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Tennessee Baseball Completes Sweep of Round Rock Classic

(Photo via Kai Caddy)

Tennessee’s baseball team defeated No. 25 Stanford by a score of 7-2 on Sunday afternoon to sweep the Round Rock Classic, capping off an impressive weekend for the program.

The Vols defeated Texas Tech — who is viewed as the No. 1 team in the country by two different polls — 6-2 on Friday night to open the tournament. They then defeated Houston 8-4 on Saturday in comeback fashion before defeating the Cardinal (1-6) on Sunday.

“We put together a good weekend,” Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello said following the Vols’ win over Stanford. “Any time you can win a game against those three teams, you probably played well.”

Drew Gilbert led the Vols to victory against Stanford. After Elijah Pleasants was unable to make it out of the second inning as Tennessee’s starting pitcher, Gilbert entered with the bases loaded and two outs. The freshman promptly threw two pitches and forced a pop up to left field to get the Vols out of the jam.

Gilbert (W, 1-0) pitched 4.1 of near-perfect innings as he picked up the first win of his career. He allowed one run on five hits and struck out three.

“I just wanted to pound the zone,” Gilbert said. “Just tried to stay ready no matter what situation we were in.”

Pleasants made his second start of the season. Five days after throwing a career-high 5.0 innings in order to pick up his first career win in a mid-week game against Charlotte, the sophomore threw 41 pitches in 1.2 innings of work. He allowed one run on three hits, but he walked three batters which led to him loading the bases in the second inning.

Tennessee’s bats were hot from the jump. The Vols got on the board in the top of the second inning as the designated road team courtesy of an RBI triple from Luc Lipcius. Liam Spence then drove in Lipcius on a sacrifice fly to right field to give Tennessee a 2-0 lead.

Stanford cut the Vols’ lead in half during the bottom half of the inning. After Pleasants loaded the bases, right fielder Tim Tawa hit an RBI single to shortstop. The Cardinal then tied the game in the fifth inning on an RBI double to left field off the bat of designated hitter Christian Molfetta.

The game wouldn’t remain tied for long.

Tennessee took the lead back in the sixth inning courtesy of a throwing error by Stanford catcher Kody Huff. The Vols scored five total runs over the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings to close out the win.

Huff’s error came on a Jake Rucker stolen base at third. Rucker led off the inning with a single before taking second on a wild pitch.

In the seventh inning, Tennessee struck for three runs to extend its lead to 6-2. The Vols began the inning with back-to-back-to-back walks from Alerick Soularie, Max Ferguson, and Zach Daniels. Soularie scored the first run of the inning on a wild pitch with Pete Derkay pinch-hitting. Derkay then hit a two-run single to bring in Ferguson and Daniels.

Tennessee scored its final run of the game in the eighth inning courtesy of an RBI single from Daniels. On the weekend, Daniels went 4-for-12 at the plate with three RBI, three runs scored, three walks, and a home run. The junior outfielder is now hitting .400 in seven games this season with three home runs, 11 RBI, nine runs scored, and six walks.

Redmond Walsh shut the door on Stanford in the midst of the Vols’ offensive outburst late in the game. Walsh picked up his first save of the season as he pitched three scoreless innings to close out the sweep on the weekend. The southpaw didn’t allow a single hit and picked up four strikeouts.

With the sweep this weekend to remain undefeated, Tennessee should find themselves ranked in all the major polls across college baseball this week.

Tennessee now returns to Knoxville for two mid-week games before welcoming George Washington (4-2) to town next weekend for a three-game series beginning on Friday. The Vols will host Northern Kentucky (0-7) on Tuesday before a date with UNC Asheville (2-5) on Wednesday. The first pitches for both games are scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET.

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