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Late Game Explosion Clinches Tennessee Baseball’s Series Win Over South Carolina

Photo via Tennessee Athletics

South Carolina held Tennessee’s explosive offense at bay for five innings at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Friday night. But things went sideways for the Gamecocks in the seventh inning as the Vols’ powered past South Carolina 8-3 to clinch the weekend series.

Drew Beam overcame some shaky defense, Tennessee’s stars coming through in big moments and more. Here’s everything to know about the Vols’ come from behind win on Friday night.

Dicey Defense Behind Drew Beam

Tennessee junior right-hander is a pitch to contact pitcher who needs his defense to play well behind him to be effective on the mound.

Beam was solid but not great on Friday night, allowing three runs and one earned run in six innings, as his defense put him in a few tough spots early in the game. The issues were most prevalent in South Carolina’s three-run second inning.

Cole Messina reached first with a leadoff single and Blake Burke couldn’t catch a Beam pick off attempt allowing Messina to reach to reach second. The bigger mistake came two at-bats later whenDalton Reeves chopped one to Christian Moore at second base.

In a hurry to turn two, Moore missed second base allowing runners to be safe at every base and for South Carolina to load the bases. There was one critical strong defensive play in the inning when Hunter Ensley made a sliding catch in the right-center field gap that ended up saving two runs.

An inning later, Dean Curley recorded a throwing error with two-outs which gave South Carolina runners on the corners with two-outs before Beam got out of the jam.

Tennessee Gets To Garrett Gainey In The Sixth Inning

South Carolina left-handed pitcher Garrett Gainey was making just his second start of the season on Friday night and the Liberty transfer was fantastic through five inning.

The left-handed pitched had shut out the Vols, allowing just three hits and retiring nine straight batters from the third inning into the sixth inning. Christian Moore ended that run of retired batters and got Tennessee on the board with a solo home run over the video board in right field.

Giving up a solo home run to the hottest hitter in the country was harmless enough. Gainey retired the next batter and Tennessee had no one on with two-outs.

But then Billy Amick roped a single to left field and Dylan Dreiling roped a single to right field all of a sudden bringing the go ahead run to the plate. South Carolina coach Mark Kingston left Gainey in to face one more batter and Hunter Ensley made him pay.

Tennessee’s starting center fielder sent Lindsey Nelson Stadium into a frenzy, roping a 395 foot into the second deck of the left field porches. It was still a strong out from Gainey but it was a nearly fantastic outing that just got away from him.

More From RTI: Play-By-Play Of Tennessee Baseball’s Game Two Win Against South Carolina 

Christian Moore. Still Really Good!

Christian Moore continued his extended tear on Friday night with another fantastic performance. The Vols’ second baseman had two of their three hits through the game’s five inning with a single to left field and the right field.

Moore hit the opposite field home run discussed in the section above and then worked a seven pitch walk that led into one of the biggest swings of the game— more on that in a minute.

It was a casual three-for-four night with a walk for Moore as he helped propel Tennessee’s offense. The Vols’ second baseman blemish was the fact that he committed two errors on the night but he did make this fantastic defensive play to end the top half of the seventh inning.

Blake Burke’s Big Swing

Tennessee first baseman Blake Burke entered game two of the weekend series in a bit of a slump— at least by his high standards.

The home run power had been particularly quiet as he hadn’t hit a home run since game three of the Florida series and had just two in the previous 4.5 SEC series.

He chose a good time to go deep again. After Moore worked the eighth inning walk to load the bases, Burke sent the first pitch he saw 448 feet into the rainy Knoxville night. The long ball was the dagger, extending Tennessee’s lead to 8-3.

It was also Tennessee’s 11th grand slam of the season, marking a new SEC single-season record.

Box Score


Up Next

Tennessee and South Carolina conclude their weekend series at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday afternoon. It’s the regular season finale and the Vols’ Senior Day.

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