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Tennessee Baseball Survives Thriller To Clinch Series Victory Over Vanderbilt

Photo via Tennessee Athletics

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It came down to the final pitch of the game as Tennessee baseball survived a thriller to defeat Vanderbilt 7-6 on Saturday afternoon.

It was Tennessee baseball’s ninth straight win in the series, making it Tennessee’s third longest winning streak in the history of the rivalry and the longest since 1965-70.

Here’s everything to know as the Vols’ bats delivered and their pitching staff pieced things together on the mound to clinch the weekend series.

A Shaky Drew Beam Outing

Drew Beam entered Saturday’s matchup with an abundance of success against Vanderbilt in his college career. Things started the same way as Beam sat down the Commodores in order in the first inning.

But from there, things were more shaky for Beam. He stranded a runner on second in the second inning. Then Vanderbilt scored a run in the third inning with a walk, single and double. Beam did a strong job of getting out of the inning with a strikeout to strand a pair of runners in-scoring position.

Vanderbilt did its most damage off Beam in the fourth inning. The right-handed pitcher walked Colin Barczi on four pitches to open the inning before leaving a 1-2 pitch to Camden Kozeal over the plate. Beam paid the price as Kozeal took him deep to right field to give Vanderbilt a 3-2 lead.

The Vols’ right-handed pitcher retired seven of the next eight batters he faced to get into the sixth inning but exited the game after allowing a single and a double.

Beam finished his day allowing five earned runs on six hits in 5.1 innings pitched. He was far from his best but he was steady enough to keep Tennessee in the the thick of the game as both teams went to its bullpen.

More From RTI: Play-By-Play Of Tennessee Baseball’s Game Two Win At Vanderbilt

Bottom Of The Lineup Production

When Tennessee’s offense has been quiet in recent weeks it’s been because of a lack of production from the bottom half of its order. But in Saturday afternoon’s matchup against Vanderbilt, the back of the order was a consistent source of on-base production.

The Vols six through nine hitters combined to hit four-of-16 with three walks and a hit-by pitch on the afternoon.

Nine hitter Cal Stark particularly had a big day. He tripled in the third inning and then scored the first run of the game an at-bat later. An inning later, Stark dropped a RBI bloop single into left center field that he couldn’t have placed any better if he was hitting a sand wedge.

Tennessee’s four-run sixth inning was its biggest of the game and it was set up by the back end of the lineup. Greysen Carter hit Dean Curley to lead off the inning and then Cannon Peebles worked a walk. After Stark struck out, Christian Moore reclaimed the lead for the Big Orange with an opposite field home run.

The back end of the lineup setting things up for the top of the order was a constant on Saturday afternoon with the six through nine hitters combining for four of the Vols’ seven runs.

Moore And Burke Come Through

Tennessee’s top two hitters Christian Moore and Blake Burke had relatively quiet games in Friday night’s series opener combining to hit two-of-10 though one of the hits was a Moore solo home runs.

The two bounced back and dominated Vanderbilt’s pitching staff on Saturday afternoon combining to hit six-of-10.

Moore was the best player on the field, hitting the previously mentioned three-run home run on a 102 MPH fastball and driving in five runs in the game on three different hits. Burke went two-for-five at the plate and while he didn’t do anything spectacular he was consistently on base in what was a very productive afternoon.

The duo also made impressive plays while not at the plate. Burke created a run by going from first to third on a Billy Amick infield single before scoring on a wild pitch moments later. Tennessee’s first baseman also made a handful of impressive defensive plays.

Moore also made a fantastic sliding stop and throw to record the final out of the second inning, stealing what would have been a RBI single for Matthew Polk. Tennessee’s veteran stars played like it in multiple ways as the Vols’ cliched the weekend series.

Things Get Dicey In The Ninth Inning

Tennessee took a two-run lead into the bottom of the ninth inning but things quickly got dicey from the Vols. Aaron Combs walked the leadoff man then RJ Austin doubled to left field to give Vanderbilt two-on with no one out.

Combs picked up out number one on a sharply hit line drive at Christian Moore. Then Nate Snead came in to relieve and got an out of his first pitch with a hard line drive to right field.

Vanderbilt scored one run on the sac fly but the tying run was still on second base. Camden Kozeal grounded out to second base to end the game.

Snead threw just three pitches which could prove crucial in his ability to pitch in extended relief on Sunday.

Box Score

Up Next

Tennessee baseball concludes its three-game series at Vanderbilt at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon. ESPN2 is broadcasting the game.

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