Facing its first deficit of the season, Tennessee battled back to erase a three-run Indiana lead and sweep the Hoosiers with a 5-3 victory on a sunny afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Sophomore Garrett Crochet was lights out in relief, giving up one run on just two hits in 5.1 innings of work to earn his first win of the year. The lefty from Ocean Springs, Miss., helped the Vols get out of a jam on the third inning and went on to tie a career high with nine strikeouts on the day.
Junior third baseman Andre Lipcius had the biggest hit of the afternoon for the Vols, ripping a double to the gap in right center with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth. The hit gave the Orange and White a 4-3 lead that they would not relinquish.
Justin Ammons and Max Ferguson also drove in runs for the Vols while junior right hander Andrew Schultz killed any hope of a comeback for Indiana by striking out the side in the ninth with a bevy of 94-98 mile per hour fastballs. In his two appearances this season, Schultz has struck out six batters in two innings while earning a pair of saves.
A couple of solo home runs by Cade Bunnell and Ryan Fineman in the first and second innings allowed the Hoosiers to jump out to an early 2-0 lead. While another solo shot by third baseman Cole Barr in the fourth increased Indiana's to three before UT's offense finally got going in the bottom of the fourth.
Tennessee starting pitcher Will Neely had an uncharacteristically short outing, going just 2.2 innings before being relieved by Crochet.
The Vols finally got a spark offensively in the bottom of the fourth with back-to-back hits from Evan Russell and Landon Gray. Ferguson drove in Russell with an RBI groundout to get UT on the board heading into the fifth.
The Big Orange carried that momentum into the fifth inning and took their first lead of the game on a three-run, bases-clearing double by Lipcius. The junior was due for a big hit after going 0-for-5 on Saturday despite hitting the ball hard numerous times.
A two-out base hit by Ammons added an insurance run for the Vols' in the sixth. The junior from Memphis roped a 3-2 pitch into center field to score Ricky Martinez from third after he led off the inning with a double down the right-field line.
Tommy Sommer got the start and the loss for the Hoosiers after giving up four runs on four hits in 4.1 innings pitched. No Indiana player had more than one hit in the game.
SPRING CLEANING: With Sunday's win, the Vols recorded their second consecutive weekend series sweep to start the season for first time since 2014 when they took all three from Purdue and UNLV to start the year. It is the first time Tennessee has recorded back-to-back weekend sweeps in a season since doing so in 2017 when it won all three games at the Tony Gwynn Classic in California and followed that up with a sweep over Norfolk State at home the next weekend.
CROCHET TIES CAREER HIGH IN Ks: Sophomore lefty Garrett Crochet tied his career high in strikeouts for the second time in as many appearances this season, sitting down nine Indiana batters on the afternoon. Tennessee pitchers have combined for 89 strikeouts in 63.0 innings of work so far this season. The trio of Crochet, Garrett Stallings and Andrew Schultz have already set or tied their career highs in strikeouts two times apiece this season.
UP NEXT: The Big Orange close out their nine-game homestand with a pair of midweek games against Liberty (Tuesday) and Middle Tennessee (Wednesday). Both games are slated to start at 4:30 p.m. and will be streamed live on SEC Network+ and the WatchESPN app. Tickets are available at AllVols.com and the Lindsey Nelson Stadium ticket office.