Late Rally Comes Up Just Short in 10-8 Loss to #16 Evansville
Courtesy / UT Athletics

Late Rally Comes Up Just Short in 10-8 Loss to #16 Evansville

Game Recap: Baseball | June 08, 2024

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – A furious ninth-inning rally came up just short as No. 1/1 Tennessee dropped game two of the NCAA Knoxville Super Regional by a score of 10-8 to No. 16/NR Evansville on Saturday afternoon in front of another record-setting crowd at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

It was all Vols in the early going, as they raced out to a 4-0 lead after two innings behind three first-inning solo home runs and a Blake Burke sacrifice fly.

The middle innings were a different story as the Purple Aces (39-25) outscored UT 10-1 in the fourth, fifth and sixth, recording 11 of their 13 hits in those frames.

The Big Orange, on the other hand, were held without a hit for three straight innings before their ninth-inning comeback bid. Tennessee loaded the bases and scored a pair of runs before Evansville could record an out and cut the deficit to two with a sacrifice fly from Dean Curley.

After pinch hitter Cannon Peebles drew a walk to reload the bases with one out, Aces reliever Shane Harris struck out the next two batters to end the rally and earn his fourth save of the year.

Hunter Ensley was the only Vol to finish the day with multiple hits, going 2-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs. Dylan Dreiling scored three of Tennessee’s eight runs after hitting his 20th home run of the year and drawing a pair of walks.

Kip Fougerousse and Cal McGinnis led the charge for Evansville, as the duo combined for five hits, four runs and six RBIs. The Purples Aces’ hitters delivered time and again in clutch situations, scoring seven of their 10 runs with two outs while going 4-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

Drew Beam held the Purple Aces hitless through the first three innings but gave up five runs on five hits over his next 1.2 innings before handing the ball off to the bullpen. Kirby Connell and Nate Snead both had uncharacteristically tough outings, allowing four runs on five hits in the fifth and sixth innings.

Andrew Behnke and JJ Garcia were able to calm the waters with 2.1 frames of one-run ball to keep the Vols within striking distance before their rally in the top of the ninth.

UP NEXT: Tennessee and Evansville square off in a decisive rubber game on Sunday night with the winner advancing to the Men’s College World Series. First pitch for Sunday’s contest is slated for 6 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

STAT OF THE GAME: For the first time in program history, the Vols have three players with 20 or more home runs in a single season after Dreiling joined Christian Moore and Billy Amick in the 20-plus homer club after his first-inning solo blast.