For the first time this season, the Tennessee baseball team has snapped a losing streak.
The Vols had lost two-straight games prior to tonight’s 9-2 win over the Tide, after dropping the series opener against Alabama yesterday and losing the midweek game against Tennessee Tech on Tuesday.
Jordan Beck, who had just three hits in his last 17 at bats, supplied the bulk of the runs for the Tennessee offense tonight. He hit two home runs and had a team-leading three RBIs while going 2-3 for the game. This was the Alabama native’s third-career multi-HR game of his career.
Beck’s two-run shot in the bottom of the first actually wasn’t first batch of fireworks in the game, as both Tony Vitello and pitching coach Frank Anderson were both ejected in the top of the first inning.
Tony Vitello bumps the 3rd base umpire after being ejected in the top of the first inning. Certainly looks like a suspension will be coming. Frank Anderson also ejected. pic.twitter.com/7QiOrTmb4f— Zack Rickens (@ZackRickensTV) April 16, 2022
Tennessee starter, Chase Dollander, got hit on a come backer to the mound that resulted in the third out of the top of the first. Frank Anderson was upset about something going on in the Alabama dugout, which got him tossed. Vitello, who was just was putting on more steam, also got tossed once he chest bumped umpire Jeffrey Macias.
There’s some history here, as Macias was the home-plate ump from last night and from Tennessee’s season-ending loss to Texas in the College World Series, per Rocky Top Insider’s Ryan Schumpert.
Jeffrey Macias — the umpire who ejected Tony Vitello and Vitello bumped — was last night and the 2021 Texas' game's home plate umpire.— Ryan Schumpert (@rschump00) April 16, 2022
Things were intense yesterday and in the Vols' 2021 season ending loss to Texas.https://t.co/B5zDYedNaG
Macias apparently couldn’t get enough of himself tonight, as he also did some barking at acting manager Josh Elander after one of Beck’s post-HR celebrations.
There hasn’t been an update about Dollander’s health as of this writing — though he was seen in a sling after leaving the game due that ricochet. Camden Sewell came on in relief, tossed 4.1 innings and gave up two runs on four hits. Those two runs came in the bottom of the sixth, as Bama’s three-hole hitter Zane Denton hit a two-run home run and made a tie game of Tennessee’s previous 3-1 lead.
Beck’s second HR kicked off Tennessee’s response in the bottom of the sixth, and then two outs later, Luc Lipcius added his own solo HR. The Vols added another run in the sixth and a run in the eighth, both off throwing errors from Alabama catcher Dominic Tamez. Tamez’s three total errors in the game were a season high, considering the junior had made just one in 33 games prior.
Relievers Mike McLaughlin, Kirby Connell and Redmond Walsh combined for 3.2 innings of scoreless ball to finish things out after Sewell left the game, with Walsh striking out four of the Tide’s final six batters.
I don’t follow college baseball as a whole closely enough to know what sort of punishment might be awaiting Vitello for the physical contact with an umpire tonight, but I sure wouldn’t be surprised to see a suspension of some sort on the horizon.
With the win, the Vols erase the chance of an Alabama sweep and keep the door open to take the series dub. Drew Beam will start in the rubber match tomorrow at 1 PM.