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Tennessee Baseball Survives Midweek Scare Against High Point

Photo via Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee baseball picked up its seventh straight win on Tuesday afternoon by knocking off High Point 7-4 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

The Vols had a quiet offensive performance and used a number of key arms to avoid the upset and pick up the mid week victory.

Here’s how the Vols got it done against the Panthers.

Matthew Dallas Keeps Zeros On The Board Despite Command Issues

Talented freshman pitcher Matthew Dallas earned his second midweek start of the season on Tuesday afternoon. The left-handed pitcher entered his third appearance of the season without giving up a hit in 3.1 innings of action. Dallas exited the appearance the same way, but there were some real issues finding the strike zone.

The West Tennessee native walked five batters and hit another in 2.2 innings of action. Dallas retired the side around a walk in the first inning and around a pair of walks in the second inning.

But Dallas ran into trouble in the third inning. He retired the first two batters of the inning before surrendering a walk, hitting a batter and walking another batter to load the bases before Tony Vitello went to the bullpen.

Austin Hunley relieved Dallas and Tennessee got out of the jam as catcher Cannon Peebles threw behind the runner at first base for the final out of the inning.

There’s good and bad with Dallas’ performance. He struck out three batters and didn’t allow a run. But his inconsistency finding the strike zone is sure to upset pitching coach Frank Anderson.

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Robin Villeneuve And Kavares Tears Propel The Offense

It was a quiet afternoon for Tennessee’s bats overall. But its breakout stars Robin Villeneuve and Kavares Tears came through big again.

Villeneuve got Tennessee on the board in the first inning when he roped a two-RBI single to left field to open the game’s scoring.

Tears had a big swing in the third inning when he hit a line drive that just cleared the right field wall and landed in the Tennessee bullpen. With the wind howling in from right field, it was going to take a line drive to get out. That’s exactly what Tears did.

Tennessee’s offense struggled for two innings after the blast and the Vols led by just one when the duo sparked the offense. Tears doubled off the left field wall to lead off the inning and Villeneuve drove him home with a double to left field before scoring on a Cannon Peebles hit later in the inning.

The duo combined for five of Tennessee’s nine hits and four of Tennessee’s seven RBIs. The pair have been one of the two best developments for the Vols early this season.

Odds and Ins

* With the game close and Austin Hunley struggling in the fourth inning, Tennessee went to one of its solid weekend relievers as LHP Chris Stamos came into the game to pitch.

Stamos allowed one of the two runs he inherited to score but limited the damage and preserved Tennessee’s lead in the fourth inning. The trouble came in the fifth inning when trainer Jeff Wood came out to look at Stamos before the Cal transfer exited the game.

Here’s Tony Vitello’s complete quote on the injury postgame.

“That was a deal where we were going to make a change no matter what so I let Woody (trainer Jeff Wood) go out there and assess the situation and then the guy coming in gets as much time as he wants to warm up, for anyone that was watching,” Vitello said. “And he can warm up in the bullpen or on the mound and I think (Andrew) Behnke did a little bit of a combo of those two things. Maybe it was a Cookout combo platter. But the arm was fine, I think. I think his forearm was a little sore or maybe bicep. But Woody went through some things and hopefully all things stay the same. But I think some soreness and some tightness in there from a guy that is interesting. He wasn’t sandbagging on us in scrimmages but you guys were at scrimmages and you guys are now at games and I think you all would agree with me, he’s a different competitor on game day which is great.”

* Tennessee used a number of its weekend arms in the tight game against High Point. LHP Kirby Connell sparked the Vols in the sixth inning when he came in with a runner on first. Connell picked him off and proceeded to strike out a pair of batters in six total pitches.

Connell allowed a run while picking up two-outs in the seventh inning. Tennessee turned to perhaps its top bullpen arm, RHP Nate Snead, afterwards. Snead got out of the inning with a strikeout before striking out two more batters and retiring the side around a one-out walk in the eighth inning. Vitello gave Snead the ninth inning and he gave up one run on a double and a single while picking up three more strikeouts.

* Third baseman Billy Amick provided some serious insurance in the bottom of the eighth inning with a solo homer to left field.

The Clemson transfer is tied with Tears for a team-high four home runs to this point in the season.

Tennessee added one more run when Cannon Peebles double to right field scored Tears.

Final Stats

Up Next

Tennessee baseball returns to Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Friday as they host Bowling Green for a three-game series.

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