KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It was a home run derby early at Lindsey Nelson Stadium Saturday evening as Tennessee baseball picked up where they left off Friday night.
The Vols came out swinging with leadoff hitter Liam Spence hit one deep over right field, putting Tennessee on the board first with a solo home run.
Luc Lipcius followed suit in the top of the second knocking the ball out of the park and into the right field parking lot for Tennessee’s second home run of the game. A single from Pete Durkay and walk for Connor Pavolony set Spence up for a three-run shot to left center to extend the Vols lead, 5-0.
Tennessee kept its foot on the gas in the top of the third. Drew Gilbert hit his eighth home run of the season with a solo shot to center field, complimented by Lipcius’ second home run of the game and his 15th of the season to give the Vols a healthy 7-0 lead over the Flames.
The Vols five home runs set a new program record in the NCAA Tournament according to Tennessee.
It was all Vols until the bottom of the sixth when shaky defense lead to the Flames getting o the board. Freshman right-handed pitcher Blade Tidwell pitched 5.2 innings, throwing 106 pitches, allowed four hits, three walks and three strikeouts before exiting the game after Liberty capitalizes on an error, scoring an unearned run to get on the board for the first time in the game.
Sophomore left-handed pitcher Kirby Connell took over on the mound, pitching 0.1 innings. The Flames added two hits and capitalized on another errors from the Vols in the stretch, adding two runs to cut the deficit 9-3 to end the sixth.
Junior right handed pitcher Camden Sewell took over on the bump and got the Vols out of a bind in the seventh inning, striking out Will Wagner and closing out the inning with a double play to keep the Flames at bay.
The Vols re-ignited the offense in the top of the eighth. Pete Durkay hit a two-out single that drove in two runs for the Vols, adding some insurance heading into the final inning.
The Vols allow one more base hit before shutting it down, sending Liberty to the losers bracket with a 9-3 victory.
Up Next: Tennessee advances to its seventh regional final in program history. The Vols will play the winner of the Liberty vs. Duke game on Sunday. The first pitch is set for 6 P.M.