Tennessee was looking to secure a top-4 seed in the SEC Tournament and finish the regular season their 5th road series win. Well, the Vols benefited twice on Saturday, as they defeated the Gamecocks and Kentucky defeated Vanderbilt. Tennessee has won the SEC East for the first time since the 1997 season.
As the Vols seem to do most of season, they sprinted out to an early lead, thanks to a big 4th inning. With the game tied 1-1, Connor Pavolony stepped up to the plate with two runners on. On the 1-1 pitch, Pavolony hit a 3-run homer over the center field wall and Tennessee led 5-0.
Connor Pavolony with the 3-Run 💣
— Trey Wallace (@TreyWallace_) May 22, 2021
Blade Tidwell had himself a solid outing, going seven innings. He finished with 6 K’s on the day, giving up 6 hits in the process, some due to some unfortunate infield play. In the 8th inning, Tidwell found himself in a jam, as the Gamecocks put up three consecutive hits and scoring one. It was Sean Hunley who came in for relief, as he gave up 2 hits and 2 runs. But, with the opportunity for South Carolina to either tie it up or take the lead, Hunley got out of the jam, leaving the Vols leading 5-4 heading to the 9th.
After a double to start the bottom 9th, Hunley struck-out the next three batters and the Vols took the series. It was a boisterous celebration for Tennessee after the game, knowing they battled through a tough game and secured the win. Both Evan Russell and Luc Lipcius finished with 2 hits, with Pavolony catapulting the Vols in the 4th.
Tennessee won every single SEC road series this season and never lost back-to-back games, finishing 42-14 and 20-10 in conference play.
The Vols will now head to Hoover, where they will start in the double-elimination round next week.