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LIVE Updates, Score, Notes: No. 1 Tennessee Baseball vs. LSU SEC Tournament Championship

Photo By Ian Cox/ Tennessee Athletics

SCORE: Tennessee 4, LSU 3 | FINAL


Top-ranked Tennessee baseball (49-11, 22-8 SEC) is set to battle LSU (40-20, 13-17 SEC) Sunday in the SEC Tournament championship game. The matchup serves as each team’s fifth game in Hoover.

First pitch in Hoover Met is at 3:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

This will be Tennessee’s first matchup against 11-seed LSU in the tournament and fourth overall this season. The Vols are 3-0 against the Tigers this season, having swept a three-game series in Knoxville in mid-April.

Tennessee enters Sunday’s matchup coming off a 6-4 win over Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament semifinals. Senior left-handed pitcher Zander Sechrist shoved for the second straight week in a 6.0-inning outing in which he gave up just four hits and two earned runs. Marcus Phillips also provided a crucial performance out of the bullpen, and Tennessee’s offense had a productive day with a new-look lineup.

The win gave Tennessee revenge after an ugly 13-4 loss on Wednesday. Ever since Tennessee’s loss to the Commodores in its first game in Hoover, the Vols have won three straight elimination games against 4-seed Texas A&M, 5-seed Mississippi State and 8-seed Vanderbilt.

For recaps of each of Tennessee’s games so far this week, click the links below.

RECAP: Vols’ midweek pitching approach results in ugly loss to Vanderbilt
RECAP: Vols glide past A&M to stay alive in Hoover
RECAP: Tennessee outlasts Mississippi State in thriller
RECAP: Zander Sechrist shoves as Tennessee advances to SEC Tournament finals

LSU enters the championship game coming off a thrilling 12-11 win over South Carolina in extra innings. The Tigers came back from an 8-0 deficit to force extras, and then after a highly controversial call gave South Carolina the lead in the top of the 10th, Steven Milam hit a walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the frame.

After a pair of dominant wins on Tuesday and Wednesday, LSU has won a pair of instant classics against the Gamecocks, winning 11-10 on Thursday and 12-11 in the semifinals on Saturday.

LSU is yet to lose in Hoover this week, making it the only team to still be undefeated in the tournament.

While the Tigers haven’t had the season they wanted, there’s no question they are playing better now than they were in mid-April the last time they faced Tennessee. This week proves that, as LSU entered the week as a desperate team on the bubble and have now all but locked up a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Prior to Hoover, the Vols swept South Carolina in Knoxville that ultimately gave them a share of the SEC regular season crown with Kentucky. Additionally, the series sweep gave Tennessee the No. 1 overall seed in the SEC Tournament.

Read more about Tennessee winning the SEC here.

DEVELOPMENT: Marcus Phillips growing at perfect time for Tennessee
TRANSCRIPT: Tony Vitello Talks SEC Tournament semifinals win over Vanderbilt
Injury Note

One of the most important storylines of the week is that in Tennessee’s loss to Vanderbilt on Wednesday, star sophomore pitcher AJ Russell returned to action after nearly a two-month long absence. He bounced back after allowing a pair of baserunners to record a scoreless inning on 22 pitches.

Russell WILL START for the Vols against LSU in an opener role. Expect Sunday to be a bullpen game for the Vols, with Dylan Loy, Matthew Dallas and Andrew Behnke, among others, seeing work.

RETURN: AJ Russell is back for Tennessee

For all of RTI’s baseball coverage so far this season, including RTI’s INSTANT reaction to Tennessee’s SEC Tournament semifinals win over Vanderbilt, click here.

For the latest RTI Press Pass baseball podcast, click here.

More From RTI: Tennessee Baseball vs. LSU SEC Tournament Semifinals: How To Watch, What To Know
VIDEO: Tony Vitello, Zander Sechrist, Christian Moore React to SEC Tournament Semifinals Win Over Vanderbilt

Lineups, pitching matchup and additional pre-game notes are below, followed by the LIVE at-bat by at-bat game thread.

Starting Lineups


2B Christian Moore (R)

1B Blake Burke (L)

3B Billy Amick (R)

LF Dylan Dreiling (L)

CF Hunter Ensley (R)

RF Kavares Tears (L)

SS Dean Curley (R)

DH Cannon Peebles (S)

C Cal Stark (R)

Lineup Notes:
  • After experimenting with the lineup in multiple spots for Saturday’s game, Tony Vitello uses a more traditional lineup for the championship game.
  • Cannon Peebles at DH instead of Reese Chapman, Dalton Bargo, Colby Backus and others.
    • Peebles has been doing well at the plate as of late. A DH start makes sense, but it does limit the depth at catcher.
  • Cal Stark returns to catcher and Dean Curley returns to shortstop.


