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Vols beat Missouri 4-3, now hold record for best start ever to an SEC schedule

Another sweep for Tennessee baseball

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Tennessee beat Missouri 4-3 Sunday and gave themselves the first-ever 12-0 start in SEC baseball history.

Drew Beam got the win and set a new career-high with seven strikeouts in his 6.1 innings of work. Beam’s now 7-0 for the season, and his year-long stats are just silly:

41.1 IP

19 H

6 R

6 ER

6 BB

36 K

.121 opponent’s batting average

Neither team’s offense got outta the gates real quick, though Missouri kicked off the game with a leadoff double. Beam struck out two of the next three batters to get out of the first and didn’t give up another hit until the fifth inning.

The Vols stranded three runners in the first two innings before Luc Lipcius got them on the board with a mammoth solo home run in the bottom of the third.

Tennessee went all the way through its lineup hitless until Lipcius came up again in the fifth and went deep, again. A Jared Dickey walk prior made this one a two-run shot that gave the Vols a 3-0 lead.

After Lipcius cleared the bases, Jordan Beck reached after striking out on a wild pitch, and Drew Gilbert knocked him home with a triple he belted into the left-center gap. The announcers made note of it during the game, but it’s worth mentioning again: Beck was boogying around the bases to score on this play. The ball didn’t do much too much bouncing around out there at the fence, and there’s probably not many guys Beck’s size who make home on this play. Video is a bit jerky — sorry.

After getting two outs in four pitches, Beam gave up back-to-back singles in Missouri’s half of the fifth and looked to maybe be in a bit of trouble. Against Missouri’s two-hole hitter Trevor Austin, Beam threw a 1-2 pitch into the dirt that looked like it was gonna give the Tigers a chance to advance both runners into scoring position. But Evan Russell made a phenomenal play to block the ball and fire a laser to third to get the lead runner and final out of the inning.

Beam came out to pitch the seventh inning, but gave up two doubles — one of which pushed across a run — and a single before Vitello pulled him for reliever Will Mabrey. Mizzou scored another run on a sacrifice by Josh Day and made it a 4-2 game in UT’s favor.

Mabrey faced five batters before Vitello brought in Redmond Walsh to get the final four outs. Walsh struck out the final hitter in the eighth but then surrendered back-to-back base hits to start the ninth, which put the winning run at the plate for Missouri. The Tigers scored one of those runs on a sac fly, but Tennessee’s closer got a couple ground-ball outs to finish off the win.

Tennessee is now the only team to ever start 12-0 in the SEC and will begin another week as the country’s No. 1-ranked baseball team with a 31-1 overall record.

The Vols head to exit 407 to play the midweek game against Tennessee Tech at Smokies Stadium on Tuesday before Alabama comes to town for next weekend’s series. The Tide’s 20-12 on the year, 6-5 in the SEC and 3-7 away from its home ballpark.