COLUMBIA, S.C. — Andrew Lindsey ran from the Tennessee dugout to the pitcher’s mound over-and-over again in Friday night’s series opener at South Carolina.
Dominating one of the SEC’s top power hitting lineups it was no surprise Lindsey was excited to get back on the mound. The right hander was simply fantastic and powered Tennessee to a 5-0 series opening victory at South Carolina.
Here’s everything to know about the series opener in Columbia.
A Career Outing For Andrew Lindsey
Andrew Lindsey has been steady for Tennessee baseball all season but particularly since becoming the Vols’ series opening starter. But the Charlotte transfer has rarely been fantastic. Lindsey was fantastic and more Friday night at South Carolina.
Lindsey tossed 8.1 scoreless innings while keeping South Carolina from threatening nearly the entirety of his outing. The right-hander allowed an infield hit that hit him in the first inning and the runner reached third on a stolen base and an error.
But Lindsey struck out Ethan Petry on the very next pitch to exit the inning and the Gamecocks wouldn’t get another runner in scoring position again.
Lindsey allowed only three baserunners all game. One was the previously mentioned infield hit and Cal Stark caught Evan Stone stealing after his third inning single.
The right-handed pitcher proceeded to get into an incredible rhythm, retiring 17 straight Gamecocks to end his day.
Lindsey’s final line was 8.1 innings pitched, zero earned runs, three hits, zero walks and five strikeouts. It was the best outing of the year for one of Tennessee’s top pitchers and it provided the Vols with their third true road win of the season.
It was the longest outing from a Tennessee pitcher all season.
More From RTI: Tennessee And South Carolina To Play Saturday Doubleheader
Have A Day Hunter Ensley
Centerfielder Hunter Ensley has been mister steady for Tennessee in SEC play. He entered the series opener against South Carolina with hits in 14 of Tennessee’s last 15 games.
He came out the gates on fire and stayed that way for Tennessee Friday night. Hitting in his usual two-hole, Ensley provided the game’s first hit with a liner to center field.
It was a fitting representation of his night as Ensley didn’t do anything special at the plate but consistently delivered for the Vols.
The sophomore was ready to hit in his second at-bat, lining the first pitch he saw opposite field for a single that scored the game’s first run. His third at-bat was even more impressive. With two on base and one-out, Ensley fell behind in the count 0-2 only to line the next pitch to center field for a RBI single and extend Tennessee’s lead to 4-0.
Tennessee’s starting centerfielder picked up his teammates in his fourth at-bat. Christian Scott worked a leadoff walk in the sixth inning and advanced to third on consecutive wild pitches. But Cal Stark and Maui Ahuna both struck out and left it up to Ensley to get the job done.
He delivered again pulling a grounder down the third base line. Talmadge LeCroy made a fantastic diving play but his throw wasn’t in time as Ensley legged out an infield single.
Ensley ended the game four-of-five at the plate with three RBI singles. It was an impressive performance for one of the Vols most steady hitters.
Dylan Dreiling Makes The Most Of His Opportunity
Dylan Dreiling has had a major role for Tennessee all season but he has started few games in the field. But with Jared Dickey out of the lineup, the freshman got the start in left field.
The ball quickly found Dreiling as the freshman made a nice running play in left field in South Carolina’s very first at-bat of the game. Dreiling didn’t see much additional action in the field but handled everything well. That’s the major question for the freshman who is a very polished hitter but still needs to improve defensively.
At the plate, Dreiling was his usual effective self. The left hander provided the biggest hit of the game— a two-run opposite field homer that gave Tennessee a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning.
It was the first of two extra-base hits for Dreiling as the freshman doubled down the right field line in the seventh inning.
All in all it was a two-for-four night for Dreiling with a pair of RBIs and a walk. Jared Dickey is Tennessee’s best player but Dreiling made his absence feel less important in the series opener.
Tennessee and South Carolina return to Founders Park Saturday for a doubleheader to conclude the regular season. First pitch is at 2 p.m. ET with game three of the series to start 45 minutes after the seven inning game two ends.