Advertise with usContact UsRTI Team

Complete Effort Propels Tennessee Past Southern Miss In Game Two

Photo By Ian Cox/Tennessee Athletics

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Chase Dollander pumped a 97 mph fastball past Southern Miss star Dustin Dickerson to end the seventh inning. The junior threw both arms out as if he was asking the sell out crowd at Pete Taylor Field, “are you not entertained?”

The preseason All-American stared down the Southern Miss dugout as he slowly strolled off the field. Dollander has had a rocky season but he found his swagger Sunday afternoon and pushed Tennessee a win away from the College World Series.

Here’s everything to know about Tennessee’s 8-4 super regional evening victory over Southern Miss.

Tennessee Flips The Script In Fourth

It seemed like Southern Miss had all but punched its ticket to Omaha when Christopher Sargent took Chase Dollander deep for a three-run home run in the third inning. The long ball made it a four run inning and a four run lead.

The home run made it four straight hits for the Southern Miss and while Tennessee battled the home plate umpire, they seemed toast.

But not so fast, my friend.

Christian Moore led off the fourth inning with a double— the Vols’ first extra base hit of the weekend — before Griffin Merritt drove him home two-at bats later with a single.

Then Blake Burke finally provided the massive swing Tennessee had been looking for. The Vols’ first baseman hit a 479 foot moonshot home run which pulled Tennessee within one run. It was his first homer since late April against Mississippi State.

But even then, Tennessee wasn’t done. Cal Stark worked a nine pitch walk, Maui Ahuna singled and Hall hit Ensley to lead the bases.

Then Jared Dickey did what he does best, delivered with a two strike, two-out single up the middle that turned into a bases clearing three bagger when USM centerfielder Matthew Etzel botched the ball.

The six runs scored off Southern Miss ace Tanner Hall was the most he’s allowed in his whole career. Tennessee totaled it off him in just one inning. It changed the game and maybe saved Tennessee’s season.

More From RTI: Watch Blake Burke’s Mammoth Home Run
Blake Burke Awakens

It’s been a frustrating season for Blake Burke. He entered the season with sky high expectations and lived up to them for the first month of the season. But since then he’s struggled badly and was one of Tennessee’s worst hitters in SEC play.

There were signs of Burke starting to turn it around last weekend at Clemson. He totaled three singles off Tigers’ ace Caden Grice and Tony Vitello said his process was much better.

But it was in game two Sunday when Burke truly broke back onto the scene. It started with an unbelievable 479 foot home run that sparked life back into Tennessee’s dugout.

It continued in his next at-bat when he doubled off the centerfield wall to give Tennessee runners on second and third with one-out. He and Griffin Merritt scored an at-bat later on a Southern Miss fielding error.

The first baseman didn’t come through as big in his third at-bat but did move runners up 90 feet on a groundout.

Burke ended the day two-of-five with two huge hits and his best game in over a month.

Dollander Carries The Chase Day

Tony Vitello went back to his favorite combination on the mound in game two as Chase Dollander started before handing the ball to Chase Burns.

It looked like it would be a short Dollander outing when Southern Miss tatted him for four runs in the third inning. But that couldn’t have been further from the truth.

After Tennessee’s offense gave him run support, Dollander got into a groove. Southern Miss wouldn’t score off him again. In fact, Dollander retired 18 of the last 20 batters he faced including 12 in a row before a ninth inning leadoff walk ended his day.

The junior had command of his whole repertoire and was particularly effective with his cutter which pairs well with his go-to high-90s fastball.

Burns relieved Dollander with one baserunner on and nobody out in the ninth inning.

Tennessee’s offense deserves a ton of credit for flipping the game after the third inning, but so does Dollander for putting things on cruise control afterwards. He shut the door on Southern Miss and saved Tennessee’s pitching for game three Monday.

Final Stats

Up Next

Tennessee and Southern Miss will face off Monday in a winner-take-all game three of the Hattiesburg Super Regional. The winner heads to the College World series in Omaha. First pitch time is still to be determined.

Similar Articles


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tweet Us