Once SEC play started, Tennessee baseball’s midweek matchups have served as useful tuneups to the more difficult challenges that lie ahead. On many occasions, the Volunteers ultimately had the upper hand against inferior competition; but fresh off a series win at Texas A&M — and a series-clinching game in which Tennessee dropped 20 runs — Nashville’s Lipscomb Bisons were able to drop Tennessee by holding the club to only one run.
On Tuesday night, the Bisons (13-22) were in Knoxville to do battle with the fourth ranked Vols (32-9, 12-6). Prior to this meeting, Lipscomb had lost each of its matchups with SEC opponents in 2021, resulting in an 0-5 record. But baseball, being the tricky sport it can be, would enable a subpar Bisons club to come into Lindsey Nelson and steal a victory.
Jason Rackers began the game on the mound for Tennessee, pitching 1.1 innings, giving up three runs (one earned), and striking out a single batter before yielding his time on the mound to Elijah Pleasants. Mark McLaughlin ultimately carried the load on the bump, contributing 3.2 innings of hitless baseball in which he struck out six. Rackers would be charged with the loss, dropping his record on the season to 1-1.
Lipscomb got on the board first with a double in the first inning, but Tennessee would be able to counterstrike in the bottom half of the inning when Liam Spence scored on a wild pitch. The game was tied 1-1 at that point, but that’s all the Volunteer offense would be able to muster.
The Bisons plated three runs in the second inning, two of which came off a Borom single before Houghton would single through the left side. That’s where the scoring on the night would end, resulting in a 4-1 ballgame.
Lipscomb used a slate of different pitchers, beginning with Ike Buxton on the mound; he would go two innings and allow the only Tennessee run of the game. Patrick Williams earned the win (2-1), while Tyler Drabick recorded the save (1).
With the loss, Tennessee dropped its 10th contest of the season, falling to 32-10 overall; the Bisons secured their 14th win of the year.
Despite the slight setback, Tennessee will shift gears and refocus on conference play over the weekend when the Kentucky Wildcats come to town, sporting a 25-13 record overall and 9-9 in conference play. The Wildcats are coming off a series win against Alabama, as well as a one-off win against Eastern Kentucky.
Those three matchups will begin Thursday night and go through Saturday, with first pitch times set for 7:30 pm, 6:30 pm, and 1:00 pm, respectively.