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Tennessee Baseball Falls To Lipscomb For First Midweek Loss Of The Season

Photo via Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee baseball dropped its first midweek game of the season on Tuesday night as Lipscomb knocked off the Vols 9-6 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

A pair of reliable Vols’ midweek arms struggled while Tennessee’s bats fell flat after a strong first two innings.

Here’s how it went down as Tennessee’s 11-game home winning streak came to an end.

Rough Outing For Best Midweek Arms

Junior college transfer Marcus Phillips and sophomore Andrew Behnke are the two Tennessee’s pitchers that are on the verge of earning a real weekend role. Phillips made his SEC debut by recording the final out in Tennessee’s series clinching win over Kentucky while Behnke has had a handful of short outing.

But both struggled against Lipscomb. Phillips was the first arm out of the Vols’ bullpen and allowed three runs in two innings of action on Tuesday night.

Lipscomb leadoff man Alex Vergara launched a long solo home run against him in the third inning. In the fourth inning, Phillips offered up a one-out walk before back-to-back doubles from David Coppedge and Jacob Tobias led to two runs and tied the game.

It was a shaky outing for Phillips but it is telling that Vitello and Tennessee stuck with him throughout a tight spot. He has a high velocity fastball that makes him valuable as a late game option. The Vols will likely need him at some point down the road.

Behnke came in following Phillips and allowed a pair of solo home runs, including Vergara’s second home run of the game. The two long balls, one coming in the fifth inning and another in the sixth inning, gave Lipscomb a 6-4 lead as the Bisons put pressure started to take control of the game.

Phillips and Behnke are fringe weekend arms and Tennessee’s best midweek options. They both struggled against Lipscomb.

Quiet Night For The Bats

While there were issues for Tennessee on the mound in the midweek loss, it was also a quiet night for the Vols’ bats. The struggles at the plate were also a continued theme from Tennessee’s weekend sweep of Missouri when they scored just three runs in both the game two and game three win.

Tennessee scored six runs which wasn’t a minuscule number but was a quiet one for a midweek matchup. The Vols scored four runs in the first two innings but only scratched across two more runs the rest of the game.

The Vols did have some opportunities for big innings. They loaded the bases with no one out in both the first and the seventh inning but scored just one run each time.

In the first inning, Dean Curley grounded into a double play before an ending inning fly out. In the seventh inning, Curley drove home a run with a fielder’s choice before back-to-back strikeouts ends the inning.

It’s not completely shocking in a sport of failure like baseball but this recent cold stretch for Tennessee’s offense is its first of the season.

More From RTI: Tennessee Baseball Continuing To Find More Answers On The Mound

Blake Burke Bounces Back

Tennessee star first baseman Blake Burke was one of the few Vols who had a nice night at the plate against Lipscomb. He entered Tuesday’s matchup coming off his worst weekend of the season. Burke hit just one-of-13 in the Vols’ series sweep over Missouri as his program record hit streak came to an end in the series opener.

Burke unsurprisingly bounced back against Lipscomb going two-of-four at the plate with a walk. One of his outs was a fly out to the wall

The Vols’ star first baseman helped generate a two-run first inning by walking and then provided the big hit in a two-run second inning, doubling to center field to score a pair of runs with two outs.

Burke has been one of the best hitters in the SEC all season so it’s no surprise that he quickly bounced back from an underwhelming weekend. He’ll look to keep things rolling in the right direction this weekend against Florida.

Box Score

Up Next

Tennessee opens up a three-game series at Florida on Thursday night. First pitch from Condron Family Ballpark is at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday. ESPN2 is broadcasting the game.

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