After steamrolling through non-conference and opening series in SEC play, it was the Golden Eagles of Tennessee Tech that snapped Tennessee’s 23 game win streak. That’s baseball for you.
Playing at the Tennessee Smokies’ stadium in Kodak on Tuesday night, Tennessee Tech beat Tennessee 3-2 thanks to some lights out pitching from Tech reliever Carter Gannaway.
Tennessee did get on the board first as Drew Gilbert knocked in Joel Ortega. Gilbert would later score on an error, giving the Volunteers a 2-0 lead in the third inning.
However, that would do it for the Tennessee offense.
Tech put a rally together in the fifth, stringing two out hits together to get on the board in the fifth inning. Eric Newsome then smashed a homerun to center to give the Golden Eagles a 3-2 advantage.
And then Gannaway took over. He went 5.2 innings for Tennessee Tech and didn’t surrender a single hit while striking out nine Tennessee batters. The Volunteers — playing with wood bats — just couldn’t get anything going in the closing innings.
Of course, the bats were a topic of conversation after the game.
“I think what you’re going to get out of the bats is someone’s not going to pop a cheap one or you may get a few more slower hit ground balls,” Tony Vitello said after the loss. “It’s going to downscale the score of the game. To me,maybe you can make the argument that if there are aluminum bats in your hands you lose 6-5 instead of what it was. The approach was not very good.”
Blade Tidwell did get the start on the mound for Tennessee, but worked just one inning as the staff continues to ease him back in. It was an 18 pitch outing for Tidwell, who struck out the side before exiting. It was a bullpen effort from there, and it was flamethrower Ben Joyce that gave up the pivotal homerun in the sixth inning.
Tennessee managed just four hits on the night.
The Volunteers, still undefeated in SEC play, will now set their sights on No. 24 Alabama. The Crimson Tide will be in town this weekend for a three game series, as Tennessee looks for yet another series victory.