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LSU’s Offense Pushes Tigers To Series Clinching Win Over Tennessee

Photo via Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee struggled to do the little things well for the second consecutive game as the Vols fail to LSU 6-4 at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge Friday night.

The Vols had competitive at-bats throughout the evening but didn’t pick up enough clutch hits as Chase Burns struggled for the third straight start.

Here’s everything you need to know about LSU’s series clinching victory.

More From RTI: Play-By-Play Of Tennessee’s Game Two Loss At LSU
Simple Mistakes Cost Tennessee Again

Defensive miscues cost Tennessee in Thursday night when a pair of two-out eighth inning miscues opened the door for a three-run inning which reclaimed the lead and led the Tigers to a series opening victory.

It didn’t take long for the simple mistakes that have reared their ugly head this season to show up again Friday night. Maui Ahuna got Tennessee going quickly with a leadoff home run to open the game. LSU quickly struck back in the bottom half with three doubles which gave LSU a 2-1 lead.

Chase Burns looked like he was out of the inning with a sky high pop up but it dropped between five infielder on the first base side of the pitcher’s mound. Third baseman Zane Denton called for it but couldn’t maneuver his way around the mound to make the play. What should have been an inning ending pop out turned into a RBI double.

Dylan Dreiling led off the second inning with a single only for LSU starter Ty Floyd to promptly pick him off. The mistake was magnified two pitches later when Hunter Ensley went a home run over the left field bleachers.

After just an inning and a half, two simple mistakes turned what should have been a 3-2 Tennessee lead into a 2-3 deficit.

Burns ran into trouble again in the third inning after Christian Moore unsuccessfully fought the wind on what should have been a routine pop out but proved to be another double. The sophomore pitcher stranded the bases loaded with a strikeout but another Little League mistake made Tennessee flirt with danger against LSU’s elite lineup.

The defensive and base running mistakes early in the game proved crucial in a two-run loss.

Chase Burns Struggles Again

As discussed in the prior section, Tennessee’s defense did starting pitcher Chase Burns no favors in the game’s opening innings and one of his earned runs was certainly not his fault.

But for the third straight time, Burns struggled as he felt the wrath of the nation’s best offense. The sophomore’s start was largely representative of most of his season. Burns looked dominant for much of his outing and struck out seven of the 10 batters that he retired.

However, Burns made too many mistakes and LSU didn’t let him get away with many as the Tigers ran Burns from the game with seven hits and five earned runs in 3.1 innings pitched.

The right-hander leaned on his slider heavily and it was largely effective but LSU was ready for his fastball and took a few two strike pitches in the zone for extra-base hits.

Things came unraveling for Burns in the fourth. After Tennessee took a one-run lead in the top half of the inning, Brady Neal and Gavin Dugas hit back-to-back solo home runs to reclaim the lead for LSU before a Tre Morgan double ended his outing.

Now in three SEC starts, Burns has allowed 16 earned runs in 15 inning pitched. The preseason First Team All-American is struggling to find his stride this season and that continued against star studded LSU.

Long Ball Propels Tennessee’s Offense

Tennessee’s offense fared much better against LSU’s Ty Floyd than they did Paul Skenes in Thursday night’s series opener. The Vols’ offense had instant success against the Tigers when Maui Ahuna led off the game with a solo homer.

The long ball was Tennessee’s best friend Friday night as the Vols hit three home runs in the loss. Centerfielder Hunter Ensley hit the previously mentioned bomb and Zane Denton hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the fourth inning.

But unfortunately for Tennessee, they couldn’t muster enough offense outside of the long balls to keep up with LSU. The Vols had competitive at-bats throughout the game and especially against Floyd. Tennessee used nine hits to threaten LSU pitchers but the Vols couldn’t capitalize on big opportunities.

Twice Tennessee had two runners on base and two runners in-scoring position with two-outs but neither time could the Vols deliver a game changing hit. In the third inning, Jared Dickey hid a weak chopper to third. Tennessee got some bad look in the sixth inning with Scott roped a line drive directly at LSU left fielder Josh Pearson.

The Vols recorded some hard hit outs and worked more competitive at-bats Friday night against LSU, but they didn’t get the big hits they needed to keep up with the Tigers.

Final Stats

Up Next

Tennessee and LSU conclude their three-game series Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET. The Vols are looking to salvage the series with RHP Drew Beam on the bump.

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