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Tennessee Baseball Defeats Texas A&M To Even College World Series Finals

Photo via Tennessee Athletics

OMAHA, Neb. — Tennessee was unable to get the clutch hit it needed for six innings. But then it got it, taking the lead with one swing and then finding enough insurance runs to supplement a stellar team pitching performance in a 4-1 win.

Here’s how it went down.

Runners In-Scoring Position Issues Continue

Texas A&M used Zane Badmaev, who threw just five innings In SEC play and one inning in the NCAA Tournament, as an opener in game two which presented Tennessee an opportunity to take an early lead before Texas A&M went to reliever Chris Cortez.

It started well enough with Christian Moore singling to center field. But the Vols couldn’t do anything with it as Moore ended the inning standing on second while Dylan Dreiling struck out.

Hunter Ensley leading off the second inning with a single forced Texas A&M to make the move to Cortez. A Cannon Peebles walk and a Ali Camarillo throwing error loaded the bases for Tennessee with two-outs for Moore. But the star second baseman grounded out to second base to end the inning.

Tennessee once again loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth inning and this time it was Blake Burke grounding out to second base to strand the bases loaded.

Through four innings, the Vols stranded eight runners on base and were zero-of-five with runners in-scoring position, making them two-of-18 at that points in the final series.

A Strong Drew Beam Outing While Aaron Combs Picks Him Up

Jace LaViolette punished a Drew Beam two-strike mistake in the first inning, sending the fastball into right field for a solo home run.

But after that, Beam pitched very well in what was almost certainly his final outing in a Tennessee uniform. His first time through the order, he allowed just the two hits while striking out six batters. The one hit he allowed was a Kaeden Kent bloop single and he immediately picked him off to erase the baserunner.

As has frequently been the case as of late, things got dicey for Beam in the fifth inning when Caden Sorrell reached on a softly hit infield single. His day ended following the ensuing batter when Ali Camarillo worked a nine pitch walk.

On a day that Tennessee’s offense didn’t pick Beam up, reliever Aaron Combs did. He struck out Kaeden Kent and Travis Chestnut for the innings first two outs. Then the Cal Stark-Blake Burke back pick struck again to get the Vols out of the inning.

Beam ended his day allowing one run on three hits while striking out seven batters in four innings pitched. It wasn’t elite but it got the job done and gave the Vols a chance.

More From RTI: Live Updates Of Tennessee Baseball’s Game Two Win Over Texas A&M

Dylan Dreiling With The Big Swing

The story looked the same. Christian Moore worked a seven pitch walk to give Tennessee a leadoff baserunner in the seventh inning.

The story continued as it had throughout the game. Burke hit a fly out deep enough to center that Moore could tag up to second on but then Billy Amick flew out and there were quickly two outs as Tennessee searched for its first hit with runners on base.

But that’s when the story changed. Dylan Dreiling took a 1-1 middle-middle fastball 390 feet into the Tennessee bullpen for a go-ahead home run. It was the Vols’ first lead in 16 innings at the College World Series and it was their first hit with runners on base all game.

Dreiling has been Tennessee’s most clutch hitter all season. He delivered again when the Vols were desperate for a big hit.

Aaron Combs Comes Up Big

Combs wasn’t done being effective when he got Tennessee out of the fifth inning jam. The right-handed pitcher got the Vols into the ninth inning with a lead.

He found himself in a jam of his own creating in the sixth inning after a one-out walk and single. But he worked his way out of it with a pair of fly outs.

After Tennessee took the lead in the top of the seventh inning, Combs was dominant. The redshirt junior reliever retired the side with a pair of strikeouts.

The ensuing half inning was when Tennessee found some insurance in the most unlikely place as Cal Stark pushed the lead to three runs with a two-out homer.

Combs stranded two more in the eighth inning and then exited the game after allowing a leadoff single in the ninth inning. He finished the afternoon allowing no runs on three hits and two walks while striking out five in four innings pitched.

Box Score

Up Next

Tennessee forces a deciding game three of the College World Series finals on Monday night. The winner takes him its first ever National Championship home. First pitch is at 7 p.m. ET.

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