty
Pitcher: Camden Sewell, Tennessee
Most Outstanding Player: Drew Gilbert, Tennessee
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