Baseball Vols open 2019 season with a win over Appalachian State

Knoxville, Tenn. (WVLT)— Tony Vitelli opens his second season as Tennessee head bask=ball coach with a 6-0 win over Appalachian State.

The Vols broke open what was a close game at 1-0, with two runs each in the 6th and 7th innings and 1 in the 8th. UT pitching was terrific holding the Mountaineers to just one hit. Garrett Stallings gets the win foot the Vols who start out the new season in the win column.

The two teams return to action Saturday afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium with a 2 P.M. first pitch. By the way, first 150 fans receive a free opening weekend long sleeve T-Shirt.

Stallings (1-0) dealt seven scoreless innings, fanning a career-high eight batters in the process to earn the win for the Big Orange. The right-hander out of Chesapeake, Va., retired his final 12 batters in order to complete a successful opening night on the mound.

Will Sprinkle (0-1) took the loss for the Mountaineers, allowing three earned runs on five hits with a pair of strikeouts.

Tennessee (1-0) totaled six runs on 10 hits, headlined by a 2-for-4 performance from cleanup hitter Evan Russell. The outfielder from Lexington, Tenn., cranked a solo homer and a double to left field, in addition to scoring a pair of runs for the Vols. Junior outfielder Jay Charleston (2-for-3, 2B, RBI) also enjoyed a multi-hit effort with a double down the right field line and an infield single to third base.

Leadoff man Justin Ammons (1-for-3, HR, RBI) also went yard for the Vols, while Pete Derkay (1-for-3, 2B, R) and Luc Lipcius (1-for-3, 2B, R, RBI) each knocked doubles deep to right field to round out UT's group of players with extra-base hits.

App State catcher Riley Smith (1-for-3) tallied the only hit for his squad with a single through the right side in the top of the third.

UT plated its first run of the season on a sac fly to left from Charleston in the bottom of the third inning. Lipcius scored on the play after leading the inning off with a double to deep right field. Freshman Jake Rucker (1-for-2, RBI) moved Lipcius over to third with a sharp single to right - the first hit of his collegiate career.

The Vols tacked on a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth to gain a 3-0 cushion over the Mountaineers. Ammons started the frame with a solo shot off the scoreboard in right center, then three batters later, Russell launched a solo home run of his own over the porches in left field.

UT widened its advantage to five runs via back-to-back sac flies from Lipcius and Rucker in the bottom of the seventh. JUCO transfers Al Soularie (1-for-1, R, RBI) and Ricky Martinez (1-for-4, R) each crossed the plate in their Tennessee debuts.

The Vols capped the scoring in the bottom of the eighth when Soularie drove in Russell with an infield single to second base. Russell led the inning off with his second extra-base hit of the night, driving a double to the left field wall before moving to third on a failed pickoff attempt from Mountaineer reliever Cam Roberts.

STALLINGS CRUISES TO CAREER NIGHT: Coming off a standout summer-ball season in the Cape Cod League, Garrett Stallings posted a dominant effort on the mound for the Volunteers Friday night. His eight strikeouts set a new career-high, beating his previous record of five that was recorded three separate times. After giving up a single in the third, the junior from Chesapeake, Va., retired the final 12 batters he faced.

TENNESSEE DEBUTS: Five newcomers made their Big Orange debuts Friday night: Landon Gray, Al Soularie, Ricky Martinez, Jake Rucker and Chase Silseth. Gray, Martinez and Rucker all started for the Vols.