Tennessee’s offense scored all nine of its runs in innings four-through-seven — six of which were charged to Jonathan Cannon, the SEC’s leader in wins — and the Vols beat the Bulldogs 9-2 to take the game and the series.
The bottom of the batting order did the heavy lifting Friday night by accounting for seven of the Vols’ eight earned runs. Cannon held the offense to three hits and no runs through three innings, but Tennessee snuffed out his fuse in the fourth when the fellas made their second pass through the order.
Jorel Ortega doubled in Trey Lipscomb with one out in the fourth, and then Evan Russell hit his first bomb, a two-run shot, over the left-field fence after a Blake Burke groundout.
Russell’s blast broke a 1-1 tie, and UT never looked back. Tennessee started the fifth in similar fashion, when Luc Lipcius broke out the wedge to go way down and pull the home run over the fence in right-center field. This solo home run was the only score driven in by spots one-through-five in the Vols’ order.
Ortega chased Cannon three batters later with his second hit and RBI of the game, while a Cortland Lawson, bases-loaded walk forced in Lipscomb for Tennessee’s third run of the frame and first score off Cannon’s replacement, Chandler Marsh.
In the sixth, it was Ortega again, as he slapped a full-count pitch into right field that scored Lipcius. UT added one more run in the sixth — with Jordan Beck crossing home plate off a wild pitch to Burke.
Russell hit his second home run of the game, over the LF fence, again, which served as the Vols’ final run of the game and tied Russell with Ortega for a team-high three RBIs.
Blade Tidwell started and wasn’t his sharpest, though he kept Tennessee in striking distance until the bats came to life. He went four innings and allowed just the one run — a solo HR to the second batter of the game — but he was consistently working through jams thanks to the four hits and three walks the UGA hitters coaxed out of him. I don’t know what sort of pitch-count constraints are in place, but Tidwell’s yet to go five innings and has surrendered eight walks in his four starter appearances since returning from injury.
Camden Sewell got the long-relief appearance and the win, with three frames of one-run, three-hit ball. Mark McLaughlin and Kirby Connell each threw one inning and didn’t allow a hit or a run between them to close things out.
Friday’s win secured the series win, while the Vols look for another SEC series sweep with the finale on Saturday at 1 PM.