Strong early offense propels Vols baseball over Butler
Published 9:49 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2022
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CONTRIBUTED BY UT ATHLETICS
KNOXVILLE – Blake Burke sent a three-run blast over the scoreboard in right field in the first inning to kick off an impressive offensive showing for No. 1/5 Tennessee, who defeated Butler, 13-3, Tuesday night in front of 4,494 fans at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The Volunteers earned their 20th win of the young season and are one of just two teams nationally to reach the 20-win mark so far this year, along with Virginia.
Tennessee (20-1, 3-0 SEC) scored in every inning except for two in the rout. Nine different players scored a run, while Burke and Cortland Lawson each tallied three RBIs.
Nine different pitchers toed the rubber for UT, the most to take the hill in a game this year. Camden Sewell got the win, improving his record to 3-1. Wyatt Evans impressed late, entering in the ninth and striking out the side.
Seth Stephenson kicked off the evening by dropping a double down the right-field line in the leadoff spot to open the offensive showcase. After four-straight walks, Burke delivered a mammoth three-run blast over the scoreboard in right-center to open up a 6-0 lead in Tennessee’s first at-bats.
Burke’s home run registered an exit velocity of 110 mph off the bat and traveled a projected 444 feet.
Butler scored in the second on a solo shot from Scott Jones, but the Big Orange answered in the third. Lawson lined a 1-2 pitch over the fence in left for a three-run home run, his sixth of the season.
Tennessee extended its lead to 9-1 after three full innings.
The two sides both scored a run in the fourth with Butler notching another homer before Trey Lipscomb drove in his 38th run of the season on a single laced to right field to bring home Drew Gilbert.
The Vols held a 10-2 lead after four, their 12th game this season scoring double-digit runs. Tennessee scored three more runs in the back half of the game.
Gilbert drove in one more run with a double into right center in the fifth, and Jorel Ortega smashed a leadoff home run in the sixth over the porches in left field. Christian Moore scored the final run, when the Bulldogs’ throw back to the pitcher went into the dugout.
Butler plated a third run in the seventh, coming again on a solo homer, to round out the scoring.
The Volunteers head to Oxford, Miss. for a battle with No. 1/1 Ole Miss starting Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET (SECN+), Saturday at 8 p.m. ET (SECN) and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET (SEN+)
TREY FOR THIRTY
Trey Lipscomb recorded a pair of hits in the game and now has 30 base knocks on the season. Entering the day, there were only 53 other players in Division I who had 30 or more hits.
SETTING THE TONE, NATIONALLY
Entering the day, the Vols led the nation in average, OBP and slugging percentage. After the game, the Vols current slash line as a team is .341/.465/.704.Tennessee also led the country entering the day in ERA and WHIP. After Wednesday’s win, the Vols have a team ERA of 1.93 and a WHIP of 0.90.