Georgia’s bats hit four home runs off Vols’ starter Drew Beam, while Tennessee stranded 10 runners and the Bulldogs won game three 9-4 and took the series two games to one.
Tennessee’s offense stranded one runner in the first, two runners in the second and two in the third, though it managed to push across an unearned run when Jared Dickey reached first on an error on UGA’s third baseman that led to Christian Moore RBI single.
Georgia had built up a 4-1 lead going into the fourth, as Drew Beam gave up four runs on seven hits — with two home runs — through three innings.
But in the top of the fourth, the UT bats finally got to UGA starter Liam Sullivan. The frame started inauspiciously, with a Zane Denton strike out. But Christian Scott followed with a single out of his usual eight-hole spot, and Cal Stark showed off the power in his swing with a first-pitch, two-run home run to left-center.
The Farragut High School standout is hitting just .211 on the year, but we’ve seen some pop in his bat before, and today his bomb got the Vols back in the game. Maui Ahuna doubled two pitches later, bringing out Scott Strickland to take Sullivan out of the game for reliever Kyle Greenler. Greenler got Hunter Ensley to fly out, but then Jared Dickey singled to center for his second hit of the game to score Ahuna and tie the game up at 4-4.
Blake Burke grounded out to end the inning, with another runner stranded on base, to end the inning.
Beam had his only clean half-inning in the bottom of the fourth, and then Tennessee stranded Zane Denton off a two-out, four-pitch walk in the T5.
Christian Moore started the bottom-half of the frame with an error at second, and UGA freshman Charlie Condon made Beam pay with his second home run of the game. Instead of pulling Beam, which, arguably should have already been done, Vitello stuck with him, and five-hole hitter Parks Harber took Beam deep for the Bulldogs fourth homer of the game — a two-run shot that put the Dog up 8-4.
Vitello finally went to the bullpen and freshman AJ Russell got the final two outs of the inning via strikeout.
Beam’s final line: 4.1 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 1 BB, 5 Ks.
The bats kicked off the T6 with two men on and no outs — Cal stark got hit by a pitch, and Ahuna followed him with a single to right. Then Hunter Ensley grounded into a double play, getting Ahuna at second along with Ensley at first.
Georgia brought in lefty Collin Caldwell to face Dickey with two outs and surrendered a four-pitch walk. Then Caldwell struck out Blake Burke to end the inning with two runners on base. That strikeout put Burke at 0-4 for the day.
Russell worked through a bit of traffic in the B6, but managed to strike out two batters and keep the Bulldogs from plating any runs.
In the T7, UGA brought in their sidearm reliever Dalton Rhadans, who gave up a one-out hit to Griffin Merritt but needed just three pitches to end the inning on flyouts from Denton and Scott.
Vitello let Russell pitch the bottom of the seventh, too, and he gave up a lead-off double to Connor Tate, but after that, he induced a flyball out, then Cal Start threw out Tate at third and Russell struck out the final batter of the frame.
Rhadans mowed through Dylan Dreiling, Ahuna and Ensley on nine pitches in the top of the eighth, and it looked like this one was pretty much a wrap. Russell continued to sit down Bulldogs in bottom half of the frame, getting two outs on three pitches before Mason LaPlante got a two-out single and subsequently stole his fifth base in the final two games of this series.
Georgia brought in a lefty pinch-hitter, and Vitello took Russell out for Seth Halvorsen. The Vols elected to walk Fernando Gonzalez, the pinch-hitter, and then Dogs’ leadoff hitter Ben Anderson hit a dribbler to first that kicked off the bag and brought around LaPlante to score the Dogs’ ninth run of the game. Halvorsen got the final out of the T8 on a fielder’s choice from Charlie Condon.
Dickey led the T9 off with a no-out single, but Bulldogs’ closer Leighton Finley finished Tennessee off by striking out Blake Burke and Christian Moore before he got Griffin Merritt to fly out for the last out of the game.