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Tennessee Baseball Blows Past Indiana To Advance To Knoxville Regional Final

Photo By Kate Luffman/Tennessee Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee is a win away from advancing to the super regionals for the fourth straight season after powering past Indiana 12-6 on Saturday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

The Vols’ offense was dominant while their pitching did enough to keep things from getting interesting as they advanced to Sunday’s Knoxville Regional final.

Tennessee’s Offense Erupts In Second And Third Inning

It took Tennessee about an inning to adjust to Indiana RHP Connor Foley’s never relenting upper 90s fastball. But in the second inning, the Vols’ offense started to find its groove and they didn’t let Foley off the hook.

Hunter Ensley worked a walk to give Tennessee a leadoff baserunner and then Indiana second baseman Jasen Oliver made a fantastic play to rob Kavares Tears of a single. The play saved a run when in the next at-bat Dean Curley took a 2-2 fastball deep to left field.

The freshman Curley raced out to nine home runs on the season when he went deep in the series finale at Auburn. But the shortstop’s power has faded in recent weeks and his production at the plate has been more hit-or-miss given the weekend. Curley went 91 at-bats without hitting a home run before giving the Vols the lead on Saturday night.

Nine hitter Cal Stark came to the plate with two-outs and extended the inning with a hit-by pitch. Foley struck out Christian Moore on three pitches to open the game, in his second at-bat Moore took the first pitch he saw deep to right field for a two-run homer.

Tennessee loaded the bases again before Foley got out of the jam and made it into the third inning. However, the trouble was just beginning. The Vols loaded the bases again, this time with one out, and a Christian Moore RBI walk ended his day.

The big swing in the third inning came two at-bats later when Billy Amick hit Tennessee’s 12th grand slam of the season to give the Vols a 9-0 lead. It was Amick’s third home run in as many games, totaling 10 RBIs on the three swings. It all but put the Hoosiers way before they recorded their first hit.

Command Eludes Drew Beam In Middle Of Outing

Drew Beam was dominant in the first two innings, retiring the Hoosiers in order both times while totaling three strikeouts.

But after Beam retired the first batter of the third inning, things went sideways for him. Jake Stadler doubled and then Beam walked the nine hitter Morgan Colopy before Devin Taylor knocked a three-run homer to left field to get the Hoosiers on the board.

Indiana ran Beam from the game in the fourth inning by tallying another run and putting runners on first and second with two-outs. Command was Beam’s biggest issue in the two innings as he threw a fastball down the middle to the Hoosiers top batter while walking one and hitting two others.

The bad outing came at a good time given Tennessee’s offensive explosion. Still, it was one of Beam’s worst outings of the season as he allowed four earned runs in 3.2 innings pitched— his second shortest outing of the season.

More From RTI: Play-By-Play Of Tennessee Baseball’s Win Against Indiana

Behnke, Consistent Offense Keeps Lead Large

Tennessee wasn’t as dominant after opening up the 9-0 lead but still kept Indiana at an arm’s length the rest of the way by adding a few more runs and a fantastic relief outing from Andrew Behnke.

Cal Stark pushed Tennessee’s offensive output to 10 runs when he hit a solo home run in the fourth inning. The Vols tacked on two more runs an inning later on a Kavares Tears single paired with a fielding error.

The sophomore relieved Beam with two-on in the fourth and promptly walked the first batter he faced on four pitches to load the bases. But from there he did his job at a high level. He stranded the bases loaded with a pop out before posting 3.1 scoreless innings of relief.

Behnke struck out three batters and Indiana only truly threatened him once and he got out of the inning unscathed thanks to a nice Christian Moore diving catch. The left-handed pitcher’s 3.1 innings pitched was the longest outing of his career.

Box Score

Up Next

Tennessee advances to the Knoxville Regional final where they’ll face the winner of the Indiana-Southern Miss game at 6 p.m. ET at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Whoever wins between the Hoosiers and Golden Eagles will have to beat Tennessee twice.

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