KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. 4 Tennessee scored in each of the first six innings to build a big lead but had to stave off a late rally in a 10-8 win over Tennessee Tech on Tuesday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The Vols lead 9-0 entering the eighth inning but some bad luck and uncharacteristic defensive miscues resulted in the Golden Eagles scoring eight unearned runs over the final two innings to make things uncomfortable for the home team. Kirby Connell was able to end the game by getting Gavin Johns to fly out to center field with the tying run on first base.
Tennessee had 10 different players record a hit as it finished with 16 total hits on the night, marking the fifth straight game UT has finished with double-digit base knocks.
Liam Spence had another solid night from the leadoff spot, going 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and an RBI to run his on-base streak to 49 consecutive games played. Jake Rucker (2-for-3, run, RBI), Evan Russell (2-for-3, 2B, run, RBI), Jordan Beck (3-for-5, 2B, run, RBI) and Jackson Greer (2-for-5) all finished with multiple hits on the night.
Sophomore right hander Mark McLaughlin made his fourth start of the year, and aside from a single to start the game, was perfect through three scoreless innings while racking up four strikeouts.
After McLaughlin held the Golden Eagles off the board in the top of the first, the Vols jumped all over Tennessee Tech starter Steven Medrano for four runs on four hits in the bottom of the inning.
Spence singled to lead off the inning and scored the game’s first run on an RBI single by Rucker. Drew Gilbert (groundout), Russell (double) and Beck (single) also drove in runs during the inning.
Tennessee went on to score a one run in each of the next five innings and entered the eighth with a huge lead after Jorel Ortega hit his first-career home run to make it 9-0 in the sixth inning.
The Golden Eagles (18-22) made things interesting with six runs in the top of the eighth to cut their deficit to three. After UT added another insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, TTU scored two more runs in the ninth to cut the Vols’ lead to just two before having their rally fall short with a long flyout to center field to end the game.
The Big Orange used a plethora of arms out of the bullpen as eight different relief pitchers saw action. Freshman lefty Zander Sechrist picked up his second win after retiring the side in order in the fifth.
The Vols (38-11 // 17-7 SEC) now turn their sights towards a massive series against No. 1 Arkansas this weekend at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. First pitch for Friday’s series opener is set for 6:30 p.m. ET on SEC Network+ and the ESPN app.
SPENCE’S STREAKS: Liam Spence extended a pair of impressive streaks with his performance on Tuesday night. The senior shortstop has now reached base in 49 consecutive games played, which is the longest current streak in college baseball. He also extended his hit streak to 10 straight games with two hits on the night.
PILING UP HITS: After cranking out 16 hits on Tuesday, Tennessee has now recorded 10 or more base hits in five straight games and seven of its last nine contests. This weekend’s series against the Razorbacks will feature two of the top hitting teams in the SEC.