Tennessee Baseball Upsets No. 1 Texas Tech

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(Photo via Tennessee Athletics)

Tennessee baseball defeated No. 1 Texas Tech 6-2 on Friday night behind an impressive pitching performance on the mound.

The Vols (5-0) allowed just six Red Raider hits following an opening weekend where Texas Tech (4-1) scored 64 runs in a four-game sweep of Houston Baptist and Northern Colorado.

Texas Tech is ranked No. 1 by two different polls — Collegiate Baseball and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association — and ranked inside of the top-six of all six major collegiate baseball polls.

Chad Dallas (W, 2-0) made his second career start for the Vols on the opening day of the Round Rock Classic, which is being held in Round Rock, Texas. The field is made up of four teams, which consists of the Vols, the Red Raiders, Houston, and No. 25 Stanford.

Dallas pitched five innings on Friday night. The sophomore allowed two runs on five hits and struck out a season-high eight batters on 94 pitches. Dallas allowed just two walks and one extra base hit. Over two-thirds (64) of his pitches were strikes.

Sean Hunley relieved Dallas to start the sixth inning. The junior right-hander proceeded to pitch four scoreless innings on his way to recording his second save of the season. Hunley allowed one hit and struck out five. He gave up two walks on 70 pitches.

At the plate, Tennessee quickly provided Dallas with run support. As the designated home team, the Vols scored three runs in the bottom of the first.

Zach Daniels began the scoring two batters into the game when he lined a ball into right field. The Texas Tech right fielder dove for the baseball and missed, allowing the Vols designated hitter to fly around the bases for an inside the park home run.

Two batters later in the inning, Evan Russell drew a walk, bringing freshman right fielder Jordan Beck to the plate. Beck then slugged his first career home run, a two-run shot to left field that put Tennessee up 3-0.

Daniels’ inside the park home run was Tennessee’s first inside the park home run since April 23, 2016. The junior outfielder was 2-for-4 on the evening with two runs scored and an RBI. Daniels hit a key double in the seventh inning to spark Tennessee’s final run of the game.

With Dallas dealing on the mound, Jake Rucker slugged his third home run of the season. Rucker’s homer over the left field bullpen extended Tennessee’s lead to 4-1. The sophomore infielder has now hit three home runs in five games this season after not hitting a single one in 61 games as a freshman a season go.

Texas Tech scored its only two runs of the game in the third and fourth inning. In the third, the Red Raiders scratched a run across on an RBI groundout. Then in the fourth, they scored courtesy of a sacrifice fly which cut the Tennessee lead to 4-2.

After Daniels reached on a double in the seventh following Rucker’s home run in the sixth, Rucker laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Daniels to third. Russell then hit a sacrifice fly to extend the Vols’ lead to 6-2.

Clayton Beeter (L, 1-1) started for Texas Tech on the mound. Beeter pitched 4.0 innings, allowing four runs on five hits. He struck out eight, but he also walked three batters.

The Vols are back in action on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET against Houston (2-2). RHP Chase Wallace (1-0, 0.00 ERA) is expected to start for Tennessee.

Houston beat No. 25 Stanford 11-4 on Friday afternoon before Tennessee’s game with Texas Tech. The Vols will face Stanford (1-4) on Sunday at noon to conclude the Round Rock Classic.

Ben McKee
Ben McKee is a graduate from the University of Tennessee and has a degree in Journalism and Electronic Media. He grew up an Army brat and lived in Alabama for a bit, but he bleeds orange. He covers Tennessee football, basketball, baseball, and the Lady Vols for RTI, and he's also a co-host on the RTI Live Show and RTI Podcast. You can also hear Ben on the morning sports radio show "The Swain Event." He's the producer and co-host along with former Vol wide receiver Jayson Swain.