SS Michael Braswell III (R)

3B Tommy White (R)

1B Jared Jones (R)

LF Josh Pearson (L)

DH Hayden Travinski (R)

2B Steven Milam (S)

CF Jake Brown (L)

RF Ashton Larson (L)

C Alex Milazzo (R)

Pitching Matchup:

Vols So. RHP AJ Russell (0-1, 4.73 ERA, 5 app., 3 starts, 13.1 IP, 11 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 8 BB, 21 K, 1 XBH, .229 opp. batting avg., 1.43 WHIP)


Tigers LHP Nate Ackenhausen (3-4, 5.35 ERA, 17 app., 3 starts, 2 SV, 38.2 IP, 33 H, 24 R, 23 ER, 21 BB, 48 K, 13 XBH, .228 opp. batting avg.)

Pitching notes:
  • Russell gets his first start since the Alabama series, which was Tennessee’s first SEC series of the season.
    • Expect Russell to be used in an opener role. 1.0 or 2.0 innings. Would be shocked if it’s more than that or more than 30-40 pitches.
    • This will be a bullpen game for the Vols. Dylan Loy, Matthew Dallas, Andrew Behnke – among others – will see work.
  • Ackenhausen gets his fourth start of the season. Ackenhausen also started against Tennessee earlier in the year in game three of the weekend series. He gave up two hits and two ER in 4.0 innings on 61 pitches.
    • Last season, Ackenhausen started against Tennessee in Omaha last year. Ackenhausen was downright dominant allowing no runs and four hits in 6.0 innings in a 5-0 win for LSU that eliminated Tennessee from the tournament.
    • Ackenhausen last threw 35 pitches in 2.0 in LSU’s win over South Carolina on Thursday.
    • Tennessee is low on pitching, but LSU is even lower. Expect the Tigers to use multiple arms to try and piece it together today.

Tennessee: Dark Mode

  • When the Vols won the SEC Tournament championship game in 2022, they wore the Dark Mode jerseys.

LSU: Yellow tops, white pants, purple caps


  • There IS a RUN-RULE today. If Tennessee or LSU leads by 10 or more runs in the seventh inning or later, the game is OVER.
    • The run-rule is MANDATORY in SEC play.
  • 1-seed Tennessee is the ROAD team, because 11-seed LSU has been the home team LESS than Tennessee so far in the tournament.


1st Inning: 


-Christian Moore strikes out swinging.

-Blake Burke strikes out swinging on three pitches.

-Billy Amick strikes out swinging.



-Michael Braswell III grounds out to SS.

-Tommy White flies out to LF.

-Jared Jones obliterates a solo homer to left field.

  • 471 feet, 114 mph. Absolute NUKE.

-Josh Pearson pops up to SS.

  • 13-pitch inning for AJ Russell. Probably low enough for him to pitch in the 2nd inning.


Score: Vols 0, Tigers 1

2nd Inning: 


-Dylan Dreiling strikes out swinging, out at first C to 1B.

-Hunter Ensley smokes a double to deep center field.

  • Center fielder Jake Brown completely misjudged the ball. He came forward at first but quickly had to back track as the ball sailed over his head to the wall.
  • Great AB from Ensley. 10 pitches. Then scorched that baseball.

-Kavares Tears strikes out swinging.

-Dean Curley pops up to 2B in shallow CF.

  • Nice play by Steven Milam to extend his glove out to make the catch. Had a hard time judging where it was going to drop.



*Pitching change: Fr. LHP Dylan Loy (1-0, 2.74 ERA) on to pitch for Russell*

  • On the broadcast, AJ Russell was seen pointing to his elbow while talking to trainer Jeff Wood. Not a great sign. His day is done after a 13-pitch inning, and we’ll see if Russell potentially suffered a setback or not.

Blake Burke just misjudged what should have been an easy foul out.

-Hayden Travinski singles to LF.

  • Dylan Dreiling nearly made the diving catch. Caught the ball in the air but couldn’t hold on to it when he hit the ground.

-Steven Milam strikes out swinging.

-Jake Brown strikes out swinging.

-Ashton Larson lines out to 2B.


Score: Vols 0, Tigers 1

3rd Inning: 


-Cannon Peebles strikes out swinging.

-Cal Stark grounds out to P.

*Pitching change: Jr. RHP Fidel Ulloa (2-1, 2.78 ERA) on to pitch for Ackenhausen*

-Christian Moore slaps a single to right center.

-Blake Burke works a walk.

-Billy Amick rips a three-run home run to LF.

  • Amick NEEDED that badly given his recent struggles at the plate.
  • Breaks an 0-17 slump at the plate for Amick. Obviously his first hit here in Hoover. 19th HR of the season for Amick.

*Pitching change: Sr. RHP Christian Little (2-0, 6.59 ERA) on to pitch for Ulloa*

-Dylan Dreiling grounds out to P unassisted.



-Alex Milazzo grounds out to 3B.

-Michael Braswell III flies out to RF.

-Tommy White ropes a double to left-center on the first pitch of the at-bat.

-Jared Jones intentionally walked.

-Josh Pearson strikes out swinging.


Score: Vols 3, Tigers 1

4th Inning: 


-Hunter Ensley slaps a single to RF.

  • Two-hit day already for Ensley.

-Kavares Tears strikes out swinging.

