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Bases-Clearing Double Buries Vols as LSU Wins Series Opener

Chase Dollander vs. LSU//Photo via Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee baseball (20-7, 3-4 SEC) fell short of a series-opening win against LSU (23-2, 5-2 SEC) in Baton Rouge on Thursday, losing to the top-ranked Tigers, 5-2.

The Vols lost a highly-competitive game that featured great pitching from both sides. Tennessee committed a key error in the eighth inning that ultimately led to a bases-clearing double from LSU’s shortstop Jordan Thompson, a hit that served as the death knell for the Vols.

Here’s a few takeaways from Tennessee’s seventh loss of the season.

Dollander Works Through Early Trouble

Chase Dollander was not flawless in the first handful of innings against a daunting Tigers lineup, but the Vols’ ace did a wonderful job to work out of trouble more than once.

LSU got going early in the first inning with a leadoff double form Gavin Dugas and walk from Tre’ Morgan. But Dollander retired his next three batters to get out of the jam and not allow a first-inning run for the third time this season.

After a 1-2-3 second inning, Dollander worked around trouble again in the third. The junior walked a pair to kickoff the bottom of the frame then got Tre’ Morgan to ground into a double play and Dylan Crews to fly out.

Dollander’s outing was not elite, but to hold the best lineup in the country to two runs in 4.2 innings was a win.

Dollander’s night was done with two gone and a runner on first in the fifth, as Seth Halvorsen relieved Dollander and retired Tommy White, a.k.a. “Tommy Tanks,” to end the frame.

Christian Scott Opens the Scoring

Tennessee struck first on Thursday night off the bat of Christian Scott. Prior to the fifth inning, Tennessee had only gotten one hit and one walk. But the bats got into a rhythm in the fifth, and the Vols scored a run as a result.

Jared Dickey got on-base with a leadoff single before Hunter Ensley followed it up with a single to right field. Then, with two outs, Christian Scott drilled an RBI single into center field to score Dickey from third.

Scott’s single gave Tennessee the 1-0 lead, but LSU quickly answered in the bottom with a one-out, two-run home run from leadoff hitter Gavin Dugas against Dollander.

More From RTI: Tennessee @ LSU Series Opener Thread

Paul Skenes Throws 107 Pitches, Goes Seven Innings

Tennessee’s series-opening loss came in a game that featured great pitching from both sides and elite pitching from LSU starter Paul Skenes.

Skenes went a full seven innings for the Tigers and gave up only five hits, just one run, one walk, and dealt 12 strikeouts. In total, Skenes threw 72 strikes on a whopping 107 pitches in what was a fantastic outing.

LSU Uses Bases-Clearing Double to Bury the Vols

Tennessee had success against LSU’s bullpen in the eighth inning, tying the game thanks to a Christian Moore RBI single.

However, the Tigers’ response in the bottom, which was heavily assisted by poor Tennessee defense, was the death knell for the Vols.

Tennessee was one toss away from recording a 1-2-3 inning, but Seth Halvorsen dropped Burke’s toss at first base, allowing Cade Beloso to reach. Christian Moore then failed to tag Beloso in the base path when Paxton Kling hit a grounder to second base, and Kling beat the throw to first to give the Tigers runners on first and second.

Things continued to unravel for Tennessee in the disastrous frame, as Halvorsen plunked Josh Pearson to load the bases.

After a long mound meeting, Halvorsen gave up a bases-clearing double to Jordan Thompson, giving the Tigers a 5-2 lead.

The Vols weren’t able to put together a ninth-inning rally, as Kavares Tears and Christian Scott each went down to strand a pair of runners and end the game.

Up Next

Tennessee will look to avoid losing the series against the Tigers when the two sides face off on Friday at 7 p.m. ET in Alex Box Stadium.

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