BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas – A four-run seventh inning for Texas A&M proved to be the difference as No. 5 Tennessee dropped the second half of Saturday’s doubleheader at Blue Bell Park.
The Vols carried a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh, but the Aggies strung together four hits in the inning to score four runs and take the lead and ultimately hold on for the 6-5 victory to even the series.
Kirby Connell was stuck with the loss after allowing all four runs in that seventh inning, dropping his record to 1-1 on the year. The sophomore lefty retired the first four batters he faced before running into trouble in the seventh.
Just like in Game 1, the Vols scored in the top of the first to take an early lead. Spence and Pete Derkay led off the game with back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners before Drew Gilbert drove in the game’s first run with an RBI groundout. Evan Russell followed with a two-out, RBI single to right field to put the Big Orange ahead 2-0.
Jordan Beck extended Tennessee’s lead to three with a solo home run off the videoboard in left field, his eighth homer of the season and first in SEC play.
The Vols struck again in the fourth when Gilbert drove in Spence with a single to right center for his second RBI of the game, putting UT in front 4-0.
The Aggies cut the Vols’ lead in half with one swing in the fourth as Will Frizzell hit a two-run homer to right field to make it a 4-2 game. It was the 13th home run of the season for the senior slugger.
Tennessee added another run with a nice piece of two-out hitting from Luc Lipcius in the top of the seventh. After Russell stole second base to move into scoring position, Lipcius lined a single into right field on a 1-2 count to increase the Vols’ lead to three.
Texas A&M was able to break through in the bottom of the inning, however, plating four runs on four hits to take its first lead of the day. Kalae Harrison, Austin Bost and Frizzell all drove in runs in the inning to put the Aggies up 6-5.
UT had a chance to tie the game in the eighth with runners on first and second with one out, but pinch hitter Trey Lipscomb bounced into a double play to end the inning. Rucker singled to lead off the ninth, but the Vols were able to do anything after as Chandler Jozwiak closed the door for his sixth save of the year.
SPENCE EXTENDS ON-BASE STREAK: After reaching base in both games of Saturday’s doubleheader, Liam Spence extended his on-base streak to 40 consecutive games. Spence had a big day at the dish in Game 2, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored after being held without a hit in Game 1.