Tennessee dropped another series over the weekend — this time to Florida — but once again, they offered a glimpse of what they could be on Saturday. The Volunteers took game three against the Gators on Saturday in run-rule fashion, teasing us with the upside of this group. They showed that upside again tonight.
Will King got Eastern Kentucky out to a 1-0 lead, but that lasted for about ten minutes. Blake Burke immediately answered with a blast to right field — a two-run shot that was his 12th homerun of the season.
Tennessee went to the bullpen to start the second, meaning Zander Sechrist’s night was already over. Tony Vitello turned to AJ Russell, who went 1-2-3 in the top of the second inning. Vitello would keep his bullpen busy all night long, looking to get some work in.
The Volunteers just missed an opportunity to extend their lead in the bottom of the third, but a great relay from Eastern Kentucky kept that from happening. Will King made the tag at the plate to keep the score at 2-1.
Hunter Ensley walked to start the fourth, then Maui Ahuna ripped a double to get him to third. Cal Stark flew out to center to score Ensley with a sacrifice, moving us to a 3-1 game. After Jared Dickey reached base, Christian Moore cleared the bases. A three-run oppo shot to right center had the Vols rolling in the fourth inning, 6-1.
Eastern would get one back in the top of the fifth, but Tennessee got it right back. Griffin Merritt stayed hot, smacking a homerun to make it 7-2. Ahuna, Stark plated another two in the following at bats, then Logan Chambers hit his first homerun of the year to make it 10-2.
Jake Kendro drove one to the centerfield wall, coming up just short of a homerun. The liner plated another, giving Tennessee an 11-2 lead heading into the seventh.
Reese Chapman put Eastern Kentucky out of their misery with a three-run blast to dead center in the bottom of the seventh. It was Tennessee’s second straight run-rule victory, as the Colonels had no answers for the Volunteers’ offense.
Tennessee will look to roll those back to back 14-run performances into the weekend, where they’ll face the No. 5 Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville (Friday-Saturday-Sunday).