CLEMSON, S.C. — Robotic in his approach and competitive in nature, Andrew Lindsey said it was “business as usual” after facing his former team Friday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
Facing Charlotte, where Lindsey spent the 2021 season, didn’t raise the stakes for the right-handed pitcher because they were already high enough. Making his first career NCAA Tournament start, Lindsey lived up to the moment and shoved for seven innings in Tennessee’s 8-1 win over the 49ers.
“I think it was just business as usual,” Lindsey said of facing a lineup that had four former teammates. “It is the postseason. Just play ball. No matter who we get we need to play good baseball at this time of year. When they popped up, it was just another team to go out and beat.”
Lindsey’s only trouble came in the first inning when a walk, hit-by pitch and swinging bunt loaded the bases. But the Vols’ starter used his third strikeout of the inning to keep Charlotte off the board in the opening frame.
“Just got comfortable,” Lindsey said. “Cal (Stark) is always good behind the dish. He is always telling me to take a deep breath or he notices some things in my mechanics, sometimes. He helps me adjust.”
Whatever adjustments Lindsey made were effective. After allowing a one-out single in the second inning, Lindsey retired 12 straight 49ers as he put things on cruise control.
Charlotte’s only success off Lindsey came via a seventh inning solo homer. The junior right-hander allowed just five hits and one walk while tying his season-high 11 strikeouts. Charlotte had no answer for the New Johnsonville, Tennessee native that toed the rubber for them just two years prior.
“There are so many things that are similar,” Charlotte coach Robert Woodard said. “His competitive spirit and fire is still there. He is two years older so you can see some maturity there. He still mixes his pitches like he used to. Still has a slow pulse like he used to. … As much as it stings to be on the losing side of the game, I am really happy to see him doing well. He pitched a heck of a game tonight.”
Lindsey’s dominant outing comes on the heels of perhaps his best start in his first season at Tennessee. The junior turned in 8.1 scoreless innings in his last start against South Carolina. Despite not pitching in a game in two weeks, Lindsey picked up right where he left off.
“It looked similar to the last outing,” Tennessee coach Tony Vitello said. “To kind of pick up where he left off is what I was thinking. If you look at their home run numbers, it is different numbers and right left and all that, but a similar feel to South Carolina’s lineup. It was good for him to not just get us as deep into the game as he did because we rode the pitch count pretty good, but also for him to have to grind out some tough situations like the first inning.”
Lindsey’s dominant outing paired with strong run support sets the stage for Saturday night’s showdown between Tennessee and Clemson— two of the nation’s most talented teams.
Vitello said Chase Dollander will start for Tennessee against the Tigers and while Lindsey and Dollander have different pitching styles, both have been getting better-and-better as the year’s gone on. That’s extremely positive for a Tennessee team with pitching good enough to take them deep in the NCAA Tournament.
“It’s always nice to play behind good pitching and we knew coming into this year we have really good pitching and you know those guys are just trending upwards,” Griffin Merritt said. “As an offense it’s always easy to play behind a guy that’s out there competing and throwing strikes
First pitch between Tennessee and Clemson is at 6 p.m. ET Saturday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.