ATHENS, Ga. — Tennessee baseball’s bats were quiet for much of the series opener against Georgia. But then the Vols exploded for five runs on six hits in the seventh inning and coasted to a 12-3 series opening victory at Foley Field.
The Vols have struggled on the road this season with the series opener in Athens being just their second true road game of the season.
Here’s everything to know about the series opener.
Tip Your Cap To A Trio Of Vols
Tennessee got contributions from an abundance of players in its lineup Friday night but a handful stood out.
Christian Scott continued his red-hot streak of hitting and came through in two big moments, driving in runs with a pair of RBI singles. One of the hits got Tennessee on the board and the other came with two-outs as he went on to have a three-of-five day at the plate.
You don’t think of offense when you think of Christian Scott but the right fielder has been good at the plate the last month and is third on the team in batting average in SEC play.
Hunter Ensley went one-of-two at the plate but reached base four times as he was hit by a three pitches. The center fielder was good at the plate but elite defensively. The redshirt sophomore stole a pair of extra-base hits from Georgia with spectacular diving catches.
HUNTER ENSLEY, MY GOODNESS! 🤯
— Tennessee Baseball (@Vol_Baseball) May 5, 2023
Lastly, let’s talk about Christian Moore who started the game quietly. The Bulldogs retired the sophomore his first three times up before he crushed home runs in the seventh and ninth inning to end his day.
After slumping over a multiple week period, the sophomore has found pop in his bat the last week. He’s hit a homer in each of his last four games and has six long balls over the stretch. That’s a pretty crazy stretch for a sophomore that’s as talented as just about anyone in Tennessee’s lineup
Moore didn’t make any spectacular plays in the field but did have a lot of work and made the play every time the ball was hit his way.
Plenty of players performed well for Tennessee in the series opener but those three were particularly impressive.
More From RTI: Play-By-Play Of Tennessee’s Game One Win/Loss At Georgia
Tennessee’s Bullpen Steps Up To Preserve Lead In Fifth Inning
It wasn’t the best outing nor the worst for Tennessee starter Andrew Lindsey. The senior didn’t have his best stuff, striking out just one batter while allowing six hits, two walks in 4.1 innings pitched. However, Lindsey did his job, surrendering just one run.
Lindsey owes big props to a pair of his teammates for allowing just one run. The senior exited the game after allowing the first two batters in the fifth inning to reach base.
LHP Kirby Connell came in to face leadoff man Ben Anderson and got a two-strike fouled bunt attempt for a strikeout before exiting the game as RHP Camden Sewell entered.
Facing the heart of Georgia’s lineup, Sewell struck out star Charlie Condon before just missing on a 3-2 pitch to Connor Tate to load the bases.
The reliable reliever delivered as he frequently has in his five-year career, getting a groundout to end the inning and preserve Tennessee’s 2-1 lead.
The bottom of the fifth inning was the first big pressure moment of the weekend and Connell and Sewell picked up Lindsey and kept the Vols in front.
Tennessee Opens Up Its Lead With A Huge Seventh Inning
Tennessee’s offense was largely quiet for much of the game. The Vols scored two runs in the first three innings off of Georgia starter Kolten Smith but failed to make much hard contact in the middle innings off the Bulldogs’ bullpen.
Tennessee entered the seventh inning with just three hits on the game while clinging to its 2-1 lead. That’s when the Vols went to work.
A one-out Maui Ahuna double and Hunter Ensley hit-by pitch gave Tennessee a pair of baserunners before Jared Dickey did what he does best— singling up the middle to bring Ahuna home. Blake Burke then dropped a wedge shot between the left fielder and third baseman for his second RBI of the game to extend the Vols’ lead to 4-1.
It turned out the only thing that could stop Tennessee in the seventh was its own base running mistakes. Burke got stuck between first and second on a ball in the dirt when Dickey didn’t go— ending with Dickey being out. That cost Tennessee a run as Christian Moore hit a no doubt two-run homer to left field.
Griffin Merritt doubled to center field before Georgia intentionally walked Zane Denton to face Scott. Scott made the Bulldogs pay, driving in a run with a single to right center. Condon threw him out at second to end the inning but the damage was already largely done.
The Vols scored five runs on six hits in the seventh inning to open up their lead in a massive way and give them some real breathing room before they retired the final nine outs.
Tennessee resumes its weekend series against Georgia Saturday afternoon. First pitch from Foley Field is at 2 p.m. ET.