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Tennessee Baseball’s Pitching Comes Through As Vols Complete Sweep Of Missouri

Photo By Ian Cox/ Tennessee Athletics

It was another quiet afternoon for Tennessee baseball’s offense but its pitching came through as the Vols earned a 3-2 victory to complete the series sweep of Missouri.

Tennessee scored three runs in the first inning and held on to win thanks to strong pitching and Missouri base running blunders. Here’s everything to know about the win.

Zander Sechrist Gets Into A Rhythm After A Rocky Start

Things didn’t start well for Tennessee left-handed pitcher Zander Sechrist. Before he recorded an out he allowed a single, a stolen base and a RBI single up the middle. The second line drive hit Sechrist’s hand and led to trainer Jeff Wood coming out to look at him.

But from there, Sechrist got into a rhythm. He retired 10 of the next 11 batters he faced and saw little adversity through his first four innings pitched. Things went a little haywire for Sechrist in the fifth inning when he allowed back-to-back walks to open up the inning which ended his day.

One of those inherited runners scored but Tennessee was able to preserve the lead thanks to some solid defensive plays. Sechrist ended his day allowing three hits, two runs and three walks while striking out four in four innings pitched.

Nothing spectacular for Sechrist but a solid outing. It’s something surprising that Tennessee rode him into the fifth inning with how many bullpen arms they had available. But Sechrist has earned that trust.

More From RTI: Play-By-Play Of Tennessee Baseball’s Series Finale Win/Loss Against Missouri  

Tennessee Does Its Limited Offensive Damage Early

The Vols’ offense struggled against Missouri starter Carter Rustard for most the afternoon. But Tennessee found a way to do some damage against him before he got into a rhythm, scoring three runs in the first inning.

Christian Moore and Blake Burke led off the game with singles. Moore scored on a Kavares Tears single combined with a throwing error and then two batters later shortstop Dean Curley came through with a big two-RBI single to left field.

The Vols scored three runs on four hits off of Rustad in the first inning, but from there the right hander got in a groove. Tennessee recorded just two more hits and no more runs in Rustad’s five innings pitched.

Tennessee loaded the bases in the eighth inning and failed to capitalize as Christian Moore struck out and Blake Burke grounded out. It was another quiet outing from the Vols’ offense as they completed the weekend sweep scoring just six combined runs in the final two games.

Base Running Miscues Cost Missouri

When you’re a bottom third SEC team like Missouri you typically don’t have much room for base running or defensive mistakes facing a team like Tennessee on the road. It was the base running that bit Missouri badly in the series finale.

Cal Stark caught a runner stealing in the first inning and after a Missouri batter couldn’t get a bunt down, Stark threw behind Kaden Peer at second base to pick up the first out of the fifth inning.

The Tigers had two other base running miscues in the fifth inning. They sent Drew Culberson home from first base on a double in the gap. He would have been hose but Tennessee bailed Missouri out as Christian Moore’s throw home was way off line, allowing the run to score and for Lovich to reach third.

It may not have been a set play and not a base running mistake but Lovich ran home on a chopper to first a batter later and Burke threw him out at the plate.

The biggest base runner blunder came an inning later. With a runner on second and one out, Dean Curley did a fantastic job of keeping a ground ball up the middle in the infield. Curley had no play at first but the Missouri runner from second tried to go home and Curley threw him out by a good four steps for out number two.

On a day where Tennessee didn’t play very well, Missouri made a number of base running mistakes that helped the Vols hold on.

Box Score

Up Next

Tennessee baseball returns to Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Tuesday night where they’ll host Lipscomb in a midweek matchup. First pitch is at 6 p.m. ET with the SEC Network+ is streaming the game.

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