Vols use big 9th inning rally to advance to Super Regionals 9-6
Tennessee will host Notre Dame in the Super Regional.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee has a chance Sunday to make its second straight Super Regional. The Vols square off against the second-seeded Georgia Yellow Jackets at 7 p.m. inside Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
On Saturday, Tennessee broke the program record for single-season wins with a thrilling 12-7 triumph over Campbell. In doing so, UT said ‘hello’ to the win column for the 55th time this year.
Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech
Seth Stephenson led off with a single past second base where he moved four pitches later when Luc Lipcius reached base on balls. Jordan Beck struck out swinging and Drew Gilbert grounded into a textbook 4-3 double play to end the top of the frame.
Freshman Drew Beam earned the start on the bump for the Big Orange. The SEC Freshman of the Year walked the first batter he faced but settled in to force a pop out and a grounder to Jorel Ortega that turned into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Tennessee’s leadoff man reached for a second inning in a row when Trey Lipscomb singled through the left side. Ortega and Blake Burke struck out. Evan Russell returned to the starting lineup, batting eighth at catcher. He was jammed and grounded out to second to end the top of the inning.
Beam used just six pitches in the bottom of the 2nd thanks to some help from his teammates. Seth Stephenson ran a country mile to track down a fly ball in left field for the first out. Cortland Lawson made the final two outs - a grounder and a line drive right at him.
Tennessee’s leadoff success continued in the top of the third as Lawson singled to left center. Stephenson reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second. Lipcius and Jordan Beck became tennessee’s fourth and fifth strikeout victims of the night as Tennessee ended the top of the 3rd 0-5 with runners in scoring position.
Beam forced a ground out to first to start the bottom of the third before issuing his first walk of the game. Jadyn Jackson hit a double to right center to advance Tech’s runner to third with one out. Beam picked a good time to record his first strikeout - getting Chandler Simpson to swing and miss for the second out of the inning.
Tech struck first in the bottom of the third when Cortland Lawson fielded a hard grounder but misfired to first. Two runners came home to give the Jackets a 2-0 lead before Beam ended the inning with a strikeout. Ortega reached on a two-out single to left and advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch before Burke struck out to end the top of the 4th. The out made Tennessee 0-6 with runners in scoring position.
Beam worked a two-pitch groundout to first before allowing a single to left. Tech’s Stephen Reid took Beam yard six pitches later to double the lead, 4-0.
The next two Yellow Jacket batters proved patient - drawing seven and eight-pitch walks respectively. Tony Vitello called for a pitching change after the consecutive bases on balls - electing to go with LHP Will Mabrey. The Cookeville native struck out his first batter and forced a ground out to second to end the 4th inning.
Evan Russell and Cortland Lawson reached base on balls to start the 5th inning. Georgia Tech made a mound visit but kept starting pitcher Zach Maxwell on the bump to face Seth Stephenson and the top of Tennessee’s lineup. Maxwell recorded his eighth strikeout of the game by putting one by Stephenson. Lipcius then put a hard hopper to first which was mishandled. The super senior reached on a fielding error and helped plate Evan Russell from 2nd - Tennessee’s first run of the game. Jordan Beck then grounded out to third, but Cortland Lawson was able to score to cut UT’s deficit in half, 4-2.
Mabrey struck out Georgia Tech’s leadoff man to start the bottom of the 5th but then allowed two consecutive singles. He bounced back by striking out Tim Borden for the second out. Stephen Reid - who took Beam long for a two-run home run earlier in the game - singled to short but Lawson was able to stop the hard grounder in front of him. Ortega snagged the rebound and fired home where Russell beat Andrew Jenkins with the tag and kept the Yellow Jackets off the board.
Tennessee loaded the bases in the top of the 6th after an Ortega single and Russell and Lawson walked. Seth Stephenson struck out looking on an inside pitch to end the threat. Up to this point in the game, Tennessee was 0-15 with a runner on and 0-11 with runners in scoring position.
Mabrey struck out the leadoff Georgia Tech batter, forced a ground out to first and ended the 6th with another strikeout - his fifth in 2.2 innings of work.
Lipcius recorded Tennessee’s first extra-base hit of the game with a leadoff double in the top of the 7th. Jordan Beck singled to short and advanced Lipcius to second. Gilbert grounded out at first but pushed the duo to third and second with one out. Trey Lipscomb then poked an RBI single into shallow right to bring Lipcius home and cut Tennessee’s deficit to one run. Ortega grounded into a double play to end the top of the frame.
Georgia Tech’s leadoff man reached on a throwing error by Lawson and advanced to second after a single by Kevin Parada. A groundout advanced the runners to second and third with one out. Mabrey was able to get out of the jam by popping up the next two batters to left and center and ended the bottom of the 7th with a clean sheet.
Another leadoff man reaches, another goose egg on the scoreboard for Tennessee in the top of the 8th. Blake Burke walked to start things off. Evan Russell grounded into a double play and Lawson flew out to center.
Mabrey allowed a leadoff single and was pulled for the night. Redmond Walsh came in and threw three pitches to record three outs and end the inning.
Jared Dickey came in to pinch hit for Seth Stephenson in the top of the ninth and reached on a single up the middle. Kyle Booker came in to pinch hit for Dickey and advanced to second on a fielder’s choice that would be reviewed and overturned to put Lipcius on first. Beck came up and doubled to deep center field to tie the game up at 4.
Georgia Tech intentionally walked Drew Gilbert to load the bases with nobody out. Trey Lipscomb was then hit by a pitch to bring Lipcius home with the go-ahead run, 5-4. Ortega then reached on a fielder’s choice that saw Beck out at home for the first out of the inning.
Christian Moore came in to pinch hit for Christian Scott and singled past short to plate Lipscomb and Gilbert and make it 7-4. Russell then singled to the exact same spot to score Ortega and make it 8-4. After a Georgia Tech pitching change, Lawson flew out to left to plate another run for Tennessee - its 6th of the inning.
Coming into Sunday’s game, Tennessee was just 1-5 this season when trailing after 8 innings.
The Vols take down Georgia Tech 9-6 and will play Notre Dame in the Super Regionals.
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