Vol baseball makes history with season-opening sweep

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Tennessee completed its domination of Appalachian State on a wet Sunday afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium, downing the Mountaineers 3-0 to record the first season-opening series sweep since 2014.

With Sunday's win, the 2019 Volunteers made a little history by becoming the first team in the entirety of the program to post three consecutive shutouts in a series sweep.

Senior pitcher Will Neely picked up right where he left off last season by working quickly and efficiently while filling the zone with strikes en route to his first victory of the year. The Knoxville native tossed seven shutout innings, allowing six hits and no walks while striking out four batters.

Right-handed relievers Chase Wallace and Andrew Schultz shut the door with two scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Schultz struck out the side in the ninth to earn his first save of the season and second of his career.

Junior college transfer Landon Gray led UT's offensive attack on Sunday, finishing the afternoon 3-for-4 while hitting his first home run as a Vol with a solo shot in the sixth inning.

Sophomore Evan Russell got the scoring started with a solo home run in the second inning, his second of the series and finished opening weekend with team highs in batting average (.400), hits (four), doubles (two) and RBI (four). As a team, the Big Orange totaled four homers and 10 extra-base hits for the series.

The Mountaineers did record their highest hit total of the weekend on Sunday with six. Luke Drumheller and Robbie Young led the charge with a pair of hits each while Phillip Cole and Kyler Decker also added base knocks.

Starting pitcher Cameron Kepley was solid on the day, giving up three runs on four hits in six innings of work, but was stuck with the loss.

MAKING HISTORY: The 2019 team became the first in program history to record a three-game series sweep without allowing a run and just the third squad to post three straight shutouts in a season, joining the 1965 and 1916 teams.

DOMINANT PITCHING RULES THE WEEKEND: The theme of the weekend for UT was dominant pitching from its starters and bullpen. The Vols' pitching staff did not allow a single run and surrendered just nine total hits while holding App State to a .101 team batting average for the series. UT's pitchers also totaled 32 strikeouts over the weekend.

UP NEXT: Tennessee welcomes Northern Kentucky to Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Tuesday. First pitch is slated for 4:30 p.m. and the game will be streamed on SEC Network+ and the WatchESPN App. Get your tickets at AllVols.com!