#1 Vols Power Past #16 Purple Aces in Super Regional Opener, 11-6
Courtesy / UT Athletics

#1 Vols Power Past #16 Purple Aces in Super Regional Opener, 11-6

Game Recap: Baseball | June 07, 2024

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. 1/1 Tennessee added to its record-breaking home run total with four more in Friday’s 11-6 victory over No. 16/NR Evansville in the opening game of the NCAA Knoxville Super Regional in front of another sellout crowd at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Hunter Ensley continued his scorching hot stretch at the plate with three hits and four RBIs, including a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning to extend UT’s three-run lead to six heading into the final two frames.

Christian MooreBlake Burke and Billy Amick also went deep for the Big Orange as the Vols’ one through three hitters in the order combined for six hits, seven runs, three long balls and five RBIs on the day.

Burke gave the crowd an early jolt with his 18th home run of the year to put the Vols ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning before adding an RBI double in Tennessee’s three-run fifth inning after the Purple Aces tied the game with three unearned runs in the top of the frame.

Amick joined Ensley with three hits of his own while also scoring three runs. The junior third baseman blasted a 429-foot solo homer off the light pole over the left-field porches to cap UT’s three run-third inning that put the Vols ahead 4-2.

Starter Chris Stamos struck out the side in the first before running into a bit of trouble in the second, allowing two runs before handing the ball off to AJ Causey, who went on to strike out eight over 4.2 innings without giving up an earned run. Causey picked up the win to improve to 13-3 on the year and has now earned a victory in six consecutive appearances.

The junior righthander’s 13 wins on the year are tied for the fourth most in Tennessee single-season history with Bronson Heflin, who had 13 in 1994.

Kirby Connell and Aaron Combs combined to pitch the final three innings to shut things down. Connell tossed a pair of scoreless frames in the seventh and the eighth before making way for Combs after allowing a run in the top of the ninth. With the bases loaded and no outs, Combs struck out the next three Evansville hitters to end the game and put the Vols one win away from a return trip to Omaha.

UP NEXT: Tennessee (54-11) will look to wrap up the Knoxville Super Regional and punch its ticket to the Men’s College World Series with a victory on Saturday. First pitch between the Vols and Purple Aces (38-25) is slated for 11 a.m. ET on ESPN2.

STAT OF THE GAME: With Ensley’s seventh-inning long ball, he became the seventh UT player this season to reach double-digit home runs. The Vols have now hit 163 homers as a team this season, which ranks second in NCAA Division I history behind the 1997 LSU team’s 188.