CLEMSON, S.C. — Christian Moore almost missed first base because he yelling at his teammates following a sixth inning two-run homer that gave the Vols a comfortable lead over Charlotte.
Moore was magnificent again while Tennessee baseball played a complete game to knock off the 49ers 9-2 and advance to the super regionals for the third straight season.
Here’s everything to know about Tennessee’s Clemson Regional clinching win.
Tennessee Gets To Spolyar The Second Time Through the Order
Christian Moore’s solo home run was the only success Tennessee had against Charlotte starting pitcher Andrew Spolyar its first time through the order. But things changed for the Vols the second time through the order and particularly in the fourth inning.
Jared Dickey reached to open the inning on a Spencer Nolan fielding error and Griffin Merritt got the Vols in business by doubling to left field. Tennessee had runners on second and third with no one out for the red-hot Moore.
Moore worked an impressive at-bat, falling behind 0-2 before fouling off a pair of pitches and flying out to deep center. The sac fly brought Dickey home and moved Merritt to third which proved critical when Burke brought him home an at-bat later with a sac fly to center.
Both Moore and Burke flirted with home runs but did their jobs. Zane Denton picked up where he left off Saturday night, taking Spolyar off the batter’s eye for a solo homer. The long ball was Denton’s third in his previous six at-bats.
Spolyar was good for Charlotte but Tennessee ended his day and took a healthy lead thanks to the three-run fourth inning.
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Drew Beam Steady For Tennessee
Tony Vitello turned to sophomore Drew Beam on the bump in Sunday’s regional final. Beam rewarded the Vols’ head coach with a steady performance.
Beam allowed just four hits and two runs in six innings pitched while keeping Charlotte at arm’s length following the three-run fourth inning.
The right-hander’s command was simply fantastic against the 49ers. Beam was consistently ahead in counts, throwing 67 strikes and just 25 balls while not surrendering any walks. While Beam didn’t allow a walk, he did rack up the strikeouts.
The sophomore tied his career-high with 10 punch outs in large part due to his off-speed stuff. Beam’s curveball was fantastic as was his ability to throw it early in counts for strikes and late in counts as a wipeout pitch.
Beam was resigned to a minuscule role last postseason. He set Tennessee up very well to advance to the super regionals Sunday.
Are You Serious Christian Moore?
There are hot streaks in baseball. Then there is what Christian Moore did at the plate in three games this weekend.
When Moore is on, he’s Tennessee best hitter. And my goodness was Moore on in the South Carolina Upstate. The second baseman got Tennessee started in the second inning with a solo home run off the video board in left center field.
Moore barely missed a home run two innings later but it was a deep enough sac fly for the runner on third to score and the runner on second to advance to third. Then two innings later Moore provided what was essentially the dagger when he destroyed a two-run homer off the top of batter’s eye in centerfield.
The sophomore went two-of-two in the weekend finale with a walk, two home runs and four RBIs. In the three-game event, Moore went seven-of-10 (.700) at the plate with three walks, four home runs and eight RBIs. While it paled in comparison to what he did at the plate, Moore was also fantastic defensively.
Moore was dominant in everything he did at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. He earned this beat writer’s Clemson Regional MVP vote.
Tennessee advances to the super regionals for the third straight season. The Vols will face either Southern Miss or Penn. The NCAA will announce the super regional location Tuesday and the best of three series begins Friday.