#1 Vols kick off SEC tournament with win over Vandy
Published 4:36 pm Friday, May 27, 2022
HOOVER, Ala. – Top-ranked Tennessee continued its dominant stretch both on the mound and in the batters box, defeating eighth-seeded Vanderbilt, 10-1, in Game 7 of the 2022 SEC Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
Rain had washed out the preliminary SEC Tournament schedule and Tennessee (50-7) had to patiently wait for their turn to take the field, but when that opportunity came, the Volunteers did not miss a beat.
They plated double-digit runs for the 25th time this season and went for six runs in the first three innings.
On the rubber, Camden Sewell secured his sixth victory of the year as he teamed up with Will Mabrey and Ben Joyce to sit the last nine Vanderbilt batters down in order.
Starter Blade Tidwell and Kirby Connell were strong in the early innings, allowing just five hits between the two and only surrendering one run.
UT jumped out early, as they have all year, when Drew Gilbert lined a double to the gap in left center in the home half of the first inning, scoring Seth Stephenson.
But, it was the offensive explosion in the third inning that paved the way for a dominating Tennessee victory. Stephenson, who has been outstanding since assuming the role as the Big Orange leadoff man, came around to score on a double to the wall from Jorel Ortega.
Gilbert and Evan Russell drove in the next two runs with hits, upping their impressive on-base streaks to 20 and nine games, respectively.
After scoring the first seven runs in a traditional sense, that of stringing together hits, Tennessee reverted to its powerful form in the later innings, mashing the ball out of the park.
Blake Burke pounded a pinch-hit fastball in the fifth over the opposite-field wall in left center. Then, Cortland Lawson obliterated a middle-in fastball out of the confines of Hoover Met in the home half of the seventh, showcasing the all-around offensive prowess UT possesses.
The two shots registered impressive numbers on the SEC’s Trackman data recording system. Burke’s homer traveled 406 feet and left the bat at 110 mph, while Lawson’s drive went 433 feet with a 103 mph exit velocity.
The Volunteers will await their next opponent as they face the winner of LSU and Kentucky in the final game of action Friday beginning at approximately 9 p.m. ET.
DOWNING THE ‘DORES:
Tennessee earned its fourth victory of the season against Vanderbilt. The last time UT posted four victories against VU was back in 1994. The Vols also won the SEC Regular-Season Championship and the SEC Eastern Division Tournament that season.
CLIMBING THE LIST:
UT hit its 139th home run of the season, a figure which is tied for 11th all-time in Division I single-season home run history.
In the fourth inning, Trey Lipscomb drove in Seth Stephenson with his 75th hit of the season. That RBI also marked the senior’s 75th run batted in of the year.