Ensley advances to second on a wild pitch.

-Dean Curley strikes out swinging.

-Cannon Peebles works a walk.

  • Battled back from an 0-2 count. Great at-bat.

Christian Little experiencing some serious discomfort after throwing a strike to Cal Stark. Trainer comes to check on him. Does not look good as he pulled up lame. Something with his throwing arm.

*Pitching change: Jr. RHP Samuel Dutton (0-2, 4.85 ERA) on to pitch for Little due to injury*

-Cal Stark works a walk.

  • Bases loaded with two outs for Christian Moore.

-Christian Moore grounds out to 2B to strand ’em loaded.



-Hayden Travinski grounds out to SS.

-Steven Milam flies out to CF.

-Jake Brown pops up to SS on the LF line.

  • Nice play by Curley to run a long way to get under it.


Score: Vols 3, Tigers 1

5th Inning: 


-Blake Burke grounds out to 2B.

-Billy Amick reaches on a fielding error by 2B.

  • Throw was way high.

LSU CHALLENGED the ruling that Amick did NOT touch the white base when running to first. The call was CONFIRMED – he touched the green base. LSU has one challenge remaining.

-Dylan Dreiling flies out to the warning track in right-center.

-Hunter Ensley drives a single into right-center. Amick advances to third.

Ensley steals second.

-Kavares Tears strikes out swinging.



Dylan Loy getting checked on by trainer Jeff Wood. Looks like something is off with his hand.

  • Loy is staying in the game. Seems the hand issue was insignificant.

-Ashton Larson strikes out looking.

-Alex Milazzo grounds out to SS.

-Michael Braswell III grounds out to 3B.

  • Great job by Loy to battle back after falling behind 3-0.
  • Career-high 4.0 innings for Loy. He’s retired seven straight.


Score: Vols 3, Tigers 1

6th Inning: 


*Pitching change: Jr. RHP Thatcher Hurd (2-4, 7.12 ERA) on to pitch for Dutton*

-Dean Curley strikes out swinging.

-Cannon Peebles strikes out looking.

-Cal Stark grounds out to SS.



-Tommy White works a leadoff walk.

-Jared Jones strikes out swinging.

  • Big strikeout.

-Josh Pearson lines out to RF.

*Pitching change: So. LHP Andrew Behnke (2-1, 3.38 ERA) on to pitch for Loy*

  • Fantastic career outing from Dylan Loy.

-Hayden Travinski works a walk.

-Steven Milam is walked on four pitches.

*Ethan Frey pinch-hitting for Jake Brown*

*Pitching change: Sr. LHP Kirby Connell (4-0, 4.00 ERA) on to pitch for Behnke*

Milam picked off at first, 2-3.

  • Incredible awareness from Cal.

LSU is CHALLENGED the ruling. Call STANDS.

  • LSU is out of challenges.


Score: Vols 3, Tigers 1

7th Inning: 


*Mac Bingham to CF for Ethan Frey*

-Christian Moore pops up to 1B.

-Blake Burke knocks a single to RF.

-Billy Amick works a walk.

-Dylan Dreiling lines out to 2B.

  • Could’ve been a double play but Steven Milam hesitated.

-Hunter Ensley smacks an RBI single up the middle. Burke scores. Amick advances to second.

*Pitching change: Jr. LHP Justin Loer (2-0, 6.08 ERA) on to pitch for Hurd*

-Kavares Tears strikes out looking.



-Mac Bingham flies out to CF.

-Ashton Larson strikes out looking after a long at-bat.

-Alex Milazzo grounds out to 2B.

  • Really nice pick by Blake Burke as Moore’s throw was low.


Score: Vols 4, Tigers 1

8th Inning: 


*Pitching change: RHP Will Hellmers (1-0, 3.60 ERA) on to pitch for Loer*

-Dean Curley fouls out to 3B.

-Cannon Peebles strikes out looking.

-Cal Stark pops up to 1B.



-Michael Braswell III grounds out to 2B.

-Tommy White flies out to LF.

-Jared Jones strikes out swinging.

  • SWORD.


Score: Vols 4, Tigers 1

9th Inning: 


-Christian Moore flies out to CF.

*Pitching change: Fr. LHP Kade Anderson (4-2, 4.33 ERA) on to pitch for Hellmers*

-Blake Burke singles up the middle.

Burke advances to second on a wild pitch.

-Billy Amick grounds out to SS.

Tennessee CHALLENGED the ruling. Call was CONFIRMED.

-Dylan Dreiling strikes out looking on three pitches.



-Josh Pearson grounds out to SS.

-Hayden Travinski doubles to RF.

*Pitching change: Jr. RHP Aaron Combs (2-1, 2.65 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) is in to pitch for Connell*

-Steven Milam drills ground rule double to RF to score Travinski.

-Mac Bingham reaches second on Billy Amick fielding error. Milam scores on the error.

-Ashton Larson strikes out.

-Alex Milazzo strikes out.


Score: Vols 4, Tigers 3


FINAL: Tennessee Vols 4, LSU Tigers 3

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