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Tennessee Defeats UAlbany In Series Opener In Knoxville

Photo by Emma Corona/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee baseball extended its winning streak to four games with a 8-5 victory over UAlbany on Friday evening in Knoxville.

AJ Russell was effective in a short outing while Tennessee’s offense did its damage in two innings and thanks to a large Great Danes’ defensive mistake.

Here’s everything to know about the matchup.

A Short But Effective Outing For AJ Russell

Sophomore pitcher AJ Russell wasn’t spectacular in his first Lindsey Nelson Stadium weekend start in the same way he was a week ago when he struck out 10 Texas Tech batters in just 4.1 innings in a dominant start.

But Russell was effective in a short three inning start holding the Great Danes scoreless before the Vols’ offense totaled five runs in the third inning to take a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Russell exited the game with a side injury after the third inning.

The tall right-handed pitcher wasn’t at his best, allowing a baserunner in all three innings but he did a strong job working around it. After surrendering a leadoff walk to open the game, Russell immediately got a ground ball for a double play.

In the second inning, back-to-back Great Dane singles gave UAlbany two-on with just one-out but Russell worked around it with a strikeout and a groundout to end the inning.

Russell ended the day with three innings pitched, allowing no runs, three hits and one walk. The talented sophomore threw just 54 pitches (36 strikes) in a short but effective outing.

Tennessee Takes The Lead With A Big Third Inning Thanks To Costly UAlbany Mistake

Tennessee’s offense struggled to get going on Friday evening against the Great Danes. The Vols scored eight runs but five came in the third inning.

And while Tennessee certainly did some good things at the plate in the third inning, a UAlbany miscue was the cause for three of the five runs.

After a Dylan Dreiling single up the middle and a Billy Amick infield single drove in a run each, Tennessee loaded the bases with a two-out Blake Burke walk. That’s when the Great Danes made a pair of very costly mistakes.

Dean Curley hit what looked like a routine grounder to shortstop but a Cooper Loyal throwing error allowed Kavares Tears to score from third and Amick to score from second. Then as first baseman Ryan Ferremi threw the ball back to pitcher Owen Birkman, the right-handed starter lost it in the sun which allowed Burke to score.

It was a casual and normal bases clearing grounder to shortstop.

Vols Provide Some Insurance In The Seventh Inning

UAlbany scored two runs in the sixth inning to cut Tennessee’s lead to just three runs— making those three runs on the Great Danes third inning error all the more important.

But the Vols responded with a three-run inning to provide some needed insurance. Christian Moore doubled, reached third on a Kavares Tears infield single and then scored on a wild pitch for the first run.

But it was first baseman Blake Burke that provided the most important swing of the inning, taking Michael DiMartino deep to left field for a two-run homer. It marked Burke’s first home run of the season and moves him nine home runs behind Luc Lipcius for the program record.

The three insurance runs proved crucial as UAlbany answers with a two-run eighth inning which would have. made things dicey otherwise.

Final Stats

Up Next

Tennessee and UAlbany resume its weekend series tomorrow afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. First pitch between the Vols and Great Danes is at noon ET.

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