TOP-RANKED VOLS RALLY LATE TO WIN SERIES OPENER ON WEST END
Courtesy / UT Athletics

TOP-RANKED VOLS RALLY LATE TO WIN SERIES OPENER ON WEST END

Game Recap: Baseball | May 10, 2024

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A go-ahead two-run homer from Kavares Tears kick-started a decisive five-run eighth inning for top-ranked Tennessee as it erased a late deficit to win Friday night’s series opener at No. 25/NR Vanderbilt, 8-4, at Hawkins Field in Nashville.

The Vols jumped out to a 3-1 lead through three innings and looked to be in complete control before the Commodores (33-17, 11-14 SEC) rallied in the bottom of the sixth to take a 4-3 lead. Following two quick outs to start the inning, second baseman Camden Kozeal drew a walk to start the rally before three consecutive hits plated three two-out runs for Vandy.

After a scoreless seventh inning, Billy Amick got UT’s rally started with a leadoff single and came around to score one batter later on Tears’ 15th home run of the season to put the Big Orange back in front, 5-4.

Tennessee (41-9, 18-7 SEC) kept the train rolling as Dylan Dreiling tripled to center field and raced home on an RBI single by Hunter Ensley to add to the lead. Cannon Peebles provided the exclamation point with a two-run, pinch-hit home run into the right-field bleachers to give the Big Orange an 8-4 lead, which proved to be plenty for reliever AJ Causey, who finished off the win with back-to-back scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth.

Causey bounced back extremely well from that disappointing sixth inning by retiring the next nine batters and 10 of the final 11 he faced on the night to lock down his team-leading ninth victory of the year. The Alabama native finished with seven strikeouts and allowed just one walk over 6.1 innings of relief.

Chris Stamos provided another solid effort in a starting role, setting a career high with five strikeouts while allowing just one run on two hits in 2.2 innings. After allowing Vandy’s first two batters to reach in the bottom of the first inning, Stamos buckled down and retired the Commodores’ three, four and five hitters to escape the jam unscathed and keep UT’s 2-0 lead intact.

Dreiling led the charge offensively for the Vols, going 3-for-4 with two run-producing hits, both of which came with two outs. Amick and Ensley both had multi-hit efforts as well while Christian Moore started things with a bang, leading off the game with a solo home run, his 22nd of the year. Moore has now hit three leadoff long balls this season.

Vanderbilt reliever Miller Green fell to 1-4 on the year after giving up three runs on three hits in just a third of an inning after taking over for starter Bryce Cunningham, who rebounded well from a rocky start to pitch 6.2 solid innings while amassing 10 strikeouts.

Jacob Humphrey drove in three of the Dores four runs with a solo homer and a two-run single.

STAT OF THE GAME: With Friday’s victory, Tennessee ran its win streak against Vanderbilt to eight consecutive games, matching its longest winning streak against the Commodores since May 9, 1993, through May 19, 1994.

UP NEXT: The Volunteers will look to win their eighth straight SEC series when they head back to Hawkins Field on Saturday afternoon for a 3 p.m. ET contest that will be televised on the SEC Network.