No. 2 Vols strike for 17 runs to complete series sweep of Gonzaga
Jared Dickey’s grand slam brought his RBI total up to 13 on the young season.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Attempting to complete their seventh consecutive non-conference series sweep, the No. 2 Tennessee Volunteers took the diamond against the Gonzaga Bulldogs Sunday for the series finale and dispatched the preseason West Coast Conference favorite, 17-9, on a sunny afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Following a similar script to the previous night’s outing, the Zags (1-10) manufactured an early 2-0 lead on an RBI single from Brian Kalmer and a sacrifice fly from Tommy Eisenstat – the first blemishes in sophomore starting pitcher Drew Beam’s 13.2 innings of work to that point.
Tennessee (11-2) answered immediately with a big inning, highlighted by a Jared Dickey grand slam off the scoreboard in right center. A single by sophomore Christian Moore and back-to-back walks from Blake Burke and Zane Denton chased Gonzaga starting pitcher Nate Deschreyver and brought in senior right hander Ty Buckner. Dickey welcomed Buckner by hitting UT’s first grand slam this season. The slam brought Dickey’s RBI total to 13 on the young season.
Moore (2-for-3, 2 H, HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 3 SB, 3 R) left no aspect of the game un-impacted. His homer over the batter’s eye in center field in his second at-bat of the third inning plated two of Tennessee’s eight total runs in the frame and gave the Vols a commanding 8-2 lead they would not relinquish. Moore has also now reached base in every game this season and extended his streak to 18 consecutive games dating back to last season.
Pitching with the lead, Beam finished with a no-decision and a final line of four innings pitched, three earned runs allowed on seven hits, a walk and three strikeouts.
Junior right-hander Bryce Jenkins picked up his first win for the Vols after transferring from Cleveland State Community College, tossing 1.2 innings of relief.
Meanwhile, the Orange and White continued to hang crooked numbers on the scoreboard. Senior outfielder Griffin Merritt put his third homer of the season over the right field fence in the fourth inning to give the team it’s fourth game of the season scoring 10 or more runs, a feat accomplished 29 times last season.
Junior shortstop Maui Ahuna had his first high impact game for the Volunteers, finishing his day 1-for-4 with a double, four RBIs, a walk and a run scored.
UP NEXT: The Vols will take their 11-game winning streak back to Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Tuesday, March 10 at 6:30 p.m. for a mid-week showdown with Boston College.